Geekade Top Ten: Candy (Not Bars)

Last year, Jon and I did a top ten list of candy bars. Dozens of people asked "where are Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?" To which we responded "Cups aren't bars!" So this year, we thought it would be fun to rank the rest of the candy. The non-bar candy. Of course, this is a fairly broad category, so there were a few rules. First, they had to be name brand type things. So no "candy store" confections like gummi worms or orange slices. Second, they can't be bars. Third, well, I think that's it. So, in honor of the Halloween tradition of knocking on your neighbors' doors and asking for free candy, here's our list of the Top Ten Candy (not Bars).

 

Kris’s #10. Raisinets – I love chocolate covered raisins. They’re one of my all-time favorite candies of any sort. If this were a list of candy store confections, they would easily be top 3. However, since this list is relegated to name-brand candies, the vastly inferior Raisinettes land in my #10 spot. Look, nothing beats authentic candy store chocolate covered raisins. But Raisinettes are more than good enough to get you through a craving when a proper candy store isn’t in sight. Yes, sometimes the raisins are pretty runty and dry. But even sub-par chocolate covered raisins are still chocolate covered raisins, and that makes them more than good enough to make my list.


Jon's # 10. Hershey's Kisses – Expect to find most of this list in a movie theater. Except for this entry. Raisinets are a classic, and Hershey’s chocolate in one of its purest forms is another. There are now more varieties of Hershey's Kiss than ever, mint, cherry, almond, white chocolate, and on. My endorsement is for the good old milk chocolate Kiss, though; it’s a year-round staple!


Kris’s # 9. Hershey's Kisses – Hershey's Kisses? How did I miss that one? In all honesty, this spot was originally going to go to Sugar Babies, but after you tossed Hershey's Kisses my way, I had to rethink things a bit. Fortunately, it worked out that the rest of things can stay the same, and Sugar Babies just fall off the list. They’re great, but upon further reflection, I can’t say I prefer them to Raisinets. But back to the Kisses. I agree with Jon that they’re Hershey’s chocolate in one of its purest forms. For my money, I go with the Special Dark. I have one with my lunch every day, and you can’t beat that cool purple foil wrapper!


Jon's # 9. Twizzlers – Does anyone just eat one at a time? Highly doubtful. Although you can sometimes find Chocolate, Fruit, or Dark Licorice flavors, they don’t hold a candle to the good old red. Pull N Peel is cool sometimes too.


Kris’s # 8. Skittles - Twizzlers missed my list just barely. My 8-spot has to go to Skittles. I still don’t really understand what they are. They have this M&M’s style candy shell, and they’re filled with some sort of chewy, fruity stuff? They’re clearly not of this world. But they’re absolutely delicious when separated by flavor, or eaten by the handful like a crazy person. They also have the distinct honor of having some of the most intensely bizarre and off-putting commercials associated with them, and an equally bizarre video game that’s about finding all the Skittles to save the sacred rainbow. A one-two punch of delicious flavor and weird pop culture.


Jon's # 8. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – A cup is not a bar, which is why we didn’t talk about Reese’s last year. I expect this might be the number one for many people, and I almost feel bad about ranking it sort of low. Chocolate and peanut butter is the ultimate combo, and Reese’s is the perfect example of it…but I’ve got some better combinations of chocolate and other things coming in at Numbers 1 and 2.


Kris’s # 7. Starburst – Reese’s Cups that low? Jon, you are a madman. Anyway, Starburst are amazing. They’re among the best fruit flavored candies, and their individual wrapping prevents you from eating too many at a time (if you’re like me and your laziness kicks in). Even things that are Starburst flavored like popsicles and jelly beans are great. Starburst, in all their various delightful varieties, are tasty treats.


Jon's # 7. Junior Mints – I’m obligated by law to mention the Junior Mint episode of Seinfeld here. Okay, we’re good now. As far as I’m concerned, these would top a list of best movie theater boxes of candy. Peppermint Patties may be decent, but Junior Mints are plentiful and mini.


Kris’s # 6. Rolos – Never been much of a mint fan. Caramel, on the other hand, I adore. Specifically the unique caramel inside of Rolos. Honestly, it’s crazy to me that these wound up this low on my list, but that just goes to show you how many great candies there are in the world. Back to the mysterious "caramel" filling. I don’t know what it is. It’s not chewy the same way caramel is supposed to be. It doesn’t get all stringy either. And to me, it’s the best caramel out there. Their shape is absolute perfection, too. Rolos rule.


Jon # 6. Swedish Fish – This might actually be a statistical tie with Junior Mints, if I take a closer look at the algorithm I used to determine my candy rankings. I guess Swedish Fish are also technically gummies, but they are easily the most distinct name brand gummy. In Sweden do they just call them Fish?


