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Top 10 Best Spin-Off Candies

Categories: Candy,Top 10 Lists


If it weren’t for The Tracey Ullman Show, the world would have never had The Simpsons. Animaniacs gave viewers Pinky and the Brain. And where would we be if The Daily Show didn’t serve up The Colbert Report? This is a Top 10 list dedicated to candy spin-offs that not only succeeded in becoming sufficient candies on their own, but also surpassed their predecessor’s glory.

10. Brach’s Caramel Apple Candy Corn

Brach's Caramel Apple Candy Corn

Candy corn is one of those divisive candies that can split an entire room: there are those who like it and those who don’t. Luckily or unfortunately, depending on how you feel about this candy, it tends to appear only around Halloween when haters deal with it for one month and lovers can stock up for the other 11 months with cheap day-after candy sales. Brach’s Caramel Apple Candy Corn is the olive branch to unite these two camps. Presented in a more aesthetically muted color range of white, brown, and red, these tasty treats are caramel-based rather than honey. The change offers a pleasant sweetness that combined with a simple apple tartness provides a surprisingly refreshing, autumn taste for your tongue.

9. Reese’s Crispy Crunchy Bar

Reese's Crispy Crunchy Bar

I have always liked Reese’s products primarily because I adore the combination of chocolate and peanut butter; however, I could never eat a lot because I just can’t eat that much chocolate without the support of another ingredient to offset the burning sensation in my throat. That is why the Reese’s Crispy Crunchy Bar rocks my world! It offers the same fulfilling chocolate/peanut butter ratio that Reese’s fans love, but combines it with peanut pieces and crispy peanut butter candy hit with a smidgen of salt. It’s like a Butterfinger Crisp and Crunch Crisp Bar got smashed up and Reesified (my new favorite word)! The result is not only a great flavor twist, but also a wonderful texture that gives eaters a wonderful layering of flavors.

8. Life Savers Gummies

LifeSavers Gummies

I was never fond of Life Savers hard candy. Even as a kid I found them too sweet and overrun with artificial flavor. The fact that they were stocked next to the mints in candy stores added to my perception of them as large, circular tic-tacs, and why reach for one when the better tasting Jolly Rancher sat right next to it on the candy shelf? That all changed when Lifesaver Gummies debuted. In gummy form, the candy still retains its trademark shape, but does not have the overpowering flavor the hard candy possesses. The duration of the chew works very well here, as these babies don’t fall apart when you start to grind on them, but they also don’t take forever to get through. Coming in several different flavors from the classic roll to mixed-berry, these subtle tasting candies can save my life any time.

7. Mike and Ike Tangy Twister

Mike and Ike Tangy Twister

The original Mike and Ike candies are what I call “eh.” The main issue I have with them is that none of the flavors are that compelling, as the candy not only tastes artificial, but also quickly loses its flavor. Also, the unusual viscosity of the gel makes them rather odd when chewing through; does anyone else just suck the candy coating away to be left with the clear gel pellet that resembles clear bullets that you can spit at your older brother? That all changed with Mike and Ike’s release of vamped spin-offs. From Cherry Cola to the recently released Lemonade Blends, all the derivatives of the original candy surpass its creator, with the Tangy Twister being the best tasting of all. The flavors in this pack run the gamut from apple to citrus punch, which is a nice change from being pegged as the berry or sour genre pack.

6. Tropical Dots

Tropical Dots

Dots are one of those candies that were developed for an older generation. Though they have never been vastly popular, they always seem to present themselves in whatever candy aisle you are in, kinda like the way Alec Baldwin shows up in a lot of movies, but you’re never quite sure why. The main problem with Dots, aside from their stickiness, is that their flavors are so subtle that they tread into bland waters. The release of Tropical Dots did away with this claim. Though just as annoyingly sticky as their original counterparts, the introduction of bolder flavors, such as island nectar and carambola melon, took these average candies and kicked them up a much-needed notch. They come in a variety of sizes from small Halloween boxes to movie style boxes, but if you are anything like me, you’re just waiting for the cereal-sized box.

