Wayne Schmidt's Candy Bar Autopsy Page Photos of 62 dissected candy bars with taste tests and histories.

Candy bars are the most common quick snack in the world. Check-out lines in every store are lined with dozens of varieties in addition to having entire aisles devoted to them. Yet most of us grab one and eat it on impulse paying little attention to what's in them and because they are consumed on-the-go as we walk back to our cars, we hardly taste them much less look inside to see what we're eating. This is a shame because although their ubiquitousness makes them seem commonplace, they have been formulated by candy experts and evolved over decades to provide tastes and textures unrivaled in the world of culinary sweets. Come with me on a journey of discovery as we take peek inside these delicious offerings for a close look at their appearance, learn about what they are made of, and see how they taste.

First up, we need to understand the common building blocks of modern candy bars.

The most common ingredient of candy bars is milk chocolate. While several bars use dark or semisweet variations, they are the great minority. In addition to flavor, chocolate coatings prevent the interior of the bar from drying out. Chocolate also provides an interesting textural element: initially a solid, as it's chewed chocolate starts off crunchy and then softens to creaminess as it melts.

Next comes nougat: a soft, light foamy material that adds smoothness, volume and a mellowing flavor. It's made by drizzling a sugar syrup cooked to 248-degrees F into beaten egg whites. The egg whites are cooked by the syrup's heat to provide a stable, foamy material. Firmness is determined by the temperature to which the syrup is cooked (higher temperatures create firmer nougats) and the amount of air beaten into the mixture. Nougats were originally a hard candy and had a firmer texture more like what you get in a Big Hunk candy bar. Most candy bar nougats are considerably lighter and softer. If you want to see what they're like, cut open a Three Musketeers bar, it's almost solid nougat. Most candy bar nougats have a tan color from being flavored with chocolate. True nougat is white.

Half of all candy bars have caramel. It provides a creamy texture, sweetness and helps hold solid additives like nuts in place. Caramel is sugar syrup cooked with cream or condensed milk until the mixture starts to brown. Just like browning meat increases its depth of flavor, so browning sugar creates a richer sweetness. The hotter the sugar is cooked, the firmer and darker the caramel will be. The Hershey's with Caramel bar is an example of a very soft and creamy caramel. PayDay candy bars have centers of very firm caramel.

The fourth most common additive is peanuts. Besides adding flavor they provide textural interest in the form of crunchiness.

After these big four, other ingredients include almonds, coconut, various types of cookie chips, toffee bits, graham crackers, and even pretzels.

A few bars use white chocolate, made with cocoa butter but no cocoa powder, as a coating of in the body. The fact that these are rare suggest that most people don't like white chocolate's unique aromatic flavor.

 

On To The Autopsies!

Weight: 2.05 ounces

Length: 3.75-inches

Manufacturer: Mars

Calories: 260

Comments: This classic of the candy bar industry first appeared in 1923. It was designed to remind the eater of a chocolate milk shake, hence the name. It's a layer of chocolate nougat covered with a layer of soft caramel and the whole thing coated with milk chocolate. It begins with a chocolate taste, develops a caramel note and ends with a strong chocolate finish. Think of a 3 Musketeers bar with some of the nougat replaced with caramel. This is an outstanding bar with legions of fans.

Early in 2008 I noticed Milky Ways with a new wrapper advertising "more caramel."

In size, weight and calories it was identical with the original. Cutting one open showed:

...that the caramel layer was indeed slightly thicker than the original. I can't say that it's an improvement. The bar tastes a little too sweet, the chocolate flavor has been weakened and the overall effect is much less suggestive of a milk shake. Another thing I noticed is that the caramel layer seems softer and lighter in color.

In my opinion Mars has taken a uniquely flavored classic and turned it into just another sweet chocolate bar. There is nothing that separates this new bar from dozens of others in the market. It's a pity that one of the greatest candybars ever created is now, after over 85 years of success, lost for all time.

The Last Original Milky Way In The World?

This may indeed be the last original recipe Milky Way in existence. I discovered it lodged behind a box of so-called "improved" Milky Way bars, evidently forgotten. Naturally, I snatched it up. It had been many months since I've seen one of these originals and I have to admit I'm in a bit of a quandary: Should I relish it now knowing that it may very well be the last of its kind, or freeze it and save it for posterity?

