Even though Peeps are now going to be available year-round, I will always associate them with Easter and spring. They were always my favorite springtime treat when I was a kid and I keep finding new ways to use them this time of year, though I don’t inhale them quite as quickly as I did when I was 10. Last year, I turned a batch of Peeps into a very adult Peep-Infused Vodka that I used to make some holiday cocktails. I might make another batch of spirits with a different color of Peep this year, but I also wanted to make something that would appeal both to kids and young-at-heart adults who still have a soft spot for Peeps, and the result was a batch of Peeps Krispy Treats.
I’m not sure why I never used Peeps to make cereal bars before, but it just never occured to me to replace regular marshmallows with these more colorful ones. It’s probably because Peeps tend to melt more easily than regular marshmallows when exposed to heat (so they’re not quite as durable in s’mores, for instance), so they didn’t seem like they would be the best fit for a treat the relied on melted marshmallows for structure. After a little bit of experimentation, I found that a blend of Peeps and regular marshmallows that was the right combination for a batch of perfect – and festively colored – cereal bars.
Surprisingly, these cereal treats aren’t too sweet, even with the addition of that extra sugar from the exterior of the Peeps. I added in a small pinch of salt that helped balance the sweetness and the regular marshmallows boosted the base marshmallow flavor a bit, too. The real difference between these Peeps Krispy Treats and regular ones is that the cereal bars will take on the color of the Peeps that you use, whether that is pink, yellow, purple or blue. You will need very slightly different amounts of Peeps depending on whether you use bunny or chick shapes, as the chicks are a bit larger than the bunnies. This recipe uses a lot of Peeps and makes a relatively small batch of bars. You can double it to fill a 9×13-pan, which is perfect for serving a larger crowd.
I’m serving these before Easter, as a festive treat for the holidays. You can also bookmark the recipe and use it after Easter, when seasonal Peeps are discounted and you can pick them up when they’re on sale. Either way, the bars keep very well when stored in an airtight container for several days, so you’ll be able to enjoy them long after you’ve made them.
Peeps Krispy Treats
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
16 Pink Bunny Peeps or 15 Pink Chick Peeps
1 cup plain mini marshmallows or 8 large marshmallows
1/8 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups rice krispies/puffed rice cereal
Lightly grease an 8×8 or 9×9-inch square baking pan.
In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, Peeps and marshmallows
Microwave on high for 60-90 seconds, until marshmallows have melted. Add the salt and stir the marshmallow mixture until smooth, then add in the cereal. Stir with a large spatula until everything is evenly combined.
Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press down into an even layer with a spatula. Allow bars to cool to room temperature before slicing.
Makes 16 squares. Recipe can be doubled for larger portions.