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Peanut Butter Kisses

We all have our ways when it comes to Halloween candy.

Many Minnesotans prefer Skittles, M&Ms, candy bars, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

No one it seems likes the old fashioned treats anymore: apples, candy corn, popcorn balls, circus peanuts, or peanut butter kisses.

The latter are said to be the most hated of all Halloween candies.

Yet peanut butter kisses are a favorite of mine, as much for the memories attached to the orange and black wrapped sweets as for their dentally challenging taffy consistency, gentle molasses flavor, and squidgy peanut butter filling.

No one likes them.

High Point, North Carolina officials banned peanut butter kisses for halloween giving in 2018

Here we have a Halloween meme putting down the peanut butter kiss.

But once you get past the chocolate, one of these iconic candies doesn’t taste too different from the popular peanut butter cup.

Slick packaging and herd mentality have much to answer for when it comes to candy popularity, and so much else.

First available in the 1900s, these candies are part of Halloween history.

Leave the peanut butter kiss alone, I say.

When kids come home from trick or treating, one of the first things many do is throw away their peanut butter kisses.

I feel compelled to stand up for these sweet old treats as we approach another Halloween, much as Linus stood up for The Great Pumpkin in the iconic Charles Schultz cartoon of the same name. I believe in the peanut butter kiss!

Even though I don’t like them, I’m standing up for the circus peanut, too, and marshmallow PEEPS.

Grandpa Joe Zwack loved those candies almost as much as his Copenhagen snuff. He served in France in World War I – if marshmallow candies were good enough for Grandpa Z, I salute his preferences.

Just don’t ask me to eat them.

All of these make great embellishments for cookies, cakes, puddings, pies and cupcakes, by the way. I love the Betty Crocker cupcakes decorated with Halloween PEEPS.

Only a few companies still produce peanut butter kisses including Melster Candies, a division of Impact Confections of Janesville, Wisconsin.

The candy’s name is an homage to the ‘kiss’ of peanut butter inside its outer layer of molasses-flavored taffy. Peanut butter kisses are often lumped in with another old-fashioned candy produced by Atkinson Candy, Mary Janes, but they are different.

Candy historians say some of the peanut butter kiss's endurance is down to affordability as a 'penny candy'. Most of us can afford a bag of peanut butter kisses - they retail for less than $6 a bag. 

Candy brands will always come and go. I used to buy my penny candy at Syd & Cecil’s Little City on the corner of 33rd and 3rd in St Cloud but don’t recall seeing peanut butter kisses. I first experienced them when they were sold in bags at supermarkets, Big Bear, ShopKo and Zayres.

I hope this Halloween you’ll give the peanut butter kiss another chance.

I agree with which says giving children such treats is only abusive if the candy is hard and stale. So when the kids come home from trick or treating this year, intervene before their peanut butter kisses reach the garbage bin.

"If you really can't stomach them and end up with (some) you're loathe to throw away, you can always turn them into a peanut buttery caramel sauce."

Circus peanuts were invented in the 1800s and are another penny candy, individual sweets that cost one cent apiece and were often sold at five-and-dimes, soda fountains, and candy stores. Spangler Candy makes about 32,000 pounds of circus peanuts daily and is one of few companies still manufacturing them today.

Update The peanut butter kiss has vanished from Stearns County. searched for them at Walgreens, CVS, CashWise, Coborns, and other candy-selling outlets in October, to no avail. We know that millions of kisses are sold elsewhere in the US but this Halloween they were not to be found in Stearns County. Spooky!

Photo DNY59, istock

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