 

Weight: 2.5 ounces

Length: 6-inches

Manufacturer: Palmer's

Calories: 350

Description: I first saw this bar in Walmart in February of 2008. It's a very large bar with a small pocket of soft caramel in the middle of each segment. The quantity of caramel is so small that I couldn't really taste it, except as it made the chocolate seem a bit sweeter and creamier. The chocolate used was not high quality and I can't recommend this bar

 

Weight: 2.5 ounces

Length: 6-inches

Manufacturer: Palmer's

Calories: 380

Description: Virtually identical in appearance to the previous bar, I rate this one as much better. Each segment is filled with a generous amount of smooth peanut butter. The amount of chocolate and peanut butter is perfectly balanced so that as you eat your taste buds are treated to constantly changing and complimentary flavors. It's large size means that instead of a brief taste, as with most bars, with this one you enjoy practically a full meal.

 

Weight: 1.7 ounces

Length: 4-inches

Manufacturer: Reese's (Hershey's)

Calories: 260

Description: This candy bar has a light, crunchy core similar to a butterfinger or 5th Avenue, but with a stronger peanut flavor. The crunch is entertaining and lasts to the last bite. However, the bar had an indifferent flavor that left the tasters bored. Reese's Nutrageous and Fast Break bars are much better. I first saw this bar in early 2008.

 

Weight: 1.9 ounces

Length: 4-inches

Manufacturer: Reese's (Hershey's)

Calories: 230

Description: Peanut butter flavored nougat covered with milk chocolate. I found it harshly sweet with a very weak peanut butter taste. Most objectionable was a very sour aftertaste. There are no interesting textural elements to this candy bar. I believe this bar was introduced in late 2007.

The close-up of the left side of the bar shows the complex construction hidden in many candy bars.

As this image shows, the candy bar isn't simply nougat covered with chocolate. There are two intermediate layers between the center and coating. These may be flavorings, needed to protect the nougat from the molten chocolate during manufacturing, or to assist the chocolate in sticking to the center.

 

 

Weight: 2.1 ounces

Length: 4.5-inches

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 280

Description: The Baby Ruth bar was created in 1921 by the Curtiss Candy Company. It has a core of firm caramel coated with peanuts and then chocolate. Look close at the cross section above and a dark layer can be seen between the caramel core and the milk chocolate coating. I suspect this is a layer of a different type of caramel. Baby Ruths have a unique texture that evolves from firm chewiness, to crunchy, to soft chewiness, and finally creamy. The flavor also changes from chocolaty, to peanutty, to caramely and back to a smooth chocolate finish. With the widest range of both flavor and textural elements, Baby Ruths are easily the most entertaining candy bar to eat.

(Note: This bar was named after President Grover Cleveland's daughter, not the famous baseball player Babe Ruth.)

 

Weight: 1.875 ounces

Length: 8.25-inches

Manufacturer: Cambridge

Calories: 230

Description: The Charston Chew is undoubtedly the longest bar tested. It consists of a slab of very sweet vanilla-flavored white nougat covered with milk chocolate. The nougat is so chewy, call it tough, that it's more like taffy. There is a definite vanilla note but that's quickly over powered by its sweetness.

 

Weight: 1.5 ounces

Length: Two, 2-inch long mini bars

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 180

Description: Introduced in 1966, this bar has a very firm, dark caramel center coated with milk chocolate and crispy rice. I found it tough to chewy with harsh burnt notes. The finish, or aftertaste, was sharp, almost sour. The rice crunchies were nice, though.

 

Weight: 2.13 ounces

Length: 4.75-inches

Manufacturer: Mars

Calories: 260

Description: Three Musketeers came out in 1932 and was given its name because at that time it had three flavors of nougat: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. The Mars company switched to the single chocolate nougat filling in 1945. It starts off with a mild crunch from the chocolate and quickly changes to a very soft chew with a hint of maltiness. Three Musketeers are attractive, large bars that make you feel that you're really getting your money's worth. This used to be my favorite candy bar but I have recently switched to the more complex and interesting Baby Ruth.

