If I learned two things when I ranked Little Debbie Snack Foods, they were that a) there's a lot of humor to be mined from the American junk food industry, and b) absolutely no one on the face of the Earth agrees with me about anything. Clearly, I haven't learned the second lesson, because this week we're throwing down on candy bars.
Let's establish some ground rules: first, these must be candy bars widely available in the US. I don't care how delicious you think Lion bars are, England, if I have to go to a specialty store to find it, I'm not ranking it on here. By the same token, apparently there's a candy bar called "Symphony" sold in California, but I'm sure as shit not including that on here; I've never seen it for sale anywhere on the East Coast. Second, this list doesn't include any boxed candies, but it does include cups (such as Reese's) and other difficult-to-categorize candy that you find in the candy bar section (like Rolo's). Third, I'm not doing fancy (or pseudo-fancy) shit like Ghirardelli, because then the list would just consist of 40 different flavors of that stuff, and nobody's interested in reading that*.
Any questions? Yeah, I don't care. Let's just get to it.
31. Mallo Cup
Holy fuckpopes, who conceived of this shit?! It's like a salty, unchewable brick of hatred. I'll be completely honest — I can't even conceive of the person who would enjoy this Shakespearean tragedy of a junk food, and I couldn't even begin to understand its continued existence.
You monsters. You absolute fucking MONSTERS. You put raisins inside a CHOCOLATE BAR?! THERE IS A SPECIAL LEVEL OF HELL RESERVED FOR YOU AND YOUR ILK. You and Raisinets go back to your fucking corner and THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DID.
28. Hershey's Milk Chocolate
Hershey's, you really need to stop calling yourself chocolate. You're not fooling anyone. Kindly remove yourself from the Candy Aisle and park your non-chocolate ass in the Tile Grout Aisle.
27. Hershey's Dark Chocolate
Just stop, Hershey's. You're embarrassing yourself.
26. Three Musketeers
Fucking Nougat? You filled a candy bar with nougat and just called it a day? Seriously? This thing screams "fuck it" more than a porn director with a cast full of narcoleptics. This is the laziest, most half-assed candy bar in existence. This is the Taco Bell Sausage Flatbread Melt of candy bars. Fuck you, Three Musketeers.
Oh come on; this shit can't have been designed for human consumption. This isn't a candy bar, this is a chocolate-coated grenade filled with shrapnel made of peanut brittle. I feel like Butterfinger was an elaborate prank that got to the point where it was too embarrassing to call it off, so they just went with it, and because of Bart Simpson, people still buy the fucking things (I'M OLD).
24. Take 5
This is one of the bars I'd never eaten, but decided to in preparation for this article, because I take science seriously, and also I have no idea what constitutes science. First off: did they put everything they had at the factory into this one bar? Pretzel, peanut butter, caramel, peanuts...this is the noisiest fucking thing I've ever put in my mouth, not including that one time I blew a clown (I still reflexively shudder every time I hear a squeak-toy). In discussing this article with a friend, she described it as "it sounds like the candy bar you eat when your dreams die." Yeah, that's...that's pretty much where we are with this one.
Do Cadbury Eggs taste like this? No, I've never eaten a Cadbury Egg. No, I don't care that I've never eaten a Cadbury Egg. OK, no, stop talking about Cadbury fucking Eggs. No one cares.
Anyway, in addition to being a textural and literal mess, Caramellos are just...not good. I mean, they're not Hershey's (at least they taste like goddamn chocolate), but just caramel? I'm sorry, no. Friend's response: " that caramel is stickier than fucking krazy glue. How do I know? DON'T FUCKING ASK BUT I CLEANED IT OUT OF MY VAGINA FOR MORE THAN A DAY."
That's literally the entire explanation I got. Your guess is as good as mine.
22. Reese's Fast Break
Just stop, Reese's. You don't need to be anyone but you. Stop trying to be one of the cool kids. We love you for who you are.
21. Reese's NutRageous
Is there ANYTHING notable about NutRageous aside from having possibly the dumbest fucking name of any candy bar (and this is a field that includes Whatchamacallit)? It's like a less-shitty version of Payday, because at least they were smart enough to cover it in chocolate. That's the best and most interesting thing you can say about it. Let's just move on.
20. Mr. Goodbar
I remember these being a lot better when I was a kid, but that might be because the only time I ate them as a small child was in the form of miniature versions at Halloween when I was already hopped up on enough sugar to incapacitate a musk ox. As it is, in a way I can't quite articulate, these things just taste like old people. Like, if an old person was a candy bar, they'd be Mr. Goodbar.
Oh, Christ, I've lost my mind and there are still almost 20 entries to go.
Hehe. Hehehehehehe. "Mounds." Hehehehehehehehehe.
(Oh, what the fuck did you expect, it's a wad of coconut shavings inside a chocolate bar, you try to make that funny without drawing from the "IT'S A TERM FOR SOMEONE'S LADYBUSINESS" well)
18. York Peppermint Patty
Captain Ameribleh: The Winter Ohfuckit.
16. Milky Way
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkableh.
15. Wonka Bar
Raging Bleh/Kill Bleh/Pitch Bleh.
