Mallomars – Tracy Caruso’s Favorite Childhood Cookie
In the days long before anyone worried about possibly getting sick simply by going outside, I moved to Florida, got married, and excitedly shopped for my new family, eager to share some food I grew up with in New York City. One day, I brought home a box of Mallomars from Publix, only to receive blank stares from my woefully non-New York, Goyishe (not Jewish) family, who all said, what the heck is this?
Growing up in New York, a popular winter comfort food treat was a cookie called a Mallomar, a graham cookie topped with a marshmallow puff and smothered in dark chocolate. They were typically enjoyed as a treat during the fall and winter, and I’ve always loved them. Because they were sold in supermarkets and everyone I knew ate them, I assumed that Mallomars were a ubiquitous snack everyone knew about, like Oreos.
I couldn’t believe it when I learned these people didn’t care about my favorite snack. They were treating it like chopped liver. My existence was so sheltered that I had no idea that Mallomars weren’t a thing for the world. They’re a New York thing, therefore sophisticated and better in my snooty native New Yorker mind, and now I knew plebes had never seen them.
Mallomars are genuinely delicious. They’re outstanding when you dunk them in a cup of coffee. Here’s everything you need to know about these heavenly puffs, and the best part is you can buy them in any Publix, at least in the state of Florida, serve them to your friends, and make like you’re superior because of your knowledge of this iconic dessert.
The history of Mallomars dates back to 1913 when they were first created and produced by the National Biscuit Company (now known as Nabisco). Mallomars were initially introduced as a seasonal cookie, traditionally available only from October to March, due to the challenges of keeping the chocolate coating from melting in warmer weather.
My friend Chris Mitchell also grew up eating Mallomars in New York City. He was outraged when he heard about my Mallomar coffee dunking because of a long-standing debate about whether or not it’s better to freeze Mallomars or leave them at room temperature.
Mallomars are to be kept in the freezer at all times. The parents are supposed to dole out the frozen treats sparingly, just one at a time, due to seasonal rarity, even though you can get them year-round now. They are special. They taste much better frozen. Keeping Mallomars out on the counter is blasphemous. I can’t believe I’m friends with a Mallomar coffee dunker. ~Mallomar Connoisseur Chris Mitchell
The name “Mallomars” is believed to be a combination of the words “mallow,” referring to the marshmallow component, and “mars,” which was a popular prefix for food products during that era.
Mallomars gained popularity over the years and became a beloved treat. The unique combination of a crisp graham cracker, fluffy marshmallow, and rich chocolate coating appealed to many consumers. The production process of Mallomars involves allowing the marshmallow to set and then enrobing the cookie in chocolate, resulting in a distinctive texture and taste.
Although initially marketed as a seasonal cookie, Mallomars are now available year-round in most areas. However, they are still associated with the colder months and are often considered a nostalgic treat.
Mallomars have continued to be produced by Nabisco and remain a cherished cookie for many people, particularly in the United States.
Mallomars are often thought of as a Jewish dessert. I researched Mallomars to find out more, and according to ChatGPT,
The perception that Jewish people and New Yorkers have a stronger association with Mallomars than others is primarily due to the historical and cultural factors surrounding the cookie’s availability and popularity.
While Mallomars have expanded their availability and are now more widely distributed, the historical connection to Jewish holidays and their popularity in New York City has perpetuated the perception that these groups have a stronger association with the cookie.
So there you have it. Mallomars are a treat that anyone of any faith can enjoy. Anyway, you slice them, which I don’t recommend doing; Mallomars, which have now been around one hundred and ten years, can be enjoyed with the whole family. I recommend bringing a couple of boxes to your family for Thanksgiving. They will surely be a bigger hit than the dried-up gingerbread cookies I got for my family last year. Try them. You’re going to love them.
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