MallomarsNever in summer: the delectable Mallomar.

There is a science to eating cookies. There are two serious theories: to dunk or not to dunk. Each method has its partisans; each group is convinced that its way is the right and only way to eat cookies.

In my family there are a lot of dunkers—primarily of Oreos, but on occasion oatmeal cookies. I am not a dunker of cookies, but biscotti are another matter. If you don’t dunk and soften biscotti, you risk losing some teeth.

Then there are Mallomars—the perfect cookie. The soft marshmallow sits on the crunch of graham cracker, and it’s all wrapped in dark chocolate. It has everything. My 13-year-old grandson Ben likes them so much that he calls ahead to ask if I will have them when he visits. But they are not perfect, in his estimation; they are available only in winter. (Which, an adult knows, is what makes them so appealing.)

How to spin out the pleasure of eating a Mallomar? There is the dunking option, of course, but there are more creative ways to dote on them. I am a cruncher. I take a bite out of all three layers to savor them all at the same time. There are those who eat the marshmallow first and the cookie second. Or vice versa. The aforementioned grandson peels off the chocolate and eats it, then proceeds to the marshmallow and finally the graham cookie. Or first the cookie, then the marshmallow—but peeling off the chocolate is always first. Then, before he touches anything, he’s escorted to the sink.

When it comes to Oreos, Ben is merely a dunker, as are his father and his father’s father, my husband. There are those who split the cookie, eat one half, lick the icing, and, finally ingest the bottom. Ben dunks the whole cookie and attempts to shove all of it into his mouth. It crumbles in his hand, on his face . . . the sink again.

Then there is my granddaughter Renée,  who in her childhood had a fondness for Vienna Fingers, an all-vanilla sandwich cookie of which I am also fond. My son-in-law will always have some on hand when I visit—a sort of role reversal. I split them open, eat the half without any icing (a tricky maneuver), then the second half with icing. When she was young, Renée liked the icing. She would open the cookies, lick off the icing, then put them back into the package. I would open one cookie after another and find out there is no icing between the cookies. All of the cookies. The nerve!

These are all store-bought cookies; I didn’t taste store-bought until I was 10 or so.  Except on our summer trips to the Catskills. On our way there—never on the way home—my mother would buy a box of assorted cookies . . . the same assortment every year. There would be 8 or 10 different kinds, usually 2 of each. We three kids always fought over who would get which. This led to the “Do I have to pull over?” speech. I still don’t understand why she bought an assortment, knowing there would be arguing.

The rest of the year my mother baked all kind of cookies. Those were always the best, dunked or not.

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  • Ellen Afromsky May 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    We used to keep them in the freezer. Best way to eat for me was cracker, marshmallow, chocolate. They are my mom’s favorites. To this day she always has a box in the freezer ready to eat. Thanks for rekindling fond memories.

  • Toni Myers May 14, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Your essay put me in a happy Mallomar place. I used to eat them, one box at a sitting, so cannot have them in the house. Years back, I had a Mallomar game, owing to my love of the little morsels: A kingdom for a Mallomar…Give me Mallomars or give me death!…A Mallomar by any other name…Oh, to have a Mallomar, now that May is here…Forgive me, I have eaten the Mallomars you were saving…

  • Tara May 14, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Oh, yes! In praise of cookies. Get your sweet on without the calories or gooeyness of cake. After my own cookie-loving heart.

  • Roz Warren May 14, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Entertaining essay. Not a dunker myself. Nor a Mallomar fan. My own favorite is a freshly baked toll house chocolate chip cookie.