Let’s talk about Nabisco’s Suddenly S’mores. The magically microwaveable cookies arrived in 1989, but didn’t go national until 1990. That’s when I tried them. I was eleven years old, and junk food was the only thing that loved me back.
Suddenly S’mores arrived with fanfare. This was, after all, the first attempt in recorded history to market microwaveable s’mores. The news outlets ate it up, and so did we. Most snacks got the small print on our daily marquees, but Suddenly S’mores had BIG GIANT LETTERS.
When you watch the commercial above, do so with the knowledge that real kids reacted to Suddenly S’mores in exactly the same way. This wasn’t a case where we passively pigged out. No, we’d been personally selected by some troubled god of dark alchemy.
These weren’t ordinary s’mores. Nabisco’s graham “crackers” straddled the line between hard and soft like no other cookie, before or since. The tops had the word “S’MORES” built right into them, evoking the relief sculptures of ancient Greece.
The cookies were dipped in fudge, which hardened around ’em like chocolate shells around ice cream bars. In the middle rested what I can only term as “anomaly marshmallows,” never stale yet always stale.
You could eat them as-was. Many people preferred them that way. Left uncooked, they were like the prehistoric versions of cereal bars. Delicious, and perfect for when you wanted to watch afternoon sitcom reruns while awkwardly laying sideways on your beat-up couch.
But getting to nuke Nabisco cookies was a BIG DEAL, at least by 1990 standards. After a few seconds in the microwave, the fudge melted and the marshmallows became unseemly globs of Stay Puft guts. When you bit into Suddenly S’mores, your mouth lit up like Vegas.
Suddenly S’mores came and went in a flash. From what I can tell, they just barely survived 1991 and were gone by early ‘92. The great tragedy of Ric Flair’s career is that he was like three days too late to celebrate with Suddenly S’mores after winning the WWF title.
And now, nobody can have them. You can microwave regular s’mores, of course, but they won’t have those unique Nabisco cookies, nor the same mouthfeel. If you’re a normal person, you accept that and move on. If you’re me, you do this instead:
Yeah, so, I got the idea that I could recreate Nabisco’s Suddenly S’mores. I aggressively self-debated over the proper ingredients, because on the surface, the right ones seemed so very wrong.
I decided that the shape and feel of the cookies were more important than the graham flavor. As it turns out, Nabisco’s Lorna Doone shortbread cookies are an incredibly close match. In fact, my suspicion is that Nabisco cannibalized Lorna Doone technology to create Suddenly S’mores.
I dipped the cookies into melted chocolate, and then sandwiched them around slices of marshmallows. My at-home versions were taller than the originals, but all told, I think I did a good job? I don’t know — it’s not like I have other Suddenly S’mores recreations to compare this to.
I nuked one for 30 seconds, and then another for 20 seconds. They both came out like garbage. The s’more shown above was only in the microwave for five seconds, and it was nearly perfect. I can’t say that it felt or tasted precisely like the official versions, but it’s as close as I’ve come in 30 years.
One little gooey bite, and suddenly I saw the world through my eleven-year-old eyes again. Baxter Stockman on the floor, Dick Tracy on the wall. Same shit on television. I’ll never do this again, but I’m glad I did it once.
Come to think of it, that’s exactly how I felt about Suddenly S’mores back in 1990.