There's a whole generation of young, metabolizing bellies that will never know the taste of these long-lost confections.
1. PB MaxPeanut butter and chocolate compose one of the greatest food combinations the world has ever known. For some reason, however, candy companies just can't give us actual peanut butter covered in chocolate, instead of some manufactured peanut butter mixture with the texture of damp freeze-dried astronaut food.
One of the few times a company did listen was in 1990 when Mars Inc. released PB Max, a square chocolate concoction filled with creamy, gooey, wonderful peanut butter. PB Max made $50 million in its first two years, but the company still ended up pulling it from production.
According to the book The Emperors of Chocolate by Joël Glenn Brenner, the Mars family (the third wealthiest family in America) that ran the company at the time pulled it because they don't like peanut butter. They grew up in England "where peanut butter is despised" by some. Alfred Poe, a former Mars candy marketing director, told Brenner the family wouldn't allow peanut butter in their products except for a variety of M&Ms that took 10 years for the family to begrudgingly approve. Instead, they have several varieties and brands made with hazelnuts "Because [the Mars family] eat hazelnuts. It doesn't matter if Americans like peanut butter and despise hazelnuts."
2. Choco-ZabaOf course, the people who run the Annabelle Candy Co. know how much we Yanks love peanut butter and gave us the Abba-Zaba bar, a firm but yielding block of taffy with delicious peanut butter in the center. They've released several flavors of their signature product over the years and even offer a mini-version and a "Mystery Flavor."
The real mystery behind the history of this candy bar is why the Choco-Zaba is no longer a thing. The Roman Candy Co. back in my hometown of New Orleans makes a chocolate taffy that still takes me back to my childhood like the food critic at the end of Ratatouille. The company trademarked the name in 1993 and released the chocolate version of the Abba-Zaba, but it disappeared sometime after and there is hardly even a digital trace of its existence.
3. Hershey's S'MoresHershey's are a standard ingredient for s'mores, the sandwich campfire treat you make with chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallows and a pointed stick. However, they can be a pain to make if you're the type who doesn't like to go camping or isn't allowed to make a fire. Hershey's S'mores candy bar can't lose if it re-creates that unique taste combination and is easy to eat while operating heavy machinery.
The Pennsylvania chocolate company released the candy bars in 2003, but they disappeared about 10 years later. Sure, you can still buy s'mores candies from companies like Russell Stover's, but it's not in a bar form, and it feels like cheating because you still know deep in your heart that the chocolate didn't come from a Hershey's wrapper.
4. Butterfinger BB'sThe Butterfinger bar is one of the most underrated sticks of sugar available at your nearby convenience store. This chocolate concoction surrounds a bar of flaky peanut butter layers. Like most popular candies, they made a miniature version called Butterfinger BB's that were advertised by The Simpsons, since both are known for their yellow packaging. BB's had the same taste and texture of a Butterfinger bar that you could scoop into your hands and eat like jellybeans without leaving behind a pile of crumbs. Alas, they went away within the span of a couple of years.
5. Keebler Magic MiddlesAs we learned from every elementary school safety lecture that was scarier than any movie you could see around Halloween, you shouldn't accept unwrapped treats when you're trick-or-treating because children don't have enough reasons to fear humanity. That rule doesn't apply to the Keebler Magic Middles, however.
This long-lost cookie made by indentured elves in a tree was simple, which is what made it great. The Keebler Magic Middle is a cookie with a thin shell of shortbread dough surrounding a generous lump of lovely chocolate. They also sold a peanut butter flavor. There are petitions and Facebook groups dedicated to convincing the Keebler elves to bring back the Magic Middles. How could this just go away? Elves can be such snobs.
6. Twix Peanut ButterAnother simply wonderful candy that came and went came was the Twix Peanut Butter bar — again, because of the notorious peanut butter haters at Mars Inc. The Twix original flavor — with its dual mix of caramel and crunchy cookie — is beloved, but the peanut butter flavor was amazing. It was also easier to eat since peanut butter wouldn't occasionally stretch into a sticky strand, like the caramel variety, that makes you feel like you walked into high-fructose spider webbing. It didn't last long because ... well, go back and read about the PB Max's fate.
7. Starburst Hard CandyFor some reason, hard candy doesn't seem to be as popular with the 18-24 year old demographic, probably because their grandparents always pushed Werther's Originals and those medicine flavored strawberry drops on them as children.
Starburst tried to break this old-people treat into the youth market by turning its chewy, 3D rhombuses into hard candy, and it worked really well. They somehow retained the juiciness of the signature candy without being overly sweet. However, they failed to catch on and didn't even last long enough to become an expired eBay item.
8. Chiclets Tiny SizeThe tiny square gum brand that's better known for preventing bad breath from ruining social situations also tried to entice a young demographic by doing what every candy brand has done at one time or another: shrunk it down and gave it a new name.
Chiclets tiny came in bubble gum, fruit and "Hot Tots" cinnamon flavors. A great thing about the tiny pieces was that they actually gave you more control over how much you could chew at any time. You could take a little if you just felt like gnawing on something or shove a whole handful in your mouth for some supreme bubble blowing.