After three years of research, the first filled candy bar was created. The Milky Way chocolate bar debuted in 1923. It was inspired by the popular chocolate-malt milkshakes of the time. In fact, the first advertising slogan for the Milky Way was, “A Chocolate Malted Milk in a Candy Bar.”
Malted milk was first introduced as infant formula in the late 19th century. It was prized for its yummy taste and reputed health benefits. Malted milk was soon a key ingredient in the malted milkshake. The earliest advertisements for Milky Ways claimed that the candy had “more malted milk content than a soda fountain double malted milk!”
In 1926, the Milky Way candy bar was introduced in chocolate and vanilla flavors- each sold for five cents. In 1932, the Milky Way bar was sold as a two piece bar, but were separated indefinitely in 1936.
The vanilla Milky Way bar, covered in dark chocolate as opposed to milk chocolate, was renamed the Forever Yours candy bar. Forever Yours was discontinued in 1979. It was back by popular demand in 1989 and renamed the Milky Way Dark bar. Today, you may recognize this candy by the name given in 2000, which is the Milky Way Midnight bar.
The mass production of the Milky Way was originally made possible due to the fact that the candy was first filled with mostly nougat. Nougat is made just from eggs, sugar, and air, which is helpful in keeping costs low. As the years went by, more and more caramel was added to the Milky Way. Today, the Milky Way has a thick, gooey, stringy caramel filling. This is the very ingredient that makes it one of the most famous candy bars in America!
Growing up, my very favorite Halloween candy was always the Milky Way or the Milky Way Midnight candy bar. I would always separate those from the huge mass of Halloween candy I acquired with my friends. After going through the candy collected during the last couple hours, they’d be gone within the first hour of arriving back at home.
Midnight Milky Ways will always be the first thing I reach for when I decide to treat myself to a candy bar. The contrast between the sweet caramel and the bitter dark chocolate is simply irresistible.
Fun Fact: Theoretically, a Milky Way is a Snickers without peanuts, a Milky Way without caramel is a Three Musketeers, and a Three Musketeers without a nougat is a Hershey’s chocolate bar!