Friday, March 10, 2006

Pearson’s Buns

I’ve ignored these bars for years. Well, they’re not really bars, they’re lumps. Maybe that’s why I avoided them, they’re just plops, like something you’d make at home.


I can’t say that I see them very often, but after the pleasant Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll experience, I thought I would give these a try. So what is a Bun? It’s a nut and milk chocolate patty filled with a white fudge/fondant (vanilla or maple) or caramel. The Bun bar was originally made by Wayne Bun Candy Company back in the 1920s, which was based, oddly enough in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Later the bar was bought by Clark of Pittsburgh (the Clark bar) but when Clark was ailing they sold the Bun rights off to Pearson’s in 1998, which only makes sense as Pearson’s was already known for their high protein Salted Nut Roll.

imageThe version that appealed to me most was the caramel, so I’ll start with it. The nuts are whole (or halves, actually) so they provide a huge boost of texture to the sweet milk chocolate. The center is a thick and soft caramel. The whole bar doesn’t smell like peanuts or caramelized sugar, instead it smells like coconut. It also has a tangy quality to it that I can’t quite put my finger on that kind of ruined the experience. It’s salty, but not quite in the right balance.

imageThe chocolate on this one was glossier and I have to say, when it’s fresh, it’s a rather handsome looking candy plop. This one has the requisite nut and chocolate smell. The vanilla center is sweet and has a nice vanilla flavor (part artificial and part natural). The peanuts keep the whole thing from being too sweet. It’s not a bar I would buy again, but I appreciate that when it first came out, as a combination bar it’s filling and interesting.

imageWhat kind of confuses me about the whole history of the Bun and Pearson’s is that they already have a candy similar to this, called the Nut Goodie. The Nut Goodie came on the market a good ten years earlier than the Bun Maple, yet Pearson’s still continues to make this regional favorite. (I’ll need to get a hold of one and do a comparison.) Anyway, this is definitely the highlight of the Bun line. The center on this is a maple fudge. It’s smooth and soft and has a microfine crystalline structure that melts quickly in the mouth and mingles well with the nuts and milk chocolate. It’s quite a bit saltier tasting than the Vanilla one, but I think that’s what makes the flavors pop. Of the three, this is the one that was consumed first.  I suspect that these are the hardest to find of the three varieties, so I can’t bump up the whole rating for the line.

If you’re looking for Pearson’s candy, look no further than their affiliate website. You have to buy in whole boxes, but their prices are excellent (less than $.65 a bar) and they offer assortments of Pearson’s and even retro candy boxes that include Rocky Road, GooGoo Clusters and Moon Pies.

(click on any photo for a bigger version)

Name: Bun Vanilla, Caramel & Maple and Roasted Peanuts
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Pearson's
Place Purchased: Baldinger's (Zelienople, PA)
Price: $.65 each
Size: 1.75 ounces
Calories per ounce: 137
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Peanuts, United States, Pearson's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:39 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. These remind me a tiny bit of Mountain bars made by Brown & Haley here in Tacoma WA. Named for Mt Ranier I assume, Mountain bars come in Cherry, peanut butter and vanilla (I think). The nuts are crushed and mixed with the chocolate coating and the inside is fondant/nougat-like and a bit chewy. Cherry is my fav which is odd b/c I’m not usually a cherry candy fan. If you haven’t ever had a Mountain bar, you should they’re good. I’d be happy to ship you some, for the good of this blog!! lol.

    Comment by Amy on 3/10/06 at 10:28 am #
  2. Cybele's avatar

    Amy - yeah, I need to get a hold of a Mountain bar! I too am not a cherry fan, but I’m usually willing to give it a try (with great success with See’s Rum Nougat).

    I think I saw them at Cost Plus World Market.

    Comment by Cybele on 3/10/06 at 1:18 pm #
  3. Well if you can’t find them let me know…I’d be happy to help out…:D They do have 3 flavors…

    Comment by Amy on 3/10/06 at 1:27 pm #
  4. I am originally from Ohio, now living the San Fernando Valley, and I constantly wax poetic about the Bun bar, especially the Maple Bun.