 

Weight: 2.1 ounces

Length: 5.5-inches

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 270

Description: First produced in 1923 by the Curtiss Candy Company, the original recipe for the flaky/crispy peanut butter core was lost when Nabisco took over the company. A new formula was developed but some old-timers claim the new bar isn't as good. One of the odd ingredients in the center is corn flakes. This candy bar also has one of the longest list of ingredients. It's a very large bar with a fine grained, peanutty crunch that lasts to the last chew. I like this bar in spite of the fact that the center sticks to teeth. Having said that I think it's a little too sweet and prefer the more refined 5th Avenue.

 

Weight: 2 ounces

Length: 5.5-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 280

Description: This is a good looking, large candy that debuted in 1936. Its center is a light, crunchy toffee, flavored with peanut butter and coated with milk chocolate. Think of it as an improved Butterfinger: finer grained, more delicate crunch, and not as overpoweringly sweet. The center still sticks rather badly to the teeth, though.

(Note: 5th Avenue bars got a popularity boost in 1994 when Dr. Daniel Jackson used one as a piece offering to a tribal chieftain in the science fiction movie Stargate. Some people claim that both Butterfingers and 5th Avenues are poor copies of the superior Crispy Crunch bar developed by the Cadbury Company and available in Canada. I ordered some Crispy Crunches through Amazon.con and contrary to reports found it grossly inferior to both Amercan bars. Identical in appearance to a Butterfinger, though slightly smaller, its crunch was unpleasantly courser. The filling was mostly sweet with little peanut butter flavor.)

 

Weight: 1.75 ounces

Length: Two, 2.5-inch mini bars

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 240

Description: First developed in 1922, Mounds is now manufactured by Hershey's, who purchased the company that made it in 1988. It's simply coconut covered with dark chocolate. I found the coconut very mild considering how much there was and that the bar had a sharp, harsh, dark chocolate finish. The true name of this candy isn't "Mounds," but rather "Peter Paul's Mounds."

 

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Length: Two, 2.5-inch mini bars

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 270

Description: Almond Joys appeared in 1947. It's a Mounds bar with milk chocolate and two whole almonds on top of the coconut. The almonds add an interesting crunchiness for the first few bites but that quickly ends. The almond flavor is almost completely hidden by the coconut and chocolate.

 

Weight: 1.55 ounces

Length: 5.4-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 230

Description: The Hershey chocolate bar has been around since 1900, making it the oldest candy bar in the US. It's simply a slab of milk chocolate, but this simplicity has stood the test of time by delighting people for over a century. Hershey's milk chocolate is grainy, many times harsh and some claim it's too sweet. All this may be true but somehow it manages to prosper. What most people don't know is that Hershey's chocolate is produced in large batches and the quality of each batch, or vintage, varies considerably. Some are delicious, others are harsh. The key is to look at the back of the bar and read the production code.

The first number, 21, refers to the batch. These work their way up to 100 every year then reset back to zero. The bar above was from vintage 21, one of the best. Vintage 23 was much poorer. To learn which vintages are good please click on: HERSHEY'S VINTAGE PAGE.

The basic Hershey bar comes in several variations such as Symphony (extra smooth but harsh after taste), Special Dark (highly rated by many connoisseurs) and many others in a wide range of sizes.

 

Weight: 1.45 ounces

Length: 5-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 220

Comments: Developed in 1908, the Hershey's with Almonds bar is one of the oldest. I found the almond taste to be very subtle. The main effect of the nuts seems to be to provide crunchiness.

(Note: The source www.privatecookie.com claims that both the Hershey bar and Hershey bar with Almonds date back to 1894.)

 

Weight: 1.3 ounces

Length: 4.25-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 180

Comments: I couldn't find a release date for this bar. It's a milk chocolate bar with a very soft and mild caramel filler. This caramel is so soft that it oozes when the bar is broken and pressed. It gives the bar a mild caramel flavor that doesn't overpower the chocolate and most importantly gives the candy bar a very smooth, creamy texture. I'd rate this as a very good bar.

