YDKJ Editors’ Roundtable – Halloween 2011 Candy Lineups

by Donald Hanson • October 31, 2011 • Editors' Roundtable, HolidayComments (0)1340


Let’s be honest.  The best part of Halloween?  Candy!!  If you’re like most parents I talk to, the candy you buy to give to Trick-or-Treaters is the candy you like best.  You sit there as the doorbell rings again and again, looking at the bowl slowly dwindling, praying that the kids stop soon so you can eat the few that remain.  Or you don’t even bother with that and just buy an extra bag lying to yourself, “I expect a big turnout this year.”  You know who you are.

Last year, we ran this list of our favorite candies and over this year there were a few things we realized that we’d left out.  This year, we have our lists and some additional notes on candy.

And now, your YDKJ editors:

Ed’s Notes on Candy and Top Three List:

The picks I made last year remain the same.  This is not surprising as your favorite candy tends to stay the same.  That being said here are some notes on candy.

All of my picks are of the chocolate variety.  If I am forced to make a non-chocolate choice my winner would be Runts.  These are the fruit shaped hard candies made by the Willy Wonka Candy Company.  I have to be careful as if I buy the big box I will tend to eat the whole thing in one sitting.  Hey it’s sorta counts as fruit, right?  Just watch out for the banana ones as those are tooth breakers!

Whatchamacallit is my clear winner but I am looking for forward to the trying the fairly new companion bar the Thingamajig.  It has peanut butter instead of caramel.  It came out in 2009 and Hershey rolls it out once in a while.  How the hell did I miss this?  Gotta find it and give it a try.

Finally I have to give a special shout out to the York Peppermint Pattie.  This was my dad’s favorite and he has been on my mind lately.  I think it is under appreciated in the candy world and that is a shame.  Sometimes that blast of fresh mint really hits the spot.

  • Whatchamacallit. My all-time favorite.  I have trampled small children to get the last bar.  In my opinion it has all the ingredients that make a candy bar great.  Chocolate, caramel, and crisp.  In this case the best kind of crisp, peanut flavored.  Introduced in 1978 it is a relative newcomer to the candy store.  But it was candy Rookie of the Year then and an all star thereafter.  In fact I have to go get one right now!
  • Butterfinger. I am sensing a chocolate/peanut butter theme here.  Much like Bart Simpson, nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!  That crispy crunch is irresistible.  I am not the only fan.  A super popular bar that is now available in sticks, snackerz, ice cream bars, and BBs.  If there was a Butterfinger soup I would try it.
  • M&Ms. One of the most popular, iconic brand names in the world.  And one of the best candies.  The chocolate wrapped in a candy shell is a perfect little candy seed.  I have learned that they were first produced right here in Newark back in the 1940s.  They were inspired when founder Forrest Mars  saw soldiers during the Spanish Civil War eating candies with a hard shell of chocolate to prevent them from melting.  OK, history lesson over.  I prefer the original but as we all know they keep adding new flavors.

Alice’s Notes and Top Three List:

2011 was the year of PayDay for me.  I’ve never been a big chocolate person and PayDay has been doing an advertising blitz this year which, I will admit, has worked on me.  One slight problem with the PayDay, though, is that if it’s not fresh it’s pretty obvious and it’s also pretty hard to chew.  Those fresh PayDay bars are pretty magical though.  The peanuts are extra salty and the amount of caramel is in good balance with the amount of nuts.

Despite my year of Payday, my picks remain the same.  I mean, these candies have basically been my list since I was in junior high.  Elementary school dalliances in Sixlets, Charleston Chews and Hershey’s with Almonds aside, I’ve been true to these candies forever.

  • Skor. The Heath Bar’s cousin, the Skor bar by Hershey’s is a little more crunchy and thinner than Heath so you get serious toffee crunch and a closer 1:1 chocolate to toffee ratio.  I also find Heath to be a little too nutty even though it’s still very good.  The Skor bar was introduced in 1981 as a competitor to Heath. However, even after Hershey’s acquired Leaf Candy Company, which at the time produced Heath, the company continued to produce both toffee bars even though they were no longer really competitors.  I like that the bars can get melty and re-form in the freezer or refrigerator without decomposing too much like a Snickers or a Milky Way might.
  • LemonHeads. Created by the Ferrara Pan Candy Company in 1962 using the same cooking method as Red Hots, this tart candy has layers of crunchy and chewy lemon-flavored candy in ball form.  Candies with berry and tropical flavors are also marketed under the Friends of Lemonhead name but my favorite is the original Lemon.  They come in large-pea-sized candies sold in boxes and also larger grape-sized individually wrapped candies.  The larger ones are very good but the classic ones are better.  You can easily fit one in your mouth and still breathe so you can drive/walk/whatever while enjoying them.  The large ones aren’t really huge but they just feel uncomfortably big in your mouth. They are super-tart and easy to eat a few or a lot and not worry about the package being open and the candies getting stale or anything.
  • Tangy Taffy/Laffy Taffy.  It used to be Tangy Taffy (TT) and it seems that it’s now Laffy Taffy (LT).  Laffy Taffy used to be too sweet for me but TT was WONDERFUL.  Lately, I’ve been able to find LT in packaging that appears to be TT in new clothing.  It seems like it’s not quite as tangy as before but it’s still the tartest mass-produced taffy out there.  The old TT used to be thicker and chewier, too, which I miss a little bit but it’s still really, really good. I’m so glad that it’s come back to the market on a somewhat limited basis. I particularly like refrigerating/freezing a package of LT/TT and then smacking the hardened candy on a counter a few times.  It makes bite sized pieces inside the wrapper that you don’t have to kill your teeth on trying to bite off a hunk.  Yes, I’ve spent a lot of time with these taffies.

Don’s Notes and Top Three List:

I took a hard look at every candy bar I could find and my top 3 list remains the same as well.

Something I have been noticing over the last year has been the white chocolate versions of a variety of great treats such as Kit-Kat and Reese’s Peanut-Butter Cups. For me, white chocolate is the best kind and a great twist to these classics. Since I like white chocolate the best, it is probably the least healthy. That’s usually the way it works.

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups : Obviously Chocolate and Peanut Butter is a perfect combination. And great tasting chocolate and peanut butter really seals the deal. I could just keep eating these things indefinitely. Whoever came up with this genius idea should have been given some type of award. Great under any circumstances, I prefer to refrigerate them and have them cold. This makes the chocoalte shell hard and, for me at least, improves the taste as well.
  • Twix : This was a long and hard decision. I really wanted to give this spot to the much more obscure 100 GRAND. But in the spirit of trying to be totally fair, I went out today and bought every candy bar that I thought had a chance and ate them all. I feel a little bit sick right now, but in comparing Twix and 100 GRAND head to head, I kept coming back to Twix as being the winner. You can’t go wrong with chocolate and caramel, plus there are two of them.
  • Hershey’s Cookies and Cream : Here is a rare and powerful candy bar. I am a little surprised that they still make them. It is one of the strangest looking candy bars you will ever see as it is chocolate cookie bits inside white chocolate. This candy bar is not for the faint of heart. It may be too much candy intensity depending on your taste buds or what kind of mood you are in. A masterpiece of being bold and not afraid of trying something outrageous, Hershey’s Cookies and Cream is quite a unique candy bar.

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