A lemon drop is a cocktail that is made with vodka, lemon juice and sugar – rather like a grown up version of lemonade. It’s a mix of sweet and sour (with some vodka, of course) and it’s pretty refreshing as cocktails go. It also has a lovely yellow color to it that is part of what made me think that a lemon drop would be a great vehicle for my Peep-Infused Vodka.
The Peep vodka doesn’t have a strong Peep flavor, but what it does have is a subtle sweetness and a cheerful yellow hue – both of which are welcome additions to any lemon drop. I simply substituted my Peep vodka for plain vodka in a basic lemon drop recipe and enjoyed the results. The cocktail does benefit from that extra sweetness from the Peeps – and, of course, looks perfectly festive with a yellow Peep as garnish.
I like to add a little bit of limoncello – a lemon-infused liqueur – to my lemon drops, both for a little extra lemon flavor and to amp up the color. I already had plenty of color in this drink, but the limoncello is still a nice addition for the extra lemon flavor if you have some on hand. In the end, this drink is delicious whether you make it with Peep-infused vodka or with regular vodka, but both the Peep vodka and the yellow Peep garnish make it a fun choice for Easter brunch.
Flavored vodkas are growing in popularity, with dozens of flavors popping up where there were once only a few. Instead of basic lemon and lime-infusions, you can now find much more creative flavors like cake, whipped cream and marshmallow. After a pre-Easter Peep-buying spree, I set out to make my own marshmallow-infused spirit using the popular marshmallow chicks.
I filled up a large jar with Peeps, poured in a bottle of relatively inexpensive vodka (don’t get something terrible, but don’t sacrifice something very expensive for this kind of project) and let it steep in the refrigerator for a few days. I decided to use a lot of Peeps – not just two or three – to get in as much Peep flavor as possible. All of the exterior sugar of the marshmallows came right off, and the Peeps partly dissolved, infusing the vodka with a subtle sweetness. So when you taste the vodka, you will get a hint of sugar up front, followed by the flavor of whatever vodka you chose to use. It’s pretty good – and while it doesn’t have a distinct Peep flavor (do Peeps have a distinct flavor?),that doesn’t make the project any less fun.
You can use this vodka in just about any cocktail, and it actually makes a fun centerpiece for an Easter party. Peeps come in a variety of colors, but they all taste just about the same. The classic Yellow peeps are my personal favorite and I chose them to infuse my vodka. Feel free to work with blue, purple or pink Peeps, but I don’t recommend mixing and matching the colors because it will result in a less-than-pleasant-looking finished product as the colors mix. The yellow turn out a vodka with an almost limoncello color to it, which is easy to incorporate into drinks.
Once you’ve made a batch, try making some Peep Vodka Lemon Drops with it to celebrate!
Over the holidays, I tried quite a few limited edition Peeps and really enjoyed the novelty of having some seasonal flavors instead of the usual, and relatively plain, traditional Peeps. These Strawberry Creme Peeps are a Valentine’s Day edition that caught my eye – and I was glad to have a chance to try them out before the holiday was completely over! The Peeps are bright red and strawberry-flavored, and they’re dipped in a thin layer of dark chocolate. The store where I spotted them also carried the same strawberry flavor Peeps dipped in milk chocolate. From previous Peep-tasting experience, I know that I prefer to have dark chocolate with my Peeps, so I passed over the milk chocolate option this time around.
As soon as you open the package, you get a big burst of strawberry scent, and the Peeps have just as strong a flavor. It’s pleasant, like strawberry candy (which, of course, it is) rather than a bite of fresh strawberry. With the dark chocolate in the picture, however, you really do get a chocolate dipped strawberry flavor that makes these Peeps quite tasty. The strawberry flavor does make them seem a little sweeter than your average Peep, so they’re better in small doses than they are in a big bunch unless you have a big sweet tooth. But given the cute factor of the chick-shaped marshmallows and the fun flavoring, these just might make a more fun Valentine’s Day treat than real chocolate covered berries for a marshmallow lover (or at least in addition to them!).
Peeps were one of my favorite Easter candies when I was a kid and I still look forward to those brightly colored marshmallow chicks and bunnies around Easter. Over the past few years, Peeps have been branching out into other holidays with different shapes and even different flavors for different occasions! I couldn’t resist picking up their three holiday offerings this year when I saw them at the store: Gingerbread, Candy Cane and Sugar Cookie.
The Gingerbread Peeps are shaped like gingerbread and have a spicy gingerbread flavor to them. They had just the right amount of spice to make it clear that they were gingerbread, but not so much that the cinnamon overwhelmed the sweetness of that marshmallow. I also loved the look – they look amazing when used as a holiday garnish, even if you’re not planning to eat them. They also work extremely well in hot chocolate, where that extra spice is very nice in a warm drink.
After all of the Easter Eggs have been dyed and all of the chocolate bunnies have been passed out, one more tradition that many people follow on Easter is to have a big family Easter brunch. Brunch is a great way to celebrate with friends and family because there are so many options, both sweet and savory. Whether you’re hosting or merely bringing a single dish to a potluck event, here are a few egg-cellent Easter brunch recipe ideas to get your holiday started out on the right note:
- Easter Egg Challah is one of my favorite Easter foods to make. The braided bread is topped with dyed eggs, so it is incredibly festive in addition to being delicious. It makes a nice centerpiece before serving, too!
- Hot cross buns were an Easter staple for years, but seem to be slightly less popular these days in favor of sweeter or richer breads. Homemade Hot Cross Buns are still delicious and a nice addition to a brunch. The yeasted buns are tender and lightly spiced, and they go well with a variety of sweet and savory dishes.
- A Cheesy Egg Casserole is a lot more elegant than it sounds and is always a hit with a crowd at brunch. The souffle-like egg dish is rich with cheese and perfect for serving a crowd. It can be prepared in advance and can be complimented by many different sides and toppings, from fresh herbs to salsa.
- A batch of Deviled Eggs is the perfect way to use up all of those hard boiled Easter eggs (which should be stored in the fridge if you’re using hard boiled eggs) and is always a nice brunch dish. I like mine served with a sprinkle of paprika, but they can be dressed up in any number of ways. For instance, you could put a squirt of Sriracha on top if you like them with a kick!
- Sugary Marshmallow Peeps are an Easter staple for many and Peeps Cupcakes are definitely Peep-inspired. These vanilla cupcakes are topped with a marshmallow cream cheese frosting and decorated with colored sugars to give them that sugar-sanded look. Regular Peeps can serve as fun toppers. Chocolate Coconut Easter Cupcakes are another cupcake option, this time with a chocolate cake as the base. They’re topped off with green coconut “grass” and garnished with homemade chocolate bunnies.
If those Easter baskets weren’t already full of chocolates, you can always thrown in a few homemade candies. Homemade Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Easter Eggs are easier than you might think. Sea Salt Caramels offer a more grown up option. And don’t forget that you can put Peeps and chocolate to good use by turning them into Peep S’mores if you have extra lying around after the holiday is over!