American Classics: Candy Bar Salad

American Classics

Lost classic desserts from our wide and varied past.


[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

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With Halloween just around the corner, many of you may be just days away from a major candy glut. Perhaps your kids will bring home a prodigious haul. Or maybe you'll stock up on fun size bars for trick-or-treaters that never show. If you find yourself with extra candy on hand what can you do? How about put it in a salad...

On a recent trip to Utah, I asked some Utahn's about their favorite regional sweets. Besides Frog's Eye Salad and Fried Scones, the other dessert that kept coming up in conversation was Candy Bar Salad. Yes, this is a "salad" that's made of candy bars. And it's not a new thing. Candy Bar Salad has been around in some form since at least the 1920s!

A 1926 Ladies Home Journal advertorial for Oh Henry! candy expounds on the incredible ways "women were using Oh Henry! in recipes" saying in one month alone they received over 2,000 recipes and "new ways of using this famous candy's rich individuality to make things taste better!" In the ad they printed Miss Daisy P. Rudd's recipe for fruit salad with Oh Henry! bars, which consisted of skinned Malaga grapes, diced oranges, diced pineapple, a shaved Oh Henry! bar, 1/2 cup whipped cream, and 1/2 cup mayonnaise served over a bed of lettuce. Hmmm...that's certainly an interesting way to use candy bars.

Fortunately for me (and you!) the modern interpretation of Candy Bar Salad is a bit more like a deconstructed caramel apple and if you make it my way, I'd venture to say it's really, really quite good. The majority of the Candy Bar Salad recipes that I came across involved chopped apples, Cool Whip, instant vanilla pudding, caramel, and Snickers pieces. I'm not a fan of suspending things in Cool Whip (or really eating them with Cool Whip, at all), so I set about adapting the recipe and pared it down to the basics: tart Granny Smith apple slices, Snickers pieces, caramel drizzle, and homemade whipped cream—no lettuce leaves required!

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Got a favorite classic American dessert recipe you'd like to see featured here? Email us with the subject: "American Classics."