Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Head to Head: Clark, Butterfinger & 5th Avenue

Yesterday I reviewed the new Necco Clark Bar with real milk chocolate and the Necco Clark Dark Bar with real dark chocolate. At the time I also purchased and compared the two other nationally available chocolatey peanut butter crunch bars: Nestle Butterfinger and Hershey’s 5th Avenue.

The Peanut Crunch Bars: 5th Avenue, Butterfinger & Clark

The bars are all roughly the same size and barring any sales, the same price. All are nationally available, and though Clark used to be hard to find, all of the bars here were purchased at RiteAid, a national drug store chain. Honestly, there are probably two main reasons to chose one over the other: flavor preference and ingredients.

The Peanut Crunch Bars: 5th Avenue, Butterfinger & Clark (Milk & Dark)
cross sections from left to right: Butterfinger, Clark, Clark Dark, 5th Avenue

The ingredients and concepts are very similar. A crunchy layered peanut butter crunch log is enrobed with chocolate or mockolate.

Necco Clark Bar (introduced by D.L. Clark in 1916-1917)
Real Milk Chocolate |  Real Peanut Butter Crunch

The Clark Bar - All Natural (Milk Chocolate)

Sugar, corn syrup, ground roasted peanuts, milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, whole milk powder, soy lecithin, vanilla extract), molasses, corn flour, invert sugar, coconut oil, salt, natural flavors. Kosher 2.1 ounces

Noticeable molasses flavor, fresh roasted nuts but not overly salty. The texture varies from bar to bar, some are more hard-candy-like and others have a more crumbly layering with stronger peanut butter notes.

Nestle Butterfinger (introduced by Curtiss in 1923)
Crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery

Nestle Butterfinger

Corn syrup, sugar, ground roasted peanuts, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, cocoa, molasses and less than 1% of whey, confectioner’s corn flakes, nonfat milk, lactic acid esters, soy lecithin, soybean oil, cornstarch, artificial flavors, TBHQ and citric acid, yellow #5, red #40. Kosher 2.1 ounces

The center, when compared to the others, is obviously artificially colored. The scent of the bar is overtly “buttery” but without any real source. The coating is chalky looking and matte, without any ripples or variations. The crunch of the center is dense, though there are layers it’s a tightly wrapped bar. This gives it a density and satisfying weight. The mockolate coating is dreadful and the worst part of the bar. Salty and butter-flavored center has a good peanut butter flavor that at least covers the watery cocoa flavors of the outside.

Hershey’s 5th Avenue (introduced by Luden’s in 1936)
Crunchy Peanut Butter in Rich Chocolatey Coating

Hershey's 5th Avenue

Sugar, peanuts, corn syrup, vegetable oil (cocoa butter, palm kernel oil, palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil), molasses, chocolate, contains2% or less of nonfat milk, cocoa, whey, lactose, milk fat, salt, soy lecithin, milk, PGPR, artificial flavor, TBHQ. Kosher 2.0 ounces

In earlier versions of the bar it was real milk chocolate and there were several almonds on top of the peanut butter center under the chocolate coating. The change over to a high-quality mockolate was about 4 years ago. The center of the 5th Avenue is by far the one I prefer. It’s like a bundle of spiky peanut butter crunch needles. They melt in your mouth with a burst of molasses, peanut butter and salty flavors. The mockolate is actually pretty good, though often very soft and pasty. The chocolate flavor of it is well rounded and the texture, though fudgy, is smooth.

If it were still in its original formulation, the 5th Avenue might still be the #1 bar for me. But given Clark’s new all natural and real ingredients, I have to go with the Clark Bar Dark and then the Clark Bar. Butterfinger comes in a distant #3 (or #4 if we’re using both Clark bars).

Related Candies

  1. Butterfinger Buzz (Caffeinated)
  2. Reese’s Crispy Crunchy Bar
  3. Zagnut
  4. Short & Sweet: Butterfinger Jingles and Mint Miniatures
  5. Clark Bar
  6. Chick-o-Stick
  7. Head-to-Head: Butterfinger vs. 5th Avenue

Name: Clark Bar
Brand: Necco
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $.50 (on sale)
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 129
Categories: All Natural, Necco, Chocolate, Kosher, Peanuts, 8-Tasty, United States, Rite Aid

Name: Butterfinger
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: RiteAid (Echo Park)
Price: $.89
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 129
Categories: Nestle, Kosher, Mockolate, Peanuts, 5-Pleasant, United States, Rite Aid

Name: 5th Avenue
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $.50 (on sale)
Size: 2.0 ounces
Calories per ounce: 130
Categories: Hershey's, Kosher, Mockolate, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:55 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     All NaturalCandyReviewHershey'sNeccoNestleChocolateKosherMockolatePeanuts5-Pleasant7-Worth It8-TastyUnited StatesHead to HeadRite Aid

  1. Nice taste off! I’ll look for that dark Clark Bar. The line up makes me think about the whole issue of “candy bar diversity,” here we have three candy bars but really three versions of one candy bar idea. That Butterfinger is a funny one, it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I realized it was PEANUT butter they were talking about. I wonder why the peanut part was kept so under wraps, as it were?

