In praise of the circus peanut

I'm probably the odd one out here, but I truly, unironically, love a good circus peanut. I love the flavor (weirdly, it tastes way more like a banana than a peanut), and there's something about that soft-but-dense texture that appeals to me. Tasting Table provides some history of the polarizing candy:

Founded in 1906, Spangler Candy still produces circus peanuts and claims to be one of the largest makers of the treat in the United States. Once only available in banana flavor and seasonally, Spangler Candy creates its circus peanuts in vanilla, cherry, and banana flavors year-round. But perhaps surprisingly, not one variety is a peanut flavor, but that's how it is across the candy-making industry. The recipes followed by candy makers for circus peanuts are largely the same between companies and require a combination of sugar, gelatin, corn syrup, food flavoring, and a coloring additive. 

You can go ahead and hate on circus peanuts all you want, but if you like Lucky Charms, then you need to say a little 'thank you' to the reviled circus peanut, because they helped inspire the final marshmallow-rich cereal treat. According to The Takeout:

The cereal debuted in 1964 to much fanfare. It was one of the most expensive ad campaigns of the era, featuring animated TV commercials and full-color ads in Sunday comics and comic books. As product developer John Holahan was brainstorming the new breakfast cereal, he used Cheerios as the base to form his ideas, then chopped up some circus peanuts and tossed those in too. The prototype eventually became the magically delicious product we know today.

It's been years since I ate a circus peanut, but I'd gladly indulge again, if given the chance. I draw the line at recipes like this one for circus peanut jello salad, though. Even those of us who like circus peanuts have some dignity left (I think).

Read more about the history of circus peanuts here and Lucky Charms here.