    I remember these as wonderful treats when I was growing up and try to grab a few when I am back in Ohio.

    Now I will have to post a link to your site so all my friends can see what I have been talking about all these years!

    Comment by Douglas E. Welch on 3/11/06 at 8:20 pm #
  5. Pearson took over the company that made the bun bars.  I wrote them and asked them the difference between the nut goodie and the bun bar.  They told me there was basically no difference.  If you write to pearson, and ask them a question or even leave a comment, they will send you a package of assorted chocolates.  I can mail you a nut goodie if you like.  My friend from MN sent me a case.

    Comment by randi on 3/11/06 at 8:30 pm #
  6. I love the maple bun, and it used to be available at grocery check-out lines and such around here, but it’s gotten really hard to find. Maybe I’ll use Randi’s tip and write a letter, asking about local availability…

    (Maple in general has gotten hard to find - for example, Brach’s no longer seems to make the chocolate-covered maple creme for their pick-a-mix. Then again, those are too sweet for me now, so perhaps it’s better this way…)

    Comment by Tricia on 3/11/06 at 10:20 pm #
  7. About a year and a half ago the person who stocked the vending machine where I was working put in a bunch of the BUN candy bars, and have been a fan of them ever since.  In fact I have been on a mission to encourage more merchants to carry these ever since.  They are absolutely the greatest, and should be back in the mainstream where they once were.  I have had some successes, but mostly with what smaller retail outlets remain.  They don’t have to go through all the corporate red tape that the chains do.  In fact I have given myself the nickname Johnny Bunbarseed.

    Comment by Brian on 8/18/06 at 2:27 am #
  8. What ever happened to Bonomo’s turkish taffee - a favorite of my east coast candy memories..

    Will it ever come back…. loved all the flavors:  vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and banana….

    The question is did you smack it on the sidewalk and eat it piece by piece or let it get a little soft and bite it off…..

    Comment by Daniela on 12/21/07 at 11:29 am #
  9. I cannot find the BUN candy bars in our town anymore. I bought the last ones Wal-Mart had and they won’t carry them anymore. They are the world’s best candy bars so I can’t imagine Wal-Mart not selling them anymore. What happened? Wal-Mart never did have the maple ones that I have always loved.

    Comment by Vicki Self on 2/01/08 at 12:27 pm #
  10. The building where Bun’s were made is still standing with a billboard on the eastern end.  Although a bit faded and chipped, it still survives every year.  Great Candy!

    Comment by Stephen L. Parker on 3/28/08 at 6:00 pm #




    Comment by MARCILE JORDAN on 10/05/09 at 3:20 pm #
  12. I love the Vanilla Bun candy.  I grew up in my folk’s drugstore so we got them fresh.  Yum. Wish I could find some in North Carolina.  The last I found was about 4 years ago when I was visiting in Indiana.  They have not changed a bit. Yum, Yum.

    Comment by Phyllis Heisler on 10/20/09 at 5:28 pm #
  13. I forgot to say that the drugstore was about 40 mile from Ft. Wayne and that is why we got them so fresh.  Guess I will have to beg some candy supplier down here to get me some.

    Comment by Phyllis Heisler on 10/20/09 at 5:32 pm #
  14. Phyllis:

    If all efforts fail, you can purchase BUN bars from  I talk to the man who runs the place a lot.  Have gotten them into a few convenience stores in my area, but for some reason the big corporate concerns are tough nuts to crack, as in most cases the individual store manager can’t make the buying decisions.  Hope this will change someday, but we have to demand it.

    Comment by Brian on 10/21/09 at 4:35 am #
  15. Actually my mom tells a story of my Great Aunt that was a candy dipper at the Wayne Candies Company in Fort Wayne, IN.  At the time they made a smaller version of the bun bar that was put into their variety boxes.  The owner wanted to make some larger “bars”.  My Great Aunt was one of the two women that were in charge of making these larger bars.  It was said that the first round of bars, that were about twice the size of what they are now, were sent back to the dippers because they were too small.  He was finally pleased when the bar ended up being about 4” in diameter!  Oh, and I think at that time it sold for a nickle.