5. Tropical Skittles

Tropical Skittles

As a kid, I always was a fan of gummy over chocolate candy. The main reason boiled down to an imaginary rivalry I had between M&M’s and Skittles. They were the two colorful candies that built their empires around similar premises: candy that was circular-ish, came in a slew of colors, and had a letter imprinted on it. Skittles always won my heart because, as much as M&M’s ruled, I liked the variety of flavors Skittles offered to the lone chocolate M&M. The issue with Skittles is that the original bag, though tasty, serves up the traditional, and frankly, boring flavors one expects. Taking a great idea and making it better, Tropical Skittles offers the same chewy texture and mouthwatering experience original Skittles brings to the party, but does so with novel flavors. Rather than rely on one, each skittle in this bag is an infusion of two fruits, such as mango tangelo and pineapple passion fruit.

4. Sour Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

Sour Jelly Belly

I love Jelly Bellys! They on their own are one of my favorite candies. So you might be asking yourself why I think Sour Jelly Bellys have outdone the original? Well, let me clarify: I love certain Jelly Belly flavors. The problem is when I am sitting in a movie theater, where it’s dark, I cannot see which flavor it is and therefore can’t avoid picking the ones I don’t like. Sour Jelly Bellys remedy this problem completely. I enjoy each of the ten flavors in this spin-off from blueberry to raspberry. Though the name implies they are sour, they really are just a tart version of their fruity counterparts, offering the same joy fans of the original know and crave. Now I can happily dip my right hand into a bag of Jelly Bellys at the movies without fear of it coming across buttered popcorn, something I will let my left hand do with the real thing.

3. Tootsie Pops

Tootsie Pops

My grandmother always kept a dish of Tootsie Rolls for her bridge gang and offered me the candy whenever I visited. When I am offered a bowl of candy, there is usually no evidence that there was candy in it when I finish; however, there were always leftovers in her bowl. That is because I could only eat a few Tootsie Rolls due to the constant effort of chewing on them that hurt my jaw. The creation of the Tootsie Pop resolved this. Not just a lollipop, not just a Tootsie Roll, the Tootsie Pop took the right amount of Tootsie chocolate a person can stand in a serving and coated it in a fruity (excluding chocolate) candy shell. The coating itself is sweet, but not overly so, and most importantly, comes in a variety of flavors that actually mesh well with the chocolate when you take that last crunchy bite. Tootsie Pops remain modern having now also updated their arsenal of five classic flavors with the release of strawberry, blue raspberry, watermelon, lime, and pomegranate.

2. Hershey’s Kisses (various flavors)

Hershey Kisses

2007 was one of those “bleh” years for me where not much occurred. One exception was Hershey’s Kisses 100th anniversary. To commemorate this event, the company issued a variety of limited edition flavors every month. On their own, Hershey Kisses never did it for me, as I much preferred just biting into a Hershey Bar; these revved up babies delighted me to no end. It was always exciting heading down the candy aisle every month to see what new flavor was awaiting me, providing the highlight to my year. There were many flavors that blew me away so this is a general commendation, but special mention goes out to Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial, Peppermint, and Cocoa Kisses. Side note, shame on you Hershey’s for Candy Corn Kisses (shudders).

1. Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M’s

Dark Peanut mms

I never thought an M&M could be special. They were just the staple candy. Spin-offs of the classic include peanut, almond (my old favorite), crispy, and peanut butter M&M’s, but these versions never were anything mind-blowing either. So you can understand my skepticism in finding anything of merit in the dark chocolate counterparts recently released. Boy was I taken away! Tasty dark chocolate envelops a peanut that is in turn coated with the classic thin shell that yields a nice crunch and soft chew upon first bite. The added presence of the peanut not only reinforces the crunch, but also the slightly salty presence combined with the winning combination of nuts and chocolate make this a real winner. If only they made a dark chocolate almond M&M.…

UPDATE: Even though this was a top 10 list, we’ve had many votes to include more spin-offs, so here are some more, in no particular order:

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20 Responses to “Top 10 Best Spin-Off Candies”

  1. 1
    Sea Hag says:

    Man, I wanted to love the Tropical Dots so much, but I thought they were kinda crappy. But good call on the Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms. Those things are awesome.

