As a kid, I always loved to visit the lumberyard with Dad because once the boards were tied to the top of the car, we’d head over to the general store for penny candy. I’d always head first to the stop wood barrel of licorice laces: I always picked red, of course.
That lumberyard has been converted "shoppes" and these days, licorice laces are wrapped in plastic for the germophobes, if you can find laces at all. My favorite licorice flavor, however, is the same: red! In the absence of laces, these days I choose Twizzlers Pull 'n' Peel (cherry, of course).
Twizzlers were originally developed by Y&S (Young and Smylie), though they’re a member of the Hershey family of candies. Hersheys introduced Pull 'n' Peel licorice in 1994, juste 149 years after Y&S started making licorice and 17 years after Hershey bought the brand. They're available in four flavors -- Cherry, Watermelon, Berry, and Paradise Punch -- though not black licorice (who cares, I say)
Pull 'n' Peel is different from Twizzlers Twists, the company’s ordinary variety, because instead of being a single hollow tube of candy, this version is braided like rope. As long as the candy is fresh and fairly warm, you can peel off individual strands the diameter of a pencil lead and eat them individually. They're kind of like miniature licorice laces.
How' does this work? It’s a trade secret, but if you compare the ingredients to those of the standard Twists, you'll find that Pull 'n' Peel shares most of the ingredients (corn syrup, flour, palm oil, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives); but they also contain a little glycerin and corn starch. Nutrition-wise, they're about the same as Twists: 1g fat per 45-gram serving, 100mg of sodium, and 36g of carbs for each two-twizzle serving. A one-pound package contains about 10 servings – that’s1600 calories – a whole gram of sodium, and more than 10 grams of fat. Like most candies, they’re not very healthy... The Pull 'n' peel variety is also a little more expensive.
Unhealthy or not, I'll keep on eating Twizzlers Pull 'n' Peel. They're closer in taste and texture to the licorice laces I loved as a child, and they're almost as much fun to play with as they are to eat!