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Retro Candy Flashback: Baby Ruth

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Baby Ruth

Butterfinger and Crunch are the stars of Nestle’s confectionery lineup. They get more advertisements on TV and have each undergone various spin-offs over the years. Whenever I hear those candy brands, I think of a grouping of candy rather than an individual piece of candy. Their ubiquitous nature has rendered them undefined and associative.

In contrast, there is a Nestle product, easily my favorite Nestle product, which exists as the unacknowledged sibling to these candy bars. I am talking about the one and only Baby Ruth.

There isn’t a crisp variation, theater-sized box, or even dark chocolate counterpart to this classic. In fact, it hasn’t ever been redone (at least, not with any lingering spin-offs). You also don’t see commercials for this candy too often. But I believe I know why.

The Baby Ruth first debuted in 1921 when the Curtis Candy Company of Chicago redesigned the Kandy Kake bar into the confection we know today, most likely to play off the then-popular Babe Ruth figure.

The candy bar itself is rather simple in its composition: milk chocolate coating (originally, now a mockolate one) nougat, caramel, and peanuts. Glancing over the description, you might be tempted to think the bar is too congested. I mean, caramel and peanuts, fine. Caramel and nougat is great. Nougat and peanuts – I have no problem with that. But all three, together, coated in chocolate/mockolate?

But let me assure that is hardly the case with this product. Whenever I unwrap a Baby Ruth, my nose is greeted with the delicious aroma of roasted peanuts. And what’s great about this product is that they don’t skimp on them! You can plainly see from the uneven surface just how many they pack in.

And when you take a bite, several things happen. First, you get hit with the nougat and caramel, which aren’t easily discernible in taste, as they both meld harmoniously into a gooey and chewy fudge-like entity rich in creaminess and flavor.

Then, the peanuts come into play. Aside from the taste complementing the caramel and nougat, the great part of this candy is the textures involved. The crunch of the peanuts coupled with the softer chew of the caramel/nougat bottom layers is a wonderful contrast and sensation for the palate, your mouth never becoming bored as you eat your way through the bar.

I think one of my favorite things about the Baby Ruth is the oft-forgotten mockolate coating. Back when these babies used real chocolate, they were something to brag about. But after Nestle acquired this candy, it and its fellow Curtis Candy Company Bar, Butterfinger, lost their chocolate for mockolate.

Despite it now being mockolate, I still don’t find it bad. I normally don’t care for Nestle chocolate in general, finding it waxy, shallow, and just flavorless. But the presence of the mockolate here is contained. It’s subtle, a smart move, not influencing the taste of the inner portion, but rather enhancing it with slight essences of chocolate flavors percolating the piece. This way you get hints of chocolate instead of a taste of bleh.

Sometimes I wonder why more time and attention isn’t devoted to the Baby Ruth. After all, most of the people I know vastly prefer this product to the other Nestle items, just as I do. But that is when I remember that Nestle probably realizes it doesn’t have to work so hard with this candy bar. People already love it, and they love it the way it is (though we would love it more if real chocolate were brought back). It doesn’t need a spin-off or a marketing blitz to get people to eat it. They already do because we all know just how good it is.

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4 Responses to “Retro Candy Flashback: Baby Ruth”

  1. 1
    Jeni says:

    A Baby Ruth is one candy bar that is always around, but I never got around to trying one. It sounds too similar to the Snickers bar, which I dislike.

  2. 2
    carrie says:

    They did do a low carb version of baby ruth a couple of years back when that was all the rage.

  3. 3
    Alix says:

    I agree with your rave review of Baby Ruths, but have you seen them lately? They ARE skimping on the peanuts now — the bars are practically smooth. Boo.

  4. 4
    Mike says:

    Notice when you get a bite of Baby Ruth with HARDLY ANY PEANUTS (clearly a factory mishap), the taste is pure heaven? I mean shockingly good, better than a Snickers bar or even the almighty Butterfinger? That’s because Baby Ruths have WAY too many peanuts. The fun sized versions you get at Halloween don’t have room for all those peanuts and you can actually taste the candy bar. There’s a reason its been around over 70 years, its the candy bar under those peanuts. There’re so many of them you’ll cut your mouth trying to chew them all if you’re not careful.

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