Candy Land

Candy bars escape the vending machines

Thanks to some of the region's best pastry chefs, the flavors of old-school candy bars have leaped out of the cellophane and onto diners' plates.

Here, some of our favorite vending-machine reconsiderations:

Birch & Barley Pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac has created a veritable candy shop with her creative bars. She started with a cashew-packed update to the Snickers bar, and recently added the coconut-based Pecan Joy as part of her cookie plate ($8.50). MacIsaac's newest creation, a peppermint patty (pictured), appears with her other reinventions as a petit four in this month's four-course dessert tasting ($15). Note: The patty (click here to download the recipe) is also available on a fudgy brownie ($3.75) at Buzz.

Bourbon Steak With praline caramel and Marcona almonds, this steakhouse's coconut bar ($11) is like the enhanced edition of an Almond Joy. Robed in milk chocolate to resemble the original, it also gets a cool, sweet boost from a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream.

Citronelle Though other interpretations have appeared across town, nobody has matched the original Michel's Chocolate Bar ($10) from the ever-whimsical Michel Richard. His loose adaptation of the Kit Kat blankets a base of chocolate-hazelnut praline and crispy crêpes with silky chocolate mousse for a sweet, crunchy finish.

Editor's note: Citronelle has closed.