Kris’s # 5. Swedish Fish – That’s an excellent question. I’d like to think they’re still called Swedish Fish, if only to make them seem like some sort of overly-patriotic candy. Regardless, these little red dudes are top freaking notch. And unlike many other candies, they work just as well stale as fresh. In fact, I actually prefer them slightly stale (not unlike Peeps). I don’t know what flavor they’re supposed to be, and I don’t honestly care. They’re delicious, and I would gladly eat them until I’m sick.


Jon # 5. Nerds – The second-best non-chocolate item on my list. Nerds easily beat Pop Rocks, Starburst, Laffy Taffy, Runts, and most other, for lack of a better word, “fruit” flavored candy. The tiny boxes are great for Trick or Treat bags, the bigger boxes that have two different flavors in each half are very clever, and the venerable Nerds Rope was a recent brilliant innovation.


Kris’s # 4. Mike and Ikes – While I agree with you that the Nerds Rope is nothing short of a Nobel Prize-worthy invention, you’re out of your gourd to say they’re better than Starburst. My top “fruit” flavored candy goes to the Mike and Ike line. I will say that objectively the original recipe guys are the best, but Jolly Joes are without a doubt my personal favorite. There were some limited edition flavors that I was sad to see go too, (RIP Cherri and Bubb) but no matter what variety you’re chewing on, they’re a treat. Their pill shape is super satisfying to bite into, especially if you’re a rebel and do it vertically, and they are just plain delicious.


Jon # 4. M&M's – I think you invented some of those names yourself. Speaking of pill-shaped candies, I’m assuming that Good N Plentys are nowhere on this list. Candy shells were not made for licorice pellets, they were made for chocolate. Much like the Hershey Kiss, M&Ms have so many varieties that I could spend an entire paragraph listing them all. And their commercials feature the voice talents of Billy West and J. Jonah Jameson himself, J.K. Simmons.


Kris’s # 3. Reeses Pieces - No, Good N Plentys are not on this list, thank you very much. I have a deep love for M&Ms (as you’ll soon see) but my #3 spot goes to the second best candy coated pellet treat. It’s the famous flavor of Reese’s peanut butter in a fun candy shell. You’ll love ‘em to pieces! Great advertising aside, Reeses Pieces are so good, I can never say no to them. Under any circumstances. If offered, I will eat them. They’re damn near flawless.


Jon's # 3. Milk Duds – Chocolate and caramel is a better combination than chocolate and peanut butter. Rolos are pretty good too, but Milk Duds have a better consistency and shape, in my opinion. I prefer my caramel in the form that is in constant danger of sticking to your teeth.


Kris’s # 2. M&M's – It was a toss up for me between M&Ms and Reese's Pieces for the #2 spot. On one hand, I think I like Reeses Pieces more than any one variety of M&M. But on the other, there are so many delicious M&Ms out there, they beat the Pieces by pure numbers. Plain, Peanut, Peanut Butter (my favorite M&M), Mint, Pretzel, Crispy, and those are just the regularly available varieties. And did you see the announcement about Caramel M&Ms? Absolute insanity. M&Ms also get bonus points for allowing me to create my M&Ms megamix, where I buy giant bags of all the different types of M&Ms and mix them together for the ultimate good time. I won’t be including pretzel this year, and I never included mint in the first place (what am I, a lunatic?) but I will toss Reese's Pieces in from the get go. Man, it’s going to be so much better next year with caramel…


Jon's # 2. Skittles – Even if green Skittles were changed from lime to green apple, I think we all enjoy the “fruit” version of M&Ms. Tropical Skittles have their place, not unlike a vacation from you every day working class Skittles, and Sour Skittles are worth trying once, any more than that and you risk severely eroding your own tooth enamel. And unlike Starburst, you don’t have to do work to eat more than one at a time.


Kris’s # 1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup – Look. In my mind, chocolate and peanut butter is the be-all-end-all combo. And there is no better format for those two things to be combined than the flawlessness of a proper Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Now, this is a very specific situation here. The peanut butter cups have to be fresh. If they’re even the slightest bit stale, the peanut butter starts to turn to a gross powder, and there is no greater disappointment in this life than biting into a stale peanut butter cup. Their fragile nature would have dragged them down at least a few spots, but that's the thing. A perfectly fresh Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is JUST. THAT. DAMN. GOOD. No candy on this earth, to my mind, compares to the unbelievable joy of biting into a perfectly moist, creamy, fresh Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. That perfect cup is true candy perfection, and worthy of my #1 spot.


Jon's # 1. Cadbury Crème Egg – Cadbury Crème and chocolate is actually the best candy combination that exists. Cadbury Crème itself is actually the best candy filling of any kind, made even better by its seasonal availability. If they made jars of Cadbury Crème, I would spread it on toast. Nutella isn’t even as good. Easter candy wins! Happy Halloween, everyone!


And there you have it, folks. Our top ten candy. What do you think? Is Jon crazy for having Creme Eggs on top? Is Kris a lunatic for putting Reese's Pieces so high? Have we forgotten some majorly important candy and are both fools? Let us know in the comments. Have fun Trick-or-Treating, and happy Halloween!