Food Photo ~ February 2010

Charlie Chaplins are something of a mystery. Sponge candy is a sweet, well-recognized regional oddity, something that people who leave WNY have a tough time getting their hands on. But even as an area resident, Charlie Chaplins can be hard to track down, far more scattered than the ubiquitous sponge.

Chaplins have an equally elusive provenance. An online search led me to a South Bend, Indiana candy company that has been making “Chocolate Charlie’s” for over eighty years. The trouble is, they only make them from October to December, and their ingredients and texture are different than the version so loved here in Buffalo.

Western New York’s interpretation of this old-fashioned confection is a big block of dark or milk chocolate speckled with cashews, coconut and windows of gooey marshmallow. I was able to find odd recipes in a few places on the web; some called for a low-grade chocolate, while others substituted peanuts or pecans. None of these appear to be nearly as delicious as our homegrown variety.  Today Charlie Chaplins are most easily found at The Broadway Market or at Mike’s Candy Shop.

Photo by Christa Glennie Seychew