by Guideposts Staff
Nothing reminds us of our growing-up days quite like food—specifically, candy. From sweet chewy treats to chocolate-covered favorites, these old-fashioned candies bring a sense of innocence and wonder with them. They’re also unequivocally delicious. We decided to look back on the most popular treats over the decades. Did your favorite classic candy make the cut?
This milk-chocolate covered candy with a vanilla-flavored nougat isn’t named after a city, but a dance. The popular chewy bar, invented in 1922, took inspiration for its name from The Charleston, a popular swing-style dance at the time. Over the years, the candy has added new flavors to its signature gooey center, but we think the original still gets top marks.
This beloved taffy bar is another invention of the 1920s. What set the Abba-Zaba apart wasn’t just its silky-smooth white-taffy exterior and creamy peanut butter center, but its iconic packaging meant to mimic the look of an NYC taxi.
Necco Wafers have been around a long time—like Civil War Era long. They were invented by an immigrant in Boston, delivered to troops during World War II, and they’re making a comeback this year. Sugary-sweet, light and crisp, a roll of wafers includes seven signature flavors—lemon, orange, clove, cinnamon, chocolate, wintergreen and licorice. Good luck choosing a favorite.
The flavor of Bazooka Bubble Gum is fairly standard, but it's the packaging of these World War II-inspired chewables that makes them iconic. They were wrapped in a comic strip depicting an original character named Bazooka Joe. Depending on what country you live in, the strips could be written in French, Spanish or Hebrew.
You can thank Willy Wonka for these sweet tablet candies, who earn their name thanks to their recognizable look; they’re purposefully shaped to resemble metal bottle caps. They come in a variety of flavors like grape, cola, orange, root beer, and cherry—and each one is delicious.
“First it’s a candy, then it’s a gum.” The jingle for this sugary treat is almost as popular as the candy itself. Invented in the 60s, Razzles are a candy that changes into gum as you chew. The first flavor introduced was raspberry, which is where the name of the treat comes from, though plenty more flavors have been created over the years.
These small, candy-covered, chocolate-malt flavored balls are believed to have been invented in the 60s and named thanks to their relatively affordable price; it’s said you could get six for a penny in gum-ball like machines back in the day. Now, they’re packaged in long cellophane tubes with special colors, depending on the holidays. But don’t worry, they still have that same great taste.
The name of this chocolate bar is so unusual, even its inventors like to make fun of it. Zagnut bars first appeared in the 1930s and were coconut-covered chocolate pieces with a peanut butter center. The “nut” in the name likely comes from the distinct flavoring, while “Zag” might be a reference to a popular slang of the 30s.
This humorously-named candy creation also has notes of peanut butter and coconut plus a signature orange-flavored syrup that gives it its bright coloring. It’s one of the few purely vegan candies to have been invented in the 50s, and it became popular thanks to its name and the fact it looks like a crispy chicken leg.
Mallo Cups resemble their more famous cousins, the Reese’s Cups, but instead of a peanut butter center, the chocolate-covered cup is filled with whipped marshmallow and sprinkled with coconut.
Technically, these wax-covered soda bottles are more of a liquid than hard candy, but they’re still a beloved childhood favorite. They derive their name from how you eat them—nipping the top off the bottle, drinking the fruity-flavored liquid inside, then chewing the gum-like leftovers—and their original cost. You could once get them for just a nickel.
This fun, fizzling candy revolutionized the candy industry when it was first introduced in the 80s. Made from sugar, lactose and flavorings, pop rocks earned their name thanks to a scientific method of heating water and sugar before cooling and pressurizing it with carbon dioxide. Those little gas bubbles get trapped into the candy rocks and when they’re released, they have the iconic “popping” effect.
You can thank the Brits for this classic caramel-filled cone-shaped candy. It’s named for its recognizable shape and as beloved as it is here in the states, it’s even more adored in England.
The Sugar Daddy is a fairly straightforward confectionary treat. It’s simply a block of moderately-hard caramel on a stick, but that doesn't take away from how delicious (and easy to eat) it is.
This taffy-like candy bar comes in a variety of flavors—strawberry, banana, chocolate, and vanilla—and was created by an Austrian immigrant in 1912. Despite its name, it’s not really a taffy, more like a chewy nougat. It also didn’t originate in Turkey. But it was one of the first candies to be advertised on TV.