  2. 2
    Erin says:

    I agree that special edition Kisses made the year better. I would actually check the Sunday ads, see a new release, and get in the car THAT DAY to search for a bag. (PS – my fave is the Trio.)

  3. 3
    ajewel says:

    I think Butterfinger Crisp should be on that list – It’s all the deliciousness of a butterfinger, without risking your fillings! :-)

  4. 4
    Robert B. says:

    And those M&M Premiums are pretty tasty too!

    Personally, I liked the Yogurt Dots better than the tropical ones.

    The special edition Hershey’s Kisses were fun EXCEPT FOR THE ONES I MISSED or COULD NOT FIND (mumble grumble rackin frackin nogoodsonofasnookie)!

    I am still keeping my eye out for Brach’s Caramel Apple Candy Corn. When I find it I will try it.

  5. 5
    Monica says:

    Good call with the Jelly Belly Sours – eating the regular ones in the dark is a perilous venture. My personal list, however, would include Milky Way Midnight and Snickers Almond – I’d take either of those over the original any day.

  6. 6
    Shannon says:

    tropical skittles are gross…i much prefer the original

  7. 7
    Sheri says:

    I have another spin-off to add: the Nerds jellybeans that showed up last Easter, and are now available year-round with the name “Giant Chewy Nerds.” Talk about an addiction!

  8. 8
    Kimberly says:

    Love the number One choice but I think Snickers Dark Chocolate deserves to be in the Top 10!!

  9. 9
    Robby says:

    i totally agree with a lot of your additions; unfortnately we only do top 10 instead of top 25 lists. but if we did, a lot of those would be on it! Robert B., i tend to find brach’s caramel candy apple corn right before halloween at walgreen stores.

  10. 10
    rowan says:

    I didn’t really like these. The texture was gritty and they were way too sour to be enjoyable.

  11. 11
    Cristiane says:

    I would love to add Altoids Sours to your list – I’m that weirdo that doesn’t like mint, but those Tangerine Sours…I had to stop buying them because I was getting through a tin a day and I was afraid my teeth would fall out. And I don’t even love hard candies that much. And Monica – I wholly agree about the Milky Way Midnight bar – much better than the original.

  12. 12
    Tracy says:

    No love for the Dark Chocolate-Dipped Altoids? They are manna in a tin as far as I’m concerned.

  13. 13
    Coco says:

    ooooo Nerds jelly beans. Those need to be available all year round! Those were gone out of my Easter basket before anything else!

  14. 14
    Heather says:

    Just to let you know, Coco, Nerds jelly beans are now being released year round. I never actually got to try them during Easter time, but I heard all the hype about them. Then, a few weeks later they popped up in the candy aisle as “Giant Chewy Nerds.” Though I can’t say that I was addicted enough to buy another bag, I’ll agree that they were a pretty decent spin-off and definitely surpass the original Nerds. However, I’m more partial to the “Nerds rope” that has been out for a few years now.

  15. 15
    Heather says:

    Nice post Robby, but what about a top 10 best discontinued candies article? I can think of quite a few candies from my childhood, as well as limited editions that were far too short lived.

  16. 16
    Robby says:

    That’s a great idea Heather! I would definitely write that article, but here at Candy Addict we encourage people not on our staff to submit as a guest writer. Since it’s your idea, want to give it a shot? I’m sure lots of willing eyes would devour it.

  17. 17
    ember says:

    i think regular original skittles should be on this top ten list. not the crappy tropical skittles they need to have the best original skittles!

  18. 18
    Candy Addict » Candy Event: Creating With Candy With Beth Kimmerle says:

    [...] ways to find creative uses for candy as well as being fun to do with the kids. Beth is a big fan of Life Savers Gummies (who isn’t?) and a lot of her creations seem to utilize the tasty treats. One big thing I [...]

  19. 19
    Candy Addict » Candy Review: Tropical Chewy Lemonhead & Friends says:

    [...] (Blue): The banana flavor in this reminds me of the banana in Tropical Skittles. I’m not sure how there is berry in this aside from the acid and tanginess berries possess; I [...]

  20. 20
    Kvn11 says:

    The first time i tried the reese crisp it was heven!!! And also i don’t think many of u heard of this but once i tried the limited edition cherry m&ms and they were Terrific!

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