As Mallomars turn 100, it’s time to rejoice

They’re back, and for being 100 years old, they’re looking (and tasting) great.

Mallomars, that is, the seasonal (October to April) cookies in the bright-yellow box. Well, they’re not cookies exactly. A Mallomar is a round of graham cracker topped with a mini-mound of marshmallow and then “enrobed” in pure dark chocolate. Which means the chocolate is poured over the cookie.

For many of us, they’re the source of memories and the making of dreams, a small but entrenched part of popular culture. For instance, they were mentioned in the movies “When Harry Met Sally,” “The First Wives Club” and “Regarding Henry,” and in the cable TV series “The Sopranos.” Mallomar-lovers hoard the sweet little pillows in the freezer, hide them from the children, eat entire boxes in secret. And what’s wrong with that?

In celebration of the cookie’s centennial, Nabisco is asking Mallomar fans to share their “favorite Mallo-Memories at”

Locally, Mallomars can be found at most supermarkets for around $5 for an 18-cookie box, but this morning we scored the last box in an end-aisle display at a Save Mart for $4.19. “More are being shipped from the warehouse,” a manager assured us.

Meanwhile, here’s the Mallomar story, according to a spokeswoman at Kraft, the parent company of Nabisco:

The National Biscuit Co. (later Nabisco) debuted Mallomars 100 years ago at a grocery store in New Jersey. For decades the cookies were strictly regional, and largely still are: Most are sold in the greater New York area.

As for Mallomars’ seasonal availability nationwide, there are two theories as to why. The company line: “Because the pure chocolate is susceptible to excessive heat, Mallomars are baked only during the cooler months.”

The non-company line: Each fall, media across the nation join the welcome wagon when Mallomars appear on store shelves. If Nabisco were to chemically stabilize the chocolate on Mallomars for longer shelf life, all that media coverage would melt and Mallomars might become just another cookie. Keeping them seasonal means keeping them in front of consumers.

So, just how many boxes of Mallomars do we eat each year? Kraft doesn’t provide sales figures, but after careful calculation we figured it out: Not nearly enough.