How did we get from hot cross buns to chocolate eggs and Peeps? It’s as indirect a line as it sounds like, but who’s stopped to consider the details when there are so many delicious treats to eat?
Well, way back in the Middle Ages, Pagans quartered their rolls with icing, representing the four stages of the moon. Christian missionaries, as was their wont, appropriated the symbol called the hot cross buns. Shortly after, a monk donated the buns to the poor on Good Friday making the rolls--and passing out treats-- early symbols of Easter.
We have the Germans to thank for Easter chocolate (and the Easter Bunny in general). Sometime in the 1800s chocolate became the “it” German sweet. Chocolatiers decided to get in on the spring holiday by fashioning the confection into eggs, a symbol of rebirth, and from then on, chocolate and Easter were inextricably linked. So linked, in fact, that 90 million chocolate bunnies are made for Easter each year, according to the National Confectioners Association.
Now, you can’t talk about Easter candy without mentioning Peeps! The tale of the marshmallow chicks though is as mysterious as the sweets are sugary. In 1953, A Russian-born candy maker who bought a company that made mostly jelly beans, got a look at their then-handmade marshmallow chicks and, for reasons no one seems to know, decided to mechanize the process. Today, the fluffy friends are the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy selling over 700 million bunnies, chicks and eggs, each season.
These days, just about every candy shows up on drugstore shelves wrapped in pretty pastel packaging. So, no matter your weakness (peanut butter cups, Pez, M&M’s), you can indulge - after the 40 austere days of Lent. Or, simply because you want to celebrate the warmer spring days with a sweet tooth.