Tonight I’m gonna open a pack of Planters P.B. Crisps from 1993.
That’s the short version of the story, at least. Now the longer one must be told.
Google around, and you’ll find a seemingly limitless number of pleas for Planters to bring them back. P.B. Crisps were an immediate success upon their debut, but for whatever reason, their reign only lasted a few years. By 1995, the snacks were discontinued, leaving us only with the bittersweet memories of their unique brand of deliciousness.
(Sorry, Nutter Butters. P.B. Crisps you ain’t.)
Poring over the many sites paying aggravated tributes to P.B. Crisps, I couldn’t find a single one that had a really-real photo of them. I’m here to fix that.
Shown above is an honest-to-goodness package of them, from 1993. As much as it pains me to break the seal on any of my irreplaceable lovelies, I feel that this is my pathetic destiny. In a past life, I was a literal sad trombone.
The simplest explanation is that P.B. Crisps were peanut-shaped cookies that trapped beds of peanut butter cream inside. Of course, the simplest explanations often say too little. In a case like this, only several bloated paragraphs could possibly get across just how perfect these were.
Before I write them, I guess it’s time to open the bag.
The first thing that hit me was the smell. I knew better than to try eating 20+ year old junk food, but no matter what invisible poisons waited in the sugary grub, the smell was unaffected.
Holy shit, guys. It’s like you made an igloo out of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, hid inside and blocked the entrance. I’m only now remembering one of the biggest selling points of P.B. Crisps: The smell practically got you high.
And there they are! Planters’ P.B. Crisps, in all of their beigish glory. Each piece is only a little smaller than an actual peanut. They may not look like much, but my God did they taste incredible.
The peanut-shaped cookie shells were sugary but subtle, with a consistency not unlike reinforced Nabisco Sugar Wafers. The hidden cream — which granted doesn’t look so hot after 20+ years — had the robustness of real peanut butter, but with enough sweeteners to make it pass as outright candy.
I mentioned Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups earlier. If you stole the peanut butter from those and mushed it into a pile of crushed Chex, you’d be somewhere in the ballpark of P.B. Crisps. Even so, you’d still be missing the best part: That one-of-a-kind crunch.
Every bite made you feel like you were hitting a cartoon button that demolished buildings. You’d find yourself putting extraordinary care into your bites, because junk food that crunched so dramatically deserved pitch-perfect jaw-closing velocity.
Now, as good as P.B. Crisps were, I don’t think that fully explains why people are so hot for their return. Since the snacks were only available for a small stretch of years, they’re very easily associable with that small stretch of years. If you ate these, you can’t look at them without remembering the early ‘90s. And not in that generalized “whole decade washes into an indiscernible tapestry” sort of way, either.
They are so firmly linked to their time that writing 500 words about them has me pining to go watch the Undertaker slay Damien Demento on the first episode of Monday Night Raw. P.B. Crisps are Doc Martens and spiky haircuts and Jerry Springer and Beanie Babies, rolled into the form of phony peanuts.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Planters brought them back. Between Surge and French Toast Crunch’s successful returns, it’s not like there isn’t a proven track record for this sort of thing.
But if they don’t, hey, at least you got to see photos of them again.
Don’t act like it didn’t make you happy.