Happy Easter! Or if you don't celebrate Easter, Happy Sunday. In honor of the holiday in which an anthropomorphic rabbit hides eggs to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I have compiled lists of the best and worst Easter candies. As with anything in life, your mileage may vary, and if your list differs from mine it simply means that you have awful taste. (Just kidding, mom!)
The Top Five:
5. Malted Milk Robin Eggs
My love of malted milk candies stems from my childhood, when my grandfather would open a carton of Whoppers and pass them out to my cousins and I. Every Easter, I would invariably find some speckled Robin Eggs in my basket, half hidden under green plastic grass. The malted milk flavor was the same, though the thick chocolate coating of the Whopper was replaced by a thinner layer beneath a crunchy candy shell. They came in a variety of eye-catching colors, and though there was no difference between them the turquoise blue ones were my favorite. I'm eating some now, having pocketed a few handfuls as I filled plastic Easter eggs for my nieces and nephews last night. They still hold up.
4. Popcorn Bunnies
Popcorn drenched in molasses and formed into a bunny-like shape, and an eyeball made out of a difficult-to-identify substance that may or may not be edible. Depending on your individual preference, this may be a tasty holiday treat, or the absolute nastiest Easter candy imaginable. Much like the Halloween-staple popcorn ball, I have always liked these, though Katie thinks I'm insane for it.
3. Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs
If you like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, these work on the same principle, only egg-shaped. As a child I wasn't very fond of peanut butter, but chocolate can redeem almost anything. Today, having somewhat re-developed a taste for peanut butter, I actually prefer the eggs to the cups as the peanut butter flavor is much bolder.
2. See's Rocky Road Egg
The familiar white See's Candy box was a common sight in my house growing up. Although I didn't receive See's for Easter as a child, in recent years I have grown fond of their selection of chocolate eggs, particularly the Rocky Road egg. Being a fan of Annabelle Candy's Rocky Road bar, Rocky Road ice cream, and any other combination of chocolate, marshmallow and nuts, this item's prominent spot on the list was preordained, even without the "nostalgia factor" of the other four. It's nearly ten ounces of dense chocolate goodness.
1. Cadbury Mini-Eggs
The number one spot is occupied by a lifetime favorite. Cadbury Mini-Eggs are roughly the size of peanut M&Ms, and consist of a solid chocolate center surrounded by a thin layer of candy not quite like the coating of an M&M or a Robin Egg. The whole is utterly satisfying, completely addicting, and only available at Easter. Unlike some of the other items on this list, there is no comparable candy available during the rest of the year. I considered whether my love for this selection had anything to do with the fact that it is available for such a limited time, but I discounted this theory; they're just plain delicious. The Cadbury Mini-Egg is, without a doubt, my favorite thing about Easter.
The Bottom Five:
5. Anything Palmer
"Palmer Candy Company", like "Whitman's Sampler", is code for "cheap and/or tasteless chocolate." When you want to buy an inexpensive gift for someone you don't really like, you purchase an item produced by Palmer. To drive home the point, upon telling a few friends and family members that I was planning to blog about the five worst Easter candies, every single one asked if I planned to include Palmer. Palmer Candy Company is the anti-See's.
4. Jelly Beans
I should clarify that I'm not talking about Herman Goelitz's Jelly Belly candies here. Jelly Belly candies may in fact be the food of the gods. But jelly beans are something else entirely. They're large, oblong, hard on the outside, gritty on the inside, and exactly what I imagine eating a pebble would be like. They have enjoyed their status as a traditional Easter favorite for years, though the reason eludes me.
3. Hollow Chocolate Bunnies
What a rip-off! "Hollow chocolate bunny" may be the single most disappointing phrase in the English language, beating out "called on account of rain", "time for school", "there is no Santa Claus", and "last call". Imagine that it's Easter morning, you're six years old, and there is nothing in the world that you like more than chocolate. Now imagine that a well-meaning relation hands you an eight-inch slab of chocolate. You can't wait to sink your teeth into that smooth bunny body. Then with the first bite a huge air pocket fills your mouth instead of rich, creamy milk chocolate. As a direct result, you suffer from extreme intestinal discomfort for the rest of the day. Thanks to frequent noisy gas outbursts you are sent to bed without Easter dinner, and the following morning your parents tell you that they're divorcing. Before you know it you're living in an alleyway and doing hard drugs to ease the pain of your shattered life. Did I mention that Palmer is known for producing mass quantities of hollow chocolate bunnies every Easter? It's no coincidence.
One marketing slogan touts these marshmallow candies as "always in season", though a more apropos tagline is definitely "always in poor taste." I'm all for marshmallow, but are these things really marshmallow? In the late 1990s researchers at Emory University in Atlanta attempted to dissect Peeps to find out exactly what they were. They microwaved them. They dipped them in acid. They subjected them to physical challenges too extreme for Fear Factor or Survivor. Horrifically, though the Peeps themselves took quite a licking, their little candy (?) eyeballs would simply not dissolve. Read all about it here. If you somehow enjoy these awful "treats", you're not alone. Several American cities including Sacramento, California hold an annual "Peep-Off" the week after Easter, and an Internet search yields way too many websites for aficionados of these spongy chicks/rabbits/whatever.
1. Cadbury Creme Eggs
A milk chocolate shell surrounding a yellow-and-white filling made to resemble a dead bird embryo. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I would have found this concoction disgusting even had I not disliked eggs as a child. There's a reason why I said that chocolate redeems almost anything; clearly there are certain crimes against humanity that nothing can fix. I planned on writing a more thorough entry on this monstrosity, explaining their origins - I'm guessing they were found on a distant planet and brought back to Earth by an American defense contractor for the purpose of breeding the ultimate alien soldier - but just researching these things makes my stomach turn.
Please not that none of the images in this entry are mine. I'm going to stock up on Cadbury Mini-Eggs. Happy Easter.