    Comment by Becky M on 1/31/10 at 10:45 am #
  16. I am asking Walgreen to stock the Bun candy bar.  So far no reply but maybe they are working on it.  Brian, I still have not ordered any but have some QVC friends that might want some also.  I need to check on the shipping because one place wanted about $15 shipping and that would have made the box $30.  That seems high to me.  In the meantime I ordered Fannie May vanilla milk butter creams.  They will have to do till I can get my hands on a vanilla Bun.

    How many calories would be in a 4 inch bar?

    Go Colts.  Phyllis

    Comment by Phyllis Heisler on 2/06/10 at 6:57 pm #
  17. maple bun and nut goodie are exactly the same, i should know, i make them

    Comment by joe on 4/18/10 at 6:58 pm #
  18. please tell me were in fort myers florida i can get the bun candy.

    Comment by Fred Perkins on 6/01/11 at 3:30 pm #
  19. You write, “The Bun bar was originally made by Wayne Bun Candy Company back in the 1920s, which was based, oddly enough in Fort Wayne, Indiana.”

    Why do you say “oddly enough” that a business in Fort Wayne would contain the name “Wayne”?

    Incidentally, a Fort Wayne company by the name of Wayne Candies Inc. manufactured the Bun bar in the 1980s and perhaps later.

    Comment by B. Douglas on 6/14/11 at 1:36 pm #
  20. They guy who started making Bun Bars was my grandfather.  I used to work in that original building during summers in high school and college.  They used to weigh 2.5 ounces and it is possible they were 4 inches in diameter.  We could eat all we wanted in the factory, and that was a good system, because if you ate all that much, you would get sick of candy and not want any more.  The chocolate was originally from the Ambrosia Chocolate company in Milwaukee.  I used to clean the inside of the trucks by scraping the warm, thick chocolate down the sides of the stainless steel tank trailers with a squeegee.

    Comment by David on 9/08/11 at 12:59 pm #
  21. I am an American living in Australia. Just made a batch of peanut clusters and thought of how much I loved Bun Bars. I want to make some, can anyone help me with the recipe for the centers.

    Comment by Jeff Peterson on 12/29/11 at 5:21 am #
  22. I was born and raised in Fort Wayne, and have always loved the Wayne Bun candy. My favorite flavor is the vanilla, but I am glad to eat any of the flavors. I have bought them at the Fort Wayne airport several times. My grandchildren in VA & NC think they are a marvelous treat. I think “The Vermont Country Store"has something like them in their catalogue. They are definitely smaller and much more expensive now.

    Comment by Marie Terveer on 1/25/12 at 3:41 pm #
  23. I would like to place an order ,but I can not find a phone number, please.

    Comment by edddie weliver on 1/30/12 at 2:15 pm #
  24. The phone number for is 1-888-451-2848.  Have order BUN candy from them but am not employed or otherwise affiliated with them.  Hope this helps.

    Comment by Brian on 1/30/12 at 5:12 pm #
  25. I just puchased my first Pearson’s Maple Bun candy bar.  I grew up with the Wayne Bun bar and the Pearson bar is terrible!!!!  There is no maple flavor.  I won’t purchase them again!!!  YUK!!!

    Comment by Dennis Hillier on 2/28/12 at 4:04 pm #
  26. The original Wayne Candies Bun Bar recipe is now made by Key III Candies, 4211 Earth Dr., Fort Wayne, IN, 46809, 260-747-7514.  They sell by mail order and in their on-site store which often has seconds.  They say they sell in groceries in the hanging sack candy areas, tho’ I’ve never found them.  These are YUMMY! but a lot smaller than the originals.  Call them for info, but mailing in summer could result in melted product.

    Comment by Vicki Banks on 6/28/12 at 11:18 am #
  27. Vicki:  George’s international Grocery in Fort Wayne has all 3 flavors of the Bun bar.

