Every Fall I look forward to eating my favorite cookie, the Mallomar, a marshmallow dome sitting on a cookie about the size of a half dollar coated with chocolate. It’s the first seasonal food I had eaten in my life — seasonal in that they are only available October through March because the chocolate — real chocolate — would melt in warm months.
Recently I was talking with a dear friend of mine who is 90 years old. When I mentioned my obsession with Mallomars she said, “I love Mallomars! One of my favorite memories was when I was first married. I put Mallomars in the refrigerator and couldn’t wait to eat them”. She didn’t know they were still made. I sent her three boxes. (Mallomars are available via Amazon.) I can’t wait to see her response when she gets her surprise.
Every Mallomar aficionado has their own way of eating a Mallomar. When I eat them, I press my thumb on top and gently press the top of the chocolate shell until it crunches under the pressure. Then I slowly peel each bit of chocolate off the marshmallow dome before eating the marshmallow and last, the chocolate-coated wafer. But there are many other ways: Some people like to eat the chocolate-coated marshmallow first, and then the chocolate wafer, as a kind of bonus. Some like to view a Mallomar as a tiny cake and cut it into wedges. Some press two Mallomars together and gobble a giant splice. Then there’s slicing them horizontally to get an extra slice of marshmallow. If you put one on a little plate in a low oven for half an hour, it becomes S’more-like, best eaten with a spoon.
A friend and I imagined how good Mallomars would be floating on hot chocolate, a café latte, or even a milk shake but didn’t know if they would float. So I tested one in a glass of water, and sure enough, it floats. Great possibilities there.
This year, Mallomar joy rose to a whole new level when I introduced the cookie to two 5-year-olds I know. They were thrilled by this “interactive cookie.” Their faces lit up with excitement when I went through my ritual and taught them the possibilities for eating this landmark food.
Every year I can’t wait for Mallomars to arrive back in the stores. It is my favorite cookie by far. I’m now in my mid-fifties and have tasted the finest chocolate in the world yet I still get excited waiting for this cookie to arrive. It’s a uniquely 1960’s childhood chocolate taste whose experience changes with the particular way you eat them.
Mallowmars are celebrating their 100th anniversary. Since 70% of Mallomars are sold in New York City, I’d like to propose having this cookie made a city landmark!
Editor’s Note: There are truly endless ways to eat Mallomars, as we discovered once we set out to photograph them and one idea led to another. We ate A LOT of them. The chocolate is REAL — no garbage or waxy stuff in that coating.
In the course of our research, we uncovered a trove of cultural references to Mallomars (found on a Mallomar chatroom and unfortunately unattributed):
Mallomars are mentioned in at least two episodes of The Golden Girls. On one occasion, Blanche tells the other girls to just tell her their bad news so she can get hysterical and eat a box of Mallomars. In another episode, Rose interjects during a discussion on literature, mistaking Malamud for Mallomars.
Mallomars are mentioned in The Sopranos episode, “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Tony has arranged a secret meeting with Paulie, who asks “I do something wrong?” Tony replies, “Sunday, my house, box of Mallomars on the counter?”
In act one of The Odd Couple, Oscar Madison offers Felix Ungar some chocolate Mallomars while trying to cheer him up after Felix and his wife break up.
Mallomars are featured in a moment of the feature film When Harry Met Sally… (1989). A forlorn Harry watches TV on New Year’s eve with a box of Mallomars, referring to them as “the greatest cookie of all time”.
Mallomars add local color to Wally Lamb’s coming-of-age novel She’s Come Undone.
Mallomars are mentioned on an episode of The Simpsons. Ned Flanders, during his final breakdown, in which he personally and wickedly insults every major character on the show, turns to Clancy Wiggum, the town’s obese, incompetent police chief, and informs him, “The last case you got to the bottom of was a case of Mallomars!”
Mallomars are mentioned briefly on Family Guy. Peter Griffin “sold his soul once in 1977 for Bee Gees tickets and then again in 1983 for half a Mallomar.”
Mallomars are mentioned in at least one Seinfeld episode.
In an episode of Roseanne, Roseanne Connor (Roseanne Barr) discovers a box of Mallomars as she is just beginning a diet. In a 1991 episode entitled “Home Ec” Roseanne takes Darlene’s Home Ec class on an educational shopping trip to the supermarket and the patron ahead of them in the check-out line is buying vodka, mallomars and a TV Guide. “I’m thinking single, and staying that way” Roseanne comments to the girls in reference to the pathetic gentleman.
Mallomars appear briefly in the WB series Felicity episode “Todd Mulcahy: Part 1.” Todd sends Felicity a care package filled with art supplies and Mallomars. Then, in “Todd Mulcahy: Part 2,” Felicity tearfully finds comfort in a Mallomar after Todd gets hit by a speeding bus.
Mallomars appear in Gilmore Girls; Lorelai receives traditional birthday Mallomars every year from her daughter Rory. Also in one episode Rory pins a message for Lorelai to Mallomars because that way Lorelai is bound to find them. In another episode, Rory and Lorelai are seen eating Mallomars after Rory has a bad date.
Mallomars are mentioned in Regarding Henry, the 1991 movie staring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening. They were Henry’s (Harrison Ford’s character) favorite treat before he suffered from retrograde amnesia as a result of being shot multiple times.
Mallomars are shown during an episode of “The Nanny” when Fran comforts Maggie concerning a breakup.
Mallomars are mentioned during the Conan O’Brien skit “Pierre Bernard’s Recliner of Rage”, where Pierre complains about the inability to get Mallomars during the summer months.