This post is a not-so-solemn plea for those candy bars that -- most of the time -- sit woefully ignored on drugstore racks across the country. I enjoy Snickers, Kit Kats, and Three Musketeers as much as the next sugar freak, but their combined monopoly on the American candy market is, I contend, unjust given that other bars compare favorably. The following five under-appreciated candy bars deserve your taste buds' attention.
Chunky wins my approval if only for its unorthodox shape (a dense trapezoid), which renders it more compact and less breakable than thin, oblong confections. The mixture of milk chocolate, roasted peanuts, and raisins (the combination of raisins and chocolate is itself underrated, but that's a separate blog post) also makes it easier to fool myself that I'm eating a slightly sweeter version of a granola bar. And how many other candy bars boast a name that describes the end effect of over-consuming them?
4. Clark Bar
As a former Yankee, I'm admittedly biased toward NECCO (New England Confectionary Company) candies, and their hallmark product, the Clark Bar. Nuttier in flavor than the saccharine Butterfinger, the Clark Bar proffers a thicker chocolate shell (available in both dark and milk varieties) and a more resounding crunch with each bite. The bright red packaging makes them hard to miss in the candy aisle, yet so many overlook these snappy treats for their more drab and blander counterparts.
3. Oh Henry!
Oh Henry!, oh boy! A tunnel of rich peanut fudge ensconced in delicious caramel and milk chocolate, the Oh Henry! bar (well, "bars," technically as there are two to a package) is an edible homage to one of my favorite American writers. The introduction of the Seinfeld character Sue Ellen Mischke (heir to the Oh Henry! candy bar fortune) renewed interested in this confection, but sadly it still remains often overshadowed by Snickers.
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2. Vanilla Charleston Chew
Oldie-but-goodie Charleston Chew has been around for more than century and, if I had my druthers, would be popular for a hundred years more. Some report the unpretentious vanilla flavor is enhanced when the bars are kept in the freezer a few hours prior to consumption, while others prefer to gnaw at them slightly melted. And because their formidable length and sticky texture guarantees at least thirty minutes of tasty mastication, Charleston Chews are also a real bang for your buck.
1. 5th Avenue
Plenty of candy bars contain nuts (ahem, see preceding list), but few offer them in butter form. Similar to the Clark Bar, the 5th Avenue encases sweetened peanut butter with molasses flake in thick milk chocolate. The alternating layers of smooth nut butter and rough sugary flake complement each other well and prevent the candy from being painfully dry or disgustingly gummy. Chill your 5th Avenue slightly before serving and consume with a tall glass of frosty whole milk.