Nabisco Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies
I’ve written about these cookies before, a cookie so ingrained in my memory that I can still vividly experience them. From the shuffling through the brown paper grocery bag, as tall as me, in the backseat of my mother’s car to find and be the first to open them; to opening them, their smooth teal-blue paper like a gift wrapping; to the two cardboard boxes, natural brown, in a time when everything was bleached white; to the slightly waxy parchment paper inside the cardboard that tucked away the darling little sandwiches neatly–all parts distinct in my memory. Opening them was a ritual. Enjoying them was a gift; they were coveted by most of my family members, including 3 hungry older siblings.
I feel like I loved them the most in my family, most in the world. But perhaps it was just the first of food love I had ever experienced and therefore, presumed special and unique to my own heart. But the love of these cookies was certainly not all my own. Food Timeline has compiled an amazing memorial space for these cookies. Scrolling through this page, you can read how these cookies still hold a special place in many people’s memories. It is truly amazing to see there is a Marshmallow Sandwich army. All with similar experiences and a deep nostalgia for these cookies.
So, how on earth did I get my hands on an unopened box of these cookies? Let’s call it kismet. As a long time thrift shopper who loves vintage stuff, I’ve since moved to eBay for vintage finds… since the thrift shops no longer have truly vintage items, just like WCBS fm doesn’t really play true oldies anymore. I search things randomly as they pop in my head, then I “follow” these searches to get alerts when new items are added. I searched for these cookies when I saw that eBay had a market for retro food. Then one day, they had the cookies, unopened, the familiar teal-blue still like I remembered it. Seeing the pictures of these cookies made my heart skip a beat. And I was able to “Buy it Now,” for $19.99 plus $5.74 shipping from seller Stancil Antiques Unlimited. I’ve continued to monitor this search ever since and… nothing. Where many are happy to see a .jpeg of the packaging design, I was somehow able to get a box.
When they arrived, I was so excited. This box–an earlier version (copyright 1967) than the one I remember, which looked more like this (copyright 1974)–was the real deal. I shook it gently, tempted to open like I had loved doing so long ago. But, no. This box would be preserved. And I’m not quite sure I want to see what these cookies look like after sitting for almost 4 decades.
I knew that these cookies’ new home would be in our renovated kitchen. I had a shadow box custom made to display the cookies, which, by chance, just happened to match the color scheme of the new kitchen.
Along with my excitement was a desire not only to attempt to recreate the cookie, but to recreate a vegan version of the cookie that I could actually eat! Now, I am not Nabisco. Even in the years these cookies were around, I am sure they utilized a variety of food processes that can not be duplicated in my kitchen. So my cookies would be inspired by these darling Marshmallow Sandwiches. First, I dissected the listed ingredients: sugar, flour, shortening, corn syrup, apricots, whey solids, gelatine, salt, leavening, and artificial flavor. A surprisingly brief list of ingredients, all recognizable unlike today’s processed foods. The “apricots” explains the characteristic smear of jellyishness that affixes the cookie to the marshmallow in the original cookie. The marshmallow and its unvegan “gelatine” would be the most difficult to recreate. The cookie, not as much. I once made chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips that reminded me of the cookie sandwich.
Here is the recipe I used to recreate the cookies, vegan style.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup real maple syrup
1/4 tsp. black strap molasses (Tip: Oil-coat the 1/4 tsp.)
1/4 cup canola oil
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl.
Mix wet ingredients in small bowl then add to dry.
Mix until incorporated.
Roll 1 teaspoon of dough into a sphere, rolling in the palm of your hand.
Place on parchment papered baking sheet and press down slightly to flatten.
Continue till you’ve used up the dough.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, watching closely.
Remove from oven before it browns. You will think it’s too soon, but it’s not.
Let cool on baking sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a cooling rack.
Cool for 10 minutes and then put in an airtight case. This will keep them soft and moist.
2 TB of a high-quality apricot jam
Sieve the 2 TB of jam into a small saucepan.
Cook and until thicker. Stir until smooth.
Aquafaba (liquid) from 1 can of chickpeas
1 & 1/2 10 oz bags of Dandies
2 tsp coconut oil, plus more for bowl & spoon
2 tsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Coat a large microwave-safe bowl’s interior and a large metal spoon with coconut oil.
In a stand-up mixer, whip aquafaba until fluffy peaks form.
While aquafaba is whipping, microwave coconut oil and marshmallows in 30 second intervals, stirring in-between intervals.
Add marshmallow mixture in with aquafaba meringue and whip until combined.
Stop to scrape sides, then add corn syrup and vanilla.
Whip again till thick, well-incorporated, and beautifully glossy.
Let set in the fridge till you’re ready to assemble cookies.
The aquafaba, before and after: The marshmallow fluff stuff:
Upside down cookies
Smear of apricot jam Piping of marshmallow Sandwich complete!
I found these cardboard sleeves at BRP Box Shop, similar to the original packaging, and cut parchment to fit.
Though my cookies looked like the old Nabisco Marshmallow Sandwich Cookie I once loved, The airy meringue marshmallow fluff center gives too quickly with a bite, which throws off it feeling like that cookie. It may have been more texturely reminiscent if I simply cut the large Dandies in half and sandwiched them with the cookie? This is a work in progress! I will update this post with new notes after more experimentation.
Either way, it’s been a wonderful stroll down memory lane.