 

Weight: 1.75 ounces

Length: 5-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 270

Comments: Dating from 1925, the Goodbar is milk chocolate mixed with peanuts. I found the peanuts to be stale, giving a weak, soft crunch and only a hint of peanut taste. It had a harsh finish.

 

Weight: 1.5 ounces

Length: 5.25-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 230

Comments: Mini M&Ms in milk chocolate. I found this bar to be sickeningly sweet, but it had a nice crunch.

 

Weight: 1.5 ounces

Length: 5.25-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 230

Comments: Same as above but with mini Reese's Pieces. The peanut butter pieces reduces the sweetness and the peanut butter taste is good but the bar has a slight harsh finish.

 

Weight: 1.55 ounces

Length: 5.25-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 230

Comments: White chocolate mixed with crunchy chocolate wafer bits. The crunch is very light and enjoyable and the white chocolate has a unique aromatic note and creamy texture that is interesting. If your looking for something different this bar is worth a try.

 

 

 

Weight: 1.76 ounces

Length: 4.5-inches

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 250

Comments: Think Butterfinger meets Kit Kat and you get the idea. This bar trades the flaky peanut butter toffee center of the classic Butterfinger for layers of crisp wafer and peanut butter. It also has peanut bits mixed in with the milk chocolate coating. Butterfinger Crunch has a smoother, gentler crunch than the traditional Butterfinger but it wasn't as interesting. I'd opt for the original, or better still, a 5th Avenue bar.

 

Weight: 1.74 ounces

Length: 4-inches

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 240

Description: Think Kit Kat meets Nestle's Crunch bar and you've got the idea. While this bar has a long-lasting crunchiness, it starts off a little too hard. The chocolate flavor has a strong malty/milky note that quickly developes an unpleasant chemical sourness that had me running for a mint. This bar appeared in my area in January, 2008.

 

Weight: 1.55 ounces

Length: 5.5-inches

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 220

Comments: This mixture of crispy rice and milk chocolate has been around since 1938. Although I find the chocolate to have a harsh flavor, the crunch is so distinct, you can actually hear it, that this bar is just plain fun to eat.

 

Weight: 1.5 ounces

Length: 4-inches

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 200

Comments: This is a Crunch bar with pockets of firm caramel added. The caramel reduces the overall crunchiness of the bar but also mellows out the chocolate so that it's not as harsh. It has a pleasingly mild caramel finish.

 

Weight: 1.4 ounces

Length: 5-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 210

Comments: This bar was Hershey's answer to the popular Heath bar by the Heath Candy Company. Skor is hard butter toffee coated with milk chocolate. I found it to have an unpleasantly hard crunch with sharp burnt notes. It also stuck to the teeth worse than a Butterfinger.

 

Weight: 1.4 ounces

Length: 5-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 220

Comments: Introduced by the Heath company in 1928, the Heath bar may look and sound like Hershey's later copy Skor, but don't be fooled. The Heath bar uses a lighter, sweeter, milder butter toffee. It's not nearly as harsh as the Skor bar and the crunch is more delicate. Heath bars don't have any of the Skor's burnt notes. I'd rate this much higher than Skor. It still sticks rather badly to teeth, though.

(Note: Although Hershey's ended up buying the Heath company in 1996, they decided that their Skor and Heath's Heath bar were different enough and each had such strong followings that they kept both bars in production. Hopefully if they ever decide to eliminate one it'll be the Skor bar.)

 

Weight: 1.5 ounces

Length: 3.5-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 220

Comments: Developed by the Reese Company (of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup fame) in 1935, Kit Kat bars are simply milk chocolate layered with crisp wafers. The combination produces a delightfully light crunch. The flavor is strictly one-note milk chocolate but like the Crunch bar the texture alone is good enough to be entertaining.

 

Weight: 1.5 ounces

Length: 3.55-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 220

Comments: Identical to regular Kit Kats except for the white chocolate coating, which provides its uniquely aromatic flavor. I prefer the original.

 

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Length: 4.25-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 240

Comments: A single-bar big brother of Kit Kat. I think this one goes too far into crunchiness with the result that the milk chocolate flavor is weakened.

