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Retro Candy Flashback: The Little Debbie Nutty Bar

Categories: Candy,Candy For Kids,Candy Reviews,Chocolate Candy,Classic and Retro Candy

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Nutty Bar

(Image from hades at Flickr)

Is there anything to rival the innocent sweetness of a Little Debbie treat? From the extreme simplicity of their classic goodies to their chemist-friendly ingredient lists to the cute little girl whose portrait adorns every box, the brand embodies pure, sugary nostalgia. Ever since the 1960s, when the CEOs of McKee foods decided to name a line of snack cakes after their granddaughter, this line has brightened many a day.

Crossing paths with Debbie at the supermarket or gas station always brings a smile to my face. These chance encounters bring to mind lunchtimes in preschool and kindergarten, during which Debbie and I became acquainted. Those years were simpler for us all, and whether or not we could expect to find something so tasty in the day’s lunchbox seemed an important issue. Too often, the presence or absence of a Swiss Cake Roll would determine my mood for the afternoon.

Yet for whatever reason, my relationship with Little Debbie has become less intimate in recent years. We see each other, sure, but we don’t touch, or (most importantly) taste. I feel at times that the freckled, curly-haired youth and I have grown estranged. So it came as a pleasant surprise one recent evening when my boyfriend arrived carrying an armful of Little Debbie’s beloved Nutty Bars.

Nutty Bars were as beloved in my youth as the previously-mentioned Swiss Rolls. Before I learned to differentiate a trans-fat-and-flavoring combo from chocolate, before I developed a preference for distinctly Reese’s peanut butter and yes, before I’d actually developed much of a candy-palate, the Nutty was my buddy. They may not have been expensive or gourmet, but I didn’t care. The Nutty Bar was sweet, crunchy, and peanut buttery. It left me with enough optimism and energy to see me through until my Mom’s end-of-day arrival – and more to spare.

Warmly anticipating my reunion with Debbie and her Nutty Bar, I opened the familiar box and withdrew a plastic packet containing two bars. Immediately, I became aware of the cynicism I’d accrued over the years. The quadruple-layered peanut butter wafers, enrobed in their barely-there layer of waxen mockolate, now appeared… cheap. Shaking the bars slightly inside their wrapper revealed tracks of “choco”-grease along the plastic. The phenomenon reminded me of dollar-store cinnamon rolls, which made the bars quite a bit less alluring.

But a single bite was all it took to offset the jaded mindset of old age. Once I crunched into those layered wafers, like a perfect Kit Kat/sugar wafer hybrid, I was four again – and happy as could be. Each wafer layer in the Nutty Bar is balanced by a layer of grainy peanut butter paste which I’m sure is more sugar than nut. But you know what? For the purpose of the bar, that particular flavor/texture combo works far more effectively than Reese’s would.

The bar’s mockolate coating tastes slightly waxy, but it doesn’t ruin the bar, considering the coating is approximately 1/100th of a millimeter thick and pretty close to tasteless. This is called a Nutty Bar for a reason – the peanut butter flavor and overall crunch-effect are what matters, not the chocolate. The bar is unsophisticated in both concept and flavor – even a super-taster would be hard-pressed to find subtle secondary notes here. That being said, it tastes darned good no matter your age – particularly if you happen to be a fan of highly-sweetened peanut butter!

As we age, we sometimes tend to eschew the simpler pleasures of youth. This is as true for favorite candies as hobbies. So next time you need a break from the stresses and pressures of modern adult life, break out the finger-paints. Play some vintage video games. Oh, and while you’re at it, call up Debbie and invite her over for a Nutty Bar – you’ll be glad you did.

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6 Responses to “Retro Candy Flashback: The Little Debbie Nutty Bar”

  1. 1
    lawrence says:

    nutty bars are incredible. I used to eat them in lunch as a youth in middle school. I miss the old school, giant sized york patties!

    Another good candy from when i was younger were warheads, anyone remember them?

  2. 2
    glucoholic says:

    Sweet memories. As a child I would spread peanut butter over the entire top of these beauties and eat them like a wafer cake with peanut butter frosting. Thank goodness I just ate lunch!

  3. 3
    brian says:

    I too would have one a day in my lunch for school pretty much all the way through high school. When i had the time and the napkins, i would prefer to eat them one layer at a time. Anyone else?

  4. 4
    Vinny C. says:

    I just finished a box of these off yesterday, and being that I’m only 13 I never experienced how they used to be, and I still love them. These and Zebra Cakes have to be some of my favorite snack foods.

  5. 5
    Gatton says:

    I LOVE these. Swiss Rolls are definitely my favorite but Nutty Bars are a close second.

    Does anyone else eat them like I do? I don’t crunch them all at once. I eat the individual wafers one at a time. It’s like eating eight thin candy bars instead of two thick ones ;-)

  6. 6
    Erin says:

    I am totally addicted to Nutty Bars. I stopped eating all candy and cookies–only Nutty Bars will do. I can easily eat 12 singles in a day. They are food for the gods.

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