14. Hershey's Milk Chocolate With Almonds
It's amazing how much the presence of the almonds makes you forget that you're essentially eating dyed, compacted chalkdust. However, it loses major points for every time you get stuck with a bite of pure non-chocolate (fauxcolate?) and your fragile illusions are shattered. All told, the difference is still good enough to put it in the top 15. The key here is the almonds: unlike peanuts, almonds can save damn near any dessert. Well, other than Baked Apple Pie a la Cyanide, but there's just no helping some people.
13. Cadbury Dairy Milk
I mean, at least it's ACTUAL chocolate. It's still boring as shit, though. Come on, Cadbury; milk chocolate hasn't been a culinary innovation since shortly before the onset of the Iron Age**. Do better.
This is the weirdest goddamn candy bar in existence. How...how do I even bite this fucking thing? Either you try to bite each weird-ass triangle section at a go and jab yourself in the roof of your mouth, or you try to come at it sideways and fail in more ways than it should be possible to fail. This is like trying to eat a space alien's throbbing ovipositor. It tastes pretty decent, but anything that requires this much effort to eat had better taste like a fucking orgasm in space to make it worth it. At best, a Toblerone is a mildly unsatisfying encounter in the back of someone's Camaro, so no, it doesn't quite get there.
I realize these aren't technically a candy bar, but as far as I know, a post titled "Candy Rolls — Ranked" would be these, Smarties, and "that roll of nickels that accidentally fell into the Nestle vat one time," so we're going with it. They're...OK. I mean, I can't hate on them; I know they're just caramel, but the textural differences between these and Caramellos are almost immeasurable. Also, I'm pretty sure my friend never lodged a commando squadron of Rolo's up her hoo-ha, so they win out on multiple fronts.
10. Almond Joy
As I said in Hershey's with Almonds, almonds have the magical ability to save any candy bar. The only problem is when the almond is gone and you realize you're just eating a gussied-up Mounds bar. This might be why these work best in bite-sized form: they don't have a chance to crush your fledgling candy dreams.
9. Baby Ruth
Still #1 when it comes to clearing out a pool quickly. I have no other joke for Baby Ruth, though. Shit.
8. Nestle Crunch
These used to be my absolute favorite as a child. I'm not sure if my tastes changed or if the recipe did, but now they just taste like saccharine joylessness to me. Oh good, the wrapper says "even richer!" Because that's the solution, Nestle Crunch; just double the fuck down and empty the fucking corn syrup vat right into the goddamn candy bar mix.
No, Snickers Ice Cream Bars don't get to be included in this conversation. Because they're a dessert, that's why. Stop arguing with me. Anyway, Snickers bars themselves are no slouch; they're not exactly the most delicious bar on this list, but you can do a hell of a lot worse.
One downside, according to my friend: "The problem with Snickers is that you're still chewing it 15 minutes after you've swallowed it." I mean, a candy bar that fractured the time-space continuum could be said to be problematic, so I see her point.
6. 100 Grand
This would easily crack the top five were it not for the fact that every time I eat one, it dislocates my jaw. Seriously, what the hell do they use in these in place of caramel, industrial adhesive?! And this STILL comes in at #6 — that's how much I love crispy rice in chocolate bars.
I know; I'm shocked, too. I had never even tried one of these things until yesterday. I was expecting — at best — that it would be forgettable, but it was actually good. They might rank higher if their name wasn't so stupid — it's like they were named by that fedora-wearing guy you knew in high school who was always trying to spontaneously start an Abbott and Costello sketch. Not an appetizing moniker.
This might jump into the top three if I had the opportunity to try those crazy international flavored Kit-Kat bars. Seriously, I want to try ALL OF THOSE THINGS, even Red Bean, and ordinarily I think Red Bean tastes like the congealed loss of innocence. As it is, it's hard to go wrong even with boring old regular Kit-Kat's. Have you ever felt disappointed eating a Kit-Kat? I never think to go out of my way to eat them, but I'm always glad I did. Kit-Kats are like the Golden Girls of candy bars.
3. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
There you go, Reese's. Just be you. We like you. You're awesome, even if for the life of me I can't figure out what the fuck is going on with your "peanut butter." Don't get me wrong, whatever the fuck that shit is, it's delicious, but last time I checked, peanut butter didn't have the consistency of a gritty sponge. I mean, it's a goddamn delicious gritty sponge, but still.
I swear this entry started out trying to be complementary. I'm not sure where it went wrong. Probably the point in writing this at which I cracked open the third bottle of wine.
2. Hershey's Cookies and Creme
Here's where I get called a hipster again. I don't even care — I fucking love these things. I realize I may be the only person in the entire Western hemisphere who does, but I will prop up the White Chocolate Empire by myself if I have to. You shall never defeat us! Come join me, friends! We'll display our White Chocolate pride! We'll have a White Chocolate Man March and everything, and then people will make fun of us on Twitter to hilarious effect!
Hmm. The non-drunk parts of my brain are telling me that this is a horrible, HORRIBLE idea. I can't think why.
I was apologetic about my choice of Pecan Spinwheels as the #1 Little Debbie snack food; not so this time. I will defend Twix to the death as the greatest candy bar ever conceived by man. COME AT ME, BROS.
* If you see something on here that you think breaks this crucial, iron-clad rule, remind yourself that it is truly impossible to measure how little I care.
** I'm well aware that chocolate wasn't around during the Iron Age. Knock it off, you humorless twatwaffles.
ETA: OK, Symphony is apparently sold all over the place, I've just never seen it. You can all shut the fuck up about it now.
Image via Denis Vrublevski/Shutterstock.