 

Weight: 1.76 ounces

Length: 3.75-inches

Manufacturer: Mars

Calories: 230

Comments: This is a variation of the popular Milky Way bar. It has vanilla instead of chocolate nougat and a coating of dark instead of milk chocolate. I found that it had a milder initial chocolate taste, weaker caramel notes, and a sharp dark-chocolate finish. My preference is for the original.

 

Weight: 2.07 ounces

Length: 3.75-inches

Manufacturer: Mars

Calories: 280

Comments: Released in 1930, the Snickers bar is a Milky Way with peanuts mixed into the caramel layer. It has a firm, almost hard, chew and an odd smokey note that may be the result of over-roasted peanuts. I've always thought of it as a poor relative to a Baby Ruth because it doesn't have the same flavor and textural development.

(Note: This candy bar was named after a horse named "Snickers" owned by the Mars family and in 2001 was the most popular candy bar in the US.)

 

Weight: 1.76 ounces

Length: 3.75-inches

Manufacturer: Mars

Calories: 230

Comments: A Snickers bar with almonds instead of peanuts. It has a definite almond flavor and a firmer crunch from the larger nuts. It struck me as being drier than the usual candy bar.

(Note: Both Snicker's with Almonds bars I purchased had caramel oozing out of one end yet they didn't appear crushed during handling. I suspect there was a problem on the production line that day.)

 

Weight: 1.85 ounces

Length: 4.5-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 250

Comments: Released in 1932 by the Hollywood Candy Company (later purchased by Hershey), PayDay consists of salty peanuts covering a very firm caramel center. The texture is both crunchy and firm-chewy and the dominate flavor is saltiness. The sweetness of a caramel overpowers the taste of the peanuts. I seem to remember these candy bars being rounder back in 1970.

 

Weight: 1.8 ounces

Length: 4.5-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 250

Comments: This is just a Payday covered in milk chocolate. As such it would appear to be a clone of a Baby Ruth. In spite of the obvious similarities the PayDay Avalanche has boring one-note textural and flavor elements and ends with a grainy finish.

 

NEW!!!

Weight: 1.8 ounces

Length: Two, 2.25-inch mini bars

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 230

Comments: Oh Henry candy bars were named in 1921 after a young man who frequented, and eventually worked for, the Williamson Candy Store in Chicago. The bottom layer tastes slightly peanutty while the top layer is mildly fudgy. In spite of the number of peanuts, this candy bar isn't particularly crunchy. It has a very firm chew and ends with a poorly-defined chocolate/peanut finish that's a little sour.

 

Weight: 1.25 ounces

Length: 2.25-inches in diameter

Manufacturer: Hoffman's

Calories: 170

Comments: Cup-O-Golds date back to the 1950s. They taste weakly of coconut and although they are supposed to contained toasted almonds, I couldn't taste them. The center is very soft, almost liquid, and sweet, though it doesn't effect the overall flavor very much. The coconut finish was a little sour. The name is really a misnomer because the center is pure white, rather that golden as the name suggests.

 

Weight: 2.39 ounces

Length: 5-inchs

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 350

Comments: The Yorkie is just a big hunk of milk chocolate. Unlike many of Nestle's milk chocolates, this one has a very mild flavor and smooth, mellow finish. But, that may only apply to this particular production run. I assume that Nestle's chocolate, like Hershey's, varies from batch to batch. One oddity is the statement on the side that it's: "Not for girls." I assume that the implication is that it's too big for girls... it's a manly-man-sized candy bar.

 

Weight: 3.3 ounces

Length: Eight, 1.5-inch mini bars

Manufacturer: Chew-its

Calories: 440

Comments: Manufactured by the Golgenberg Company, these caramel-peanut-milk chocolate minibars are another inferior variation of the famous Baby Ruth candy bar. Peanut Chews have a tough chewy caramel, weak peanut flavor, and an odd chemical note. The dark chocolate coating creates a sharp finish. These also come in a milk chocolate version.