    Comment by D. Barrick on 7/17/12 at 4:48 am #
  28. For the last couple months a friend of mine and myself have been searching for interior photos of the Wayne Candy Company. There have been countless places looked. Does anyone have a photo?

    Comment by Pamela on 12/01/12 at 10:09 am #
  29. years ago Clay Candy Co. made a small ball of chocolate w/crushed nuts & in the center was a maple filling, it was called Puff Ball. I talked to them and they said they were made by hand and could no longer do it. Then last year we found small bite size ones in a bag, they were SOOOOO good, now we can’t find them any more -it was made by a candy co. in Ft. Wayne,In. any body seen these?

    Comment by Jeanie Radman on 12/10/12 at 1:37 pm #
  30. The BUN was awesome… As a kid living in a Detroit Ghetto it was a luxury which kept me going..

    Comment by Greg Thrasher on 9/01/13 at 8:48 pm #
  31. Jeanie: Claeys Candy Inc. South Bend IN
    []  produces Old Fashioned Sugared Hard Candies, Chocolate Charlie and Old Fashioned Cream Fudge.

    I lived near South Bend in the 50s and had forgotten Puff Balls until your comment. They were very good maple flavored treats.

    Comment by Randall Riddle on 10/28/13 at 12:25 am #
  32. Wayne Candies was my grandfather’s company.  It was owned by the family, mostly, until we sold it in 1965 or so to W. R. Grace company.  It has since been sold many times to the point it is now owned by Pearsons.  My grandfather was a bit of a health nut, but he made room in his mind for thinking high quality candy was healthy (the man would not eat catsup, mustard, or drink caffeinated coffee.  He valued high quality chocolate made by special recipe by the Ambrosia Chocolate company in Milwaukee.  My brothers and I used to work in the factory in the summer time.  They and I all occasionally would have the job of using a squeegee to wipe down the melted chocolate from the inside of large tank trucks brining in the chocolate from Milwaukee, in supposedly sterile overalls.  I am happy I can still find Bun Bars in local specialty candy stores.

    Comment by David on 12/13/13 at 12:16 pm #
  33. Loved Wayne Candy Company.  I am from Portland, IN and we used to get the peanut clusters with either vanilla or maple filling at the dime store by the pound.  They were smaller than a Bun Bar, almost bite sized.  Well, two bites sized.  And they were FRESH!!  The were delivered once a week to the store.  I remember them from the 40’s and 50’s, then I moved away.

    Comment by Janet on 7/25/14 at 10:09 am #
  34. 10/14/2015
    I’d just like an update. Are Buns sold in the Warsaw, Indiana area? M. Baney

    Comment by M. Baney on 10/14/15 at 6:47 am #
  35. Does anyone know where these bars can be purchased in Ontario, Canada? When did they change from Spanish peanuts to the Virginia kind? Thank you, Ed Looney.

    Comment by Ed Looney on 11/21/15 at 12:30 pm #
  36. Ed, if you are in the part of Ontario near Fort Erie and ever cross the bridge into Buffalo, Cy’s Elma Pharmacy in Elma NY, a suburb of Buffalo, carries Buns in all three flavors.

    Comment by Bunman on 12/27/15 at 3:49 am #
  37. The True Value Store in Estes Park has BUN candies, but it is hit and miss.  The reason is that people hoard them when the shipment comes in.  It is such a treat to find them, sort of a yippie for the day.  I have been known to drive into Rocky Mountain National Park just to savor the goodness among all of nature’s glories.  Being from Fort Wayne, Indiana, the home of the BUN, it is a culinary memory tripled by a Rocky Mountain high.

    Comment by marie steinbrecher on 5/01/16 at 4:40 pm #
  38. Bun bars by Pearson are available all over Fort Wayne .these things taste NOTHING like the originals these are cheap chocolate with tasteless fillings.bun bars by Wayne were a real treat these definitely ARE NOT! Yuck

    Comment by Joyce Holmes on 6/26/17 at 6:47 pm #
  39. Too bad, my grandfather who started the company was really in to high quality ingredients.  Sad to see the decline.

    Comment by David Congdon on 6/27/17 at 5:26 am #
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