    Comment by Candy Professor on 4/20/10 at 1:50 pm #
  2. You know, it’s funny. I did a side by side of the 5th Ave & Butterfinger and I far prefer the Butterfinger. And I really don’t even notice the mockolate, I think because it’s so thin of a layer, it gets lost in the crispy layers. At least for me.

    Comment by Callie on 4/20/10 at 3:16 pm #
  3. I love the head-to-head reviews!

    Comment by Hanna on 4/21/10 at 3:42 pm #
  4. Clark Bar for the WIN! I’m so glad there are still candy bars that aren’t cutting corners with their chocolate and other ingredients.

    Comment by Kimberly on 4/21/10 at 3:43 pm #
  5. WHERE ARE BUTTERFINGER BB’S??? What happened to them?!?!?

    Comment by L on 4/26/10 at 12:53 am #
  6. Came across this blog for the first time and was attracted to this post about peanut crunch bars and just had to share one I think is absolutely AMAZING. Redstone Candies from PA (http://www.redstonecandies.com/) has one they call Peanut Butter logs and there’s just something about the chocolate that makes it so delicious. I definitely recommend you should try them at least once if you like Butterfinger bars and the like.

    Comment by Leilani on 5/02/10 at 10:52 pm #
  7. i have a soft spot for butterfingers. i grew up munching on them.

    Comment by bagnatic on 5/03/10 at 12:50 am #
  8. I just compared the BF and the 5TH Ave and I’d rather plead the 5th, as it were.  I’m not much of a fan of “wafer” bars so I’ve avoided the BF for a long time.  The BF lacks crunch & reminds me of a wafer bar.  It’s filling is not well defined.

    Once I tried took the 5th, I had to do a side-by-side comparison.  You’re absolutely right about the burst of flavor.  The filling is firmer and the chocolate coating on the 5th even looks better.  Now, where can I find a Clark bar?

    Comment by Ephraimh on 10/20/10 at 4:39 pm #
  9. They changed the Clark bar recipe (along with the wrapper) about a year ago. It is AWFUL! They ruined it. The wonderful molasses and peanut flavor is gone. It now tastes sugary and watered down. Won’t buy it again—it’s simply not a Clark bar anymore. I wrote the company (Necco) twice to complain but they seemed unconcerned and unapologetic.

    I’ve loved the Clark bar since I was a kid, but it was hard to find. Now I see it all over the place—with the horrible new recipe.

    Anyone else out there hate the new “Get real” Clark bar?

    Comment by umley on 8/22/12 at 9:04 am #
  10. i like butterfinger

    Comment by shelby on 4/20/13 at 9:40 pm #
  11. I disagree with this review by a LONG shot…  But hey, you can’t go by someone else’s tastes, you have to taste them all on your own pick what YOU like best, not what someone else likes.  Bottom line, don’t EVER base YOUR opinion on someone else’s opinion.  This review SUCKS ASS!!

    Comment by Nico on 11/18/13 at 6:31 pm #
  12. Comment by Leilani is awesome!  I had those “Peanut Butter Logs” at a candy store that isn’t around any more and they were my absolute favorite.

    Comment by Nico on 11/18/13 at 6:34 pm #
  13. I agree with Umley, the Clark bar is now dreadful. NECCO appears to think more sugar is always better. 5th Avenue has better texture and more flavor.

    Comment by Roland on 9/11/15 at 3:30 pm #
  14. I enjoy all three….Of course Butterfinger, which I had at a gas station today, is the uusal one…5th Avenue IS believe it or NOT widely available at these US drug stores
    (don’t know if WalGreens stocks them but since the others do, WalGreens obviously should too)

    Clark is at Big! Lots (the former Pc ‘n’Save), which also has stuff like Circus Peanuts (both Melsters and Spanglers sold as “Queen City”), Pearsons Salted Nut roll both regular and peanut butter (I prefer these WAY over PayDay), and various Necco candies like the aofrementioned Clark, and Necco Chocolate Wafers (one time,away) and SkyBar.

    Comment by SJCarras on 3/07/16 at 9:47 pm #
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