 

Weight: 1.5 ounces

Length: Two, 2-inch diameter cups

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 230

Comments: Developed by Harry Reese in the mid 1920s, the Reese's Peanut Butter cup has become one of the great American candy icons. It combines two opposing flavor elements (chocolate for sweetness and peanut butter for saltiness) to create one of the great flavor combinations of all time. Personally, I find the peanut butter to be a little too dry and sweet, but still rate this as a great candy bar, though it's shape raises the question about whether it should be appearing on this page. (Reese's cups come in a dozen different variations.)

(Note: Mr. Harry Reese hit it big in the mid 1920s with the development of the popular Peanut Butter Cup. His company prospered over the decades even though it was founded on essentially a single item. Hershey purchased the company in 1963 for $23.5 million.)

 

Weight: 1.4 ounces

Length: Two, 2-inch diameter cups

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 190

Comments: Although it's too thin to be seen in the cross section above, there is a thin layer of caramel on top of the peanut butter filler. This gives the cup a creamier texture that I liked. The chocolate is thicker and the resulting reduction of peanut butter flavor is noticeable. Still, I rate this as superior to the original.

 

Weight: 1.5 ounces

Length: Two, 2-inch diameter cups

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 230

Comments: Despite thickness of the white chocolate coating, I found its flavor to be weak. This is an interesting bar to try, but I can't recommend it above the Reese's cup with caramel or even the original peanut butter cup.

 

Weight: 1.4 ounces

Length: 2-inch diameter cup

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 220

Comments: I found the peanut butter in this cup to be gritty, though I did like the added crunchiness the peanuts provided. Oddly, in spite of the obvious increase in peanut filling the peanut butter flavor was weak. It ended with a slightly harsh edge.

 

Weight: 2 ounces

Length: 4-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 270

Comments: Introduced in 2001, the Fastbreak is a relative newcomer to the world of candy bars, but it's a good one. Its core is a smoother, creamer version of the standard Reese's peanut butter filling, topped with dark chocolate nougat. These two layers are on a base of peanut-flavored nougat and the entire structure wrapped in milk chocolate. The overall effect is outstanding. There is a strong peanut butter flavor perfectly balanced with chocolate notes. It's much smoother and creamier than the original Reese's peanut butter cup. The nougats give the bar a chew that's firmer than I prefer, but all-in-all this is a very good candy bar.

 

Weight: 1.65 ounces

Length: 3.75-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 230

Comments: This bar has a layer of graham cracker imbedded in the light caramel base, topped with marshmallow and covered with milk chocolate. The odd thing about this candy bar, other than an offensive chemical odor, is that the graham bits are white instead of brown. It's a very soft candy bar with a nice, delicate crunch that unfortunately doesn't last longer than a few chews. It has a sharp chemical finish that I though was a real put-off. Both bars I purchased were cracked all the way around the top edge. I suspect this is the result of the marshmallow not being strong enough to support the chocolate coating.

 

 

Weight: 1.5 ounces

Length: Two, 2-inch mini bars

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 210

Comments: Released in 2004, Take 5 is the baby of the industry. I'm happy to report that it is a great addition to the Hershey line of candy bars and I hope the person who developed it got a bonus. It consists of milk chocolate, peanuts, caramel, peanut butter and pretzels. The pretzels are what sets this delicious treat aside from all the other candy bars. They create an unusual crunchy texture and interesting/salty flavor that is a real stand out. The pretzel flavor is obvious, yet doesn't overpower the other flavors. I heartily recommend this bar to anyone and everyone.

This bar has been so popular that there are already several variations of it.

 

Weight: 1.5 ounces

Length: Two, 2-inch mini bars

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 220

Comments: This variation to the excellent Take 5 candy bar features a peanut butter coating that increases the peanut butter flavor at the expense of no chocolate. I found this bar to have a harder chew than the original and don't rate it as high.

 

Weight: 2 ounces

Length: Two, 4.5-inch mini bars

Manufacturer: Mars

Calories: 210

Comments: Developed in 1979, the Twix bar was originally marketed in Europe under the name "Raider." It's a crunchy cookie topped with peanut cream and covered with milk chocolate. It has a pleasant, fine crunch but the peanut butter flavor is hard to detect. An interesting feature is the ribbed shape of the cookie as seen in the side-sectioned view above.

