Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Old Dominion Peanut Bar

Old Dominion Peanut BarNut brittle has to be one of the simplest and heartiest candies. It’s just a boiled mixture of corn syrup and sugar binding some nuts together. I’m rather keen on nut brittles, but they’re often difficult to eat and portion. A bar format solves most of that.

The Old Dominion Peanut Bar keeps it simple. There are only four ingredients: Peanuts, Sugar, Corn Syrup and Salt. That’s it, no preservatives ... not even any butter or cream, so it’s good for vegans. It’s a huge bar as well, 2.25 ounces for only 80 cents or so. Since it’s mostly peanuts there’s a lot of protein in there - 10 grams. Of course nuts also come with some fat, 8 grams in this case, but the sugar is actually pretty low for candy coming in at 20 grams ... and while we’re at it, 4 grams of fiber.

Old Dominion Peanut Bar

Technically I don’t consider this bar to be a brittle. A nut brittle has a little baking soda in it that makes the candy part bubble a little bit to create a foamy texture, easy crunch and lightly salty flavor. It’s different from a toffee coated nut as well, as toffee uses milk, butter and/or cream. So this is just a hard candy - a boiled sugar mixture that hardens and holds the nuts together while adding a sweet toasted sugar flavor.

Old Dominion Peanut Bar

As I’ve already mentioned, it’s dead simple. So the slab doesn’t necessarily look all that appealing. Unless you love peanuts. Then you’ll not only love the glossy abundance, but the wonderful fresh roasted scent.

The peanuts are also big. The crunch is very nutty, but the sugary coating has a nice toasted and salty flavor of its own. The fatty peanuts give it all a bit of a creamy toffee note even though there’s no dairy in there. The light color of the candy and nuts is a little deceptive, I though it’d be rather flavorless, but it’s quite deep. There’s a mix of the roasted notes of the peanuts which is sometimes grassy and sometimes quite dark like coffee. The bar is very filling. I honestly thought half of it was plenty for a little pick me up. While it tastes rather salty, it’s only 157 mg for the whole bar.

Old Dominion Peanut Bar and Planters Peanut BarThere are a few brands of these bars, the nationally distributed and easiest to find brands are the Mars Munch Bar (which has butter in it) and the Planters Peanut Bar. Since I found the Planters bar first, I thought I’d compare.

The Planters bar is 1.6 ounces and the same price at the Rite Aid. They’re distributed by Kraft, which now owns Planters nuts. The ingredients are a little more complex for a product where you get less: Peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, salt, peanut oil, TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness.

Old Dominion Peanut Bar and Planters Peanut Bar

Aside from the size difference, they looked rather similar. The Planters bar had a bit more of a honey tone to the candy portion.

The taste of the Planters bar was a little more roasted and didn’t seem as fresh and crunchy as the Old Dominion. But it also had some darker toasted and charcoal notes that some folks might prefer.

The size difference and the fact that the Old Dominion doesn’t need any preservatives has me on their side for this one. The salt was more forward in the flavor profile, even though the salt concentration was similar. But in a pinch, I’d buy the Planters again.

These sort of nut bars are an excellent summer candy, they do well in the heat but still provide a powerful and satisfying mix of nuts with a sugary crunch and just the right hint of salt. They’re easy to carry around and even break up to share. They, however, don’t fare as well in damp conditions like high humidity unless consumed immediately.

So far I’ve been very pleased with the Old Dominion products I’ve been getting at the drug store. Very fresh and the fact that there are so few ingredients is actually refreshing.

Related Candies

  1. Blue Ribbon Neapolitan Coconut Bar
  2. Green & Black’s Peanut Milk Chocolate
  3. Old Dominion Brittle
  4. Planters Peanut Bar Original
  5. Munch Bar
  6. See’s Peanut Brittle Bar

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:53 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     All NaturalCandyHard Candy & LollipopsKosherPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesRite Aid

  1. In the Granola section of the grocery store, you might find the Nature Valley “Roasted Nut Crunch” bars. They end up being around 50-60 cents each at the prices here.  These are also pretty solid ingredients: Roasted Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Yellow Corn Flour, Salt, Corn Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Color Added. Tocopherol added to retain freshness.

    As you can see from the ingredients, they add sunflower seeds, which is a nice addition. The bars are 1.2 oz each, so they are smaller than either of the two that you mention, but I have a hard time finding either the Planters or Munch bars anymore. I find this to be a pleasant alternative. I buy them from Amazon in bulk and use them at work for a snack (or even sometimes for lunch). With the protein in there, they are filling.

    Comment by Jim Kosmicki on 6/29/10 at 7:52 pm #
  2. Whenever I see a candy bar like this I have visions of damaged teeth and expensive dental work!

    Comment by Pam on 6/30/10 at 7:12 am #
  3. Old Dominion makes pretty good peanut brittle too. I usually buy some at Walgreen’s around the Holidays.

    Comment by Mark D. (sugarpressure) on 6/30/10 at 11:07 am #
  4. With this review in mind I grabbed a bunch of Old Dominion peanut bars at Walgreens today. I probably would never have even noticed them, let alone tried them, without your appealing photos and your review. They’re a new favorite and I think they’ll be an excellent, more-nutritious treat to break up and include in my kids’ lunches for a sweet bite.

    Pam—the candy is crisp and crunchy but I didn’t find it particularly hard on my teeth. It sticks in my molars less than true toffees like Almond Roca. I think part of this is the high peanut density—there just really isn’t a lot of solid candy to wreak dental havoc, at least for me.

    Comment by kristinc on 9/04/10 at 12:50 am #
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