Peeps have invaded the library this month! In addition to our 2nd Annual Peeps Diorama contest, I decided to take advantage of all the crazy new flavors of Peeps and have a "Peeps Tasting" program. This was a quick and easy program with only a little preparation, and while I originally planned it with teens & tweens, I had enough left over for a pop-up family program the next day following the planned family "Peeps Mad Science" program (also described briefly below).
- 1 package of each flavor of Peeps available locally, 9 total: Original, Cotton Candy, Hot Tamales, Kettle Corn, Sour Watermelon, Party Cake, Fruit Punch, Wild Berry, & Dr. Pepper
- Paper Plates
- Ratings sheet
2. I gave each person a plate of samples and a sheet of paper to record what flavor they thought each one was, mark thumbs up or down, and name the best and the worst, and let them begin sampling.
5. After they were all done, we went through the list and compared what they thought the flavors were to what the flavor actually was, which ones got a thumbs up or down, and what they thought was the best and the worst. I also offered them a whole Peep in their chosen favorite flavor if they wanted one.
One thing I didn't think of until too late, and I will definitely do next time, is include Original flavored Peeps in different colors to show how our other senses can affect our perception of taste.
The solubility experiment was disappointing, as at the end of the hour the only significant observable difference among the four was that the hot water dissolved the outer coat of colored sugar, leaving a naked mass of marshmallow. This would need to be set up as a demo in order to allow it to go overnight before the program in order to see observable differences.
However, microwaving (20 seconds or so) the Peeps and making edible playdough out of them worked really well, and we were all amazed by how big and jiggly the Peeps got in the microwave, and how quickly they deflated afterward.
- 5 Peeps, any flavor/color
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch (OR, sub 2 T powdered sugar for 2 T starch for better flavor)
- Microwave Peeps in bowl for 20-30 seconds. This gets very hot! Let cool slightly (20 seconds or so). Be careful not to microwave too long or sugars will re-crystalize and make it gritty, or may scorch.
- Drizzle oil over melted Peeps and begin mixing.
- Gradually mix in 1 T cornstarch (or powdered sugar) at a time. Mix, fold, and mash fairly aggressively to get the oil incorporated.
- Once it is cool enough, knead by hand.
- If it is still too sticky, add a little more cornstarch, but be careful not to add too much as the playdough will become much stiffer once completely cool. (You can microwave about 3-5 seconds to make more pliable if this happens).