 

Weight: 2 ounces

Length: Two. 2-inch mini bars

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 210

Comments: This is the same as the peanut butter Twix above except that a layer of caramel replaces the peanut butter cream. I believe the caramel version was the original, but I haven't been able to find a reference to verify that. I found this version to have a firmer chew, was a little sweeter, and an enjoyable caramel finish.

 

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Length: 4.75-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 230

Comments: This bar with the extraordinary name came out in 1978. In 1987 Hershey's added a little caramel to make it creamier and sweeter. The crisp, foamy, peanut-butter flavored center of crispy rice gives this candy bar a wonderful crunchy texture that lasts to the final chew. The flavor is rich and mellow peanut butter perfectly balanced with milk chocolate. This excellent candy bar deserves to be on everyone's must-have list.

 

Weight: 1.3 ounces

Length: 3.25-inches

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 180

Comments: This candy bar is offensively sweet and although the graham cracker bits that give it its crunch are golden brown as they should be, you can't taste them. It had a harsh finish like a Crunch bar.

 

Weight: 1.82 ounces

Length: 4.75-inches

Manufacturer: Annabelle

Calories: 240

Comments: This 1950 introduction is marshmallow cream coated with cashew impregnated milk chocolate. The core is too soft to support the chocolate shell so the bar has a lumpy, uneven appearance. I found the texture to be unpleasantly gummy and could not taste the cashews nor sense the crunchiness I expected them to provide. I'd rate this a a very bland candy bar.

Rocky Road bars are offered in a dark chocolate version. The only difference I noticed was that it had a sharper flavor.

 

Weight: 1.88 ounces

Length: 3.75-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 240

Comments: When released by the Hollywood Candy Company (later bought by Hershey) in 1930 this candy bar with a core of chocolate nougat with almonds topped with caramel had a white chocolate coating. Later, the coating was changed to a milder flavored white fudge. I found it to have a very firm chew with a hint of a white chocolate. The almonds only added a dull crunch.

 

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Length: 4.5-inches

Manufacturer: Cadbury (Hershey's)

Calories: 210

Comments: Cadbury developed the Caramello bar in 1976. All the Caramello bars, as well as other Cadbury products, in the USA are manufactured and/or distributed by Hershey's under a license obtained from Cadbury in 1988. The Caramello bar consists of four milk chocolate cells filled with an extremely soft and sticky caramel. It has a good chocolate start, caramel middle flavor and a harsh chocolate finish.

 

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Length: 3.5-inches

Manufacturer: Planters

Calories: 23

Comments: Available in 1930, this is simply a mass of crunchy toffee and peanuts that looks the same on the inside as it does on the outside. In spite of the apparent quantity of peanuts, I found the peanut flavor very subdued. One interesting feature is that the toffee, which is almost flavorless, provides a fine-grained crunchiness while the peanuts provide a coarse crunchiness. The two work together to create a unique and interesting texture, though that's not enough for me to recommend this candy bar.

 

Weight: 1.7 ounces

Length: 5.5-inches

Manufacturer: Annabelle

Calories: 190

Comments: This is undeniably the worst tasting candy bar I have ever tried. The nougat filling with peanut bits is rock hard and almost impossible to chew. It's so hard that if you drop it the candy bar will shatter. I can't imagine why anyone would purchase this bar.

 

Weight: 2 ounces

Length: 7.25-inches

Manufacturer: Annabelle

Calories: 230

Comments: This candy bar was originally released by the Golden Nougat Candy Company, later bought out by Annabella. It's a slab of white nougat imbedded with peanuts. I found it to be extremely tough, almost rock hard, and difficult to chew. It's also one of the stickiest candy bars if you chew long enough to soften it and can easily pull out any loose fillings. It can't really be eaten. The best you can do is be patient and wait for it to dissolve. The peanuts don't add anything and you quickly end up stuck with a wad of hard taffy in your mouth. Like the Look bar, it's so hard that if dropped it will shatter. There are even directions on the cover for how to soften it by using a microwave!

 

Weight: 2 ounces

Length: 3.25-inches

Manufacturer: Annabelle

Calories: 250

Comments: This candy bar is hard taffy with a peanut butter center. Like the previous two bars it can be rock hard, though by warming it in your hands and pulling slowing it can be stretched. Drop it on a hard surface and it'll break into pieces. The peanut butter is good but only lasts a few seconds. After that all you're eating is plain taffy. This candy bar was originally developed by the Cardinet Candy Company, which was purchased by Annabella in 1978.

 

Weight: 1.5 ounces

Length: 5-inches

Manufacturer: Annebelle

Calories: 250

Comments: This was the strangest candy bar of all to cut open. When I did I was surprised to see... nothing! This bar is a solid piece of a foamy/chaulky material. It's as simple as a plain Hershey bar. Unfortunately I can't say that it tasted as good. The chocolate mix, hinting at marshmallows and fudge, left a sharp chemical after taste that seems to last forever.

 

Weight: 1.7 ounces

Length: 4.5-inches

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 180

Comments: Nestle claims this candy bar is honey-flavored taffy, but when I tried it what I got was a definite mocha or coffee flavor. This bar has a tough chewiness that's almost as hard as a Abba Zaba or Big Hunk. I didn't think it was very good. It looks the same inside as outside so I didn't include a sectioned view.

 

Weight: 1.4 ounces

Length: 5-inches

Manufacturer: Nestle

Calories: 190

Comments: The Chunky candy bar is a mixure of milk chocolate, peanut bits, and pieces of raisins. It has a sharp aromatic chemical overtone that left a long-lasting sour taste in my mouth.

 

Weight: 1.8 ounces

Length: 4.25-inches

Manufacturer: Hershey's

Calories: 280

Comments: Developed by the Hershey Company in 1994 under the Reese's banner, I'm happy to report that this last candy bar on the page is a clear winner. It boasts a smooth peanut butter center overlayed with caramel and milk chocolate imbedded with peanuts. It has a pleasant chewiness and an entertaining crunch that lasts to the final chew. The peanut butter/chocolate balance is perfect and it has a delicious, mellow peanut butter finish. Outstanding!

(Note: I could no longer find this great candy bar in January of 2008. I hope this doesn't mean it's been deleted from the Hershey inventory.)

 
A Short List of Must-Try Candy Bars:

After working through all of these candy bars (in only two days) I selected the top seven and had a small panel of taste testers try them all. They rated each on a scale of 1 through 10. The scores for each bar were added to determine the final rankings. Here's the panel's favorites starting with the top-rated candy bar:

 

Ultra-creamy peanut butter perfectly matched with smooth milk chocolate. What more could anyone want?

 

This one's outstanding in so many different ways that it's hard to imagine anything better. Although the panel ranked a close second FastBreak, Baby Ruth remains my personal favorite.

 

The fine-grained, crunchy, peanut butter filling is delicious.

 

This FastBreak-with-peanuts variant is as delicious as it is fun to eat.

 

Candy comfort-food: great texture and flavor mixed with a touch of nostalgia.

 

Its long-lasting, delicate crunch is a culinary delight.

 

That pretzel flavor and crunch is great!

 
The Best Candy Company?

Taking a second look at the top seven candy bars I discovered that one was made by Mars, one by Nestle and 5 were made by Hershey's. From this the argument could be made that at least as far as the taste testing panel is concerned, Hershey's makes more of the best candy bars than anyone else. While some of their bars may have been originally developed by other companies, which Hershey's then purchased, Hershey's should at least be credited for having the good sense to continue making these great candy bars.

 

In Closing:

This is just a small sampling of the hundreds of candy bars available. I plan to add to this list as I find new bars so please check back often. Thank you for visiting!

 

Interesting Links:

NEW!!! http://www.candyfavorites.com This is an outstanding source for all types of candy. There is even a page where candies are sorted by decade to help you find those long lost flavors of youth. One particular feature of this site that I like is that it posts customer reviews so you can see what other people thought before ordering. Check it out!

http://library.thinkquest.org/J0110012/history/history_of_chocolate6.htm has an interesting time-line of the history of chocolate candy and the companies that make it.

http://www.privatecookie.com/Bassi-to-Cream/candy_bar.php has an excellent chart with details about hundreds of candy bars.

http://www.candyusa.org/Classroom.timeline.asp has a very thorough candy timeline.

 

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