Toasted Mallows for Toasty Days

May 31, 2010 at 7:22 am 10 comments

Hot hot hot. Memorial day, and the mercury is rising.

As you probably  learned the day you left a Hershey bar out on your dashboard, heat and humidity are not kind to candy. Many candy factories essentially shut down over the summer before the days of artificial “climate control.” The enterprising candy maker looked for items that would weather the weather (har har): something that wouldn’t melt or get sticky or fall apart when the temperature rises.

Here’s a 1907 ad for Toasted Mallows, a hot-weather specialty:

“When the Mercury Goes Up, Toasted Mallows Go Down.” Not bad for a candy slogan.

Toasted Mallows are marshmallows coated in toasted cocoanut. I love the funny “toasted mallow” character at the top. He looks a little like an oversized shredded wheat biscuit.

The ad copy reads

Here’s a lot of profit and candy goodness for your trade worth investigating. A summer confection that thrives when the temperature hovers in the nineties.

What really caught my eye in this ad was the photo of the young people eating the candy. This is an unusual image for the advertising of the day, most of which relies on hand drawings rather than photos. Who are these boys and girls? I imagine they might actually be employees of the Darby Candy Company. Or perhaps, given that they all seem about the same age, these are students who got a lucky chance to eat some candy in exchange for posing for this photo.

These shaggy looking treats are pretty plain by our candy standards. Today you can still buy “Toasted Mallows” or “Toasted Coconut Marshmallows” as a specialty confectionery item, although they seem more popular in Canada and Australia than in the U.S. Kraft makes a “Jet-Puffed Marshmallow” with toasted coconut. But it’s not the kind of thing you see flying off the shelves, at least not in any of the places I know. In fact, until I was researching this post I didn’t know of the existence of this product.

This bag puzzles me. I think I would find this bag in the grocery store and not really know what to do with the contents.  Do you just eat it out of the bag? Or do you do something else with it? For the Darby girls and boys, Toasted Mallows was clearly a candy. But this Kraft bag poses the mystery of the marshmallow: is it candy? or is it some other kind of grocery item?

Source: 1907 ad for the Darby Candy Company of Baltimore, Maryland appeared in Confectioners Journal.

Entry filed under: Candies We Miss, Marketing. Tags: , .

News Brief: Cooking with See’s Candy Vegetable Candy Revolution

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark D. (sugarpressure)  |  May 31, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Why did the add only show women? Was this a product directed at them?

    Coconut covered marshmallows are awesome.

    • 2. Candy Professor  |  May 31, 2010 at 11:33 am

      The front row is boys although it does look like the rest are mostly younger women. Around the sides are slightly older women. (Sorry about the poor quality image.) The reason I think it might be the workers is that women did a lot of the hand work in candy factories in this period and the clothing suggests they are working class. But you are probobly right, in 1907 this sort of candy would have been associated with women and children (even though men were surely also eating and enjoying). I’ll have to try some, I do love marshmallow!

  • 3. sugar plum  |  May 31, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    To me the picture I see definitely has only girls, and the picture is identified as “1907 Darby girls.” Since the Toasted Mallows ad appeared in 1907, I suspect that the girls in the picture are working in the factory, a common practice in those days.

    • 4. Candy Professor  |  June 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      Actually, “1907 Darby girls” is my caption, not a description that came with the photo. But since that is how I captioned it, I guess that is a hint of what I think! Are there boys in the picture? I looked again, I think the one in the middle of the first row is a boy and one on the right might be and the rest definitely girls and older women around the edges. I do think these are workers, their clothes especially seem working clothes. I wondered if it might be a school group or some random group of girls because, to my 21st century mind, it was hard to accept that such young girls were working in a factory. But the more I look at the photo, the more I agree that this must have been taken at the candy factory with the workers.

  • 5. Madame Yum Yum  |  June 2, 2010 at 7:23 am

    My mom used to buy these and we’d just eat them out of the bag. They’re not particularly fun, I must say.

  • […] Related Post: Toasted Mallows for Toasty Days […]

  • 7. Raphaelle  |  October 27, 2010 at 10:26 am

    My family often buys these around Passover because they’re kosher for that holiday. My sister and I eat them straight out of the bag. I imagine they’d also make mind-blowing smores and look great as part of cake decorations.

  • 8. Sara  |  October 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    My daughter saw these at KMart and we wanted to buy them to make s’mores when we went camping but when we went back they were out of stock.

  • 9. joyce pfister  |  December 31, 2010 at 8:52 am

    My grandmother was Cora Darby Ashmore, named after the Darby Candy Company, whose owners were her godparents. I was named after her, Joyce Darby. The family story is that the company burned in the Great Baltimore Fire. Is there any truth to the family story?

  • 10. joyce darby pfister  |  December 31, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Does anyone have additional info. about the Darby company or its owners?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

Welcome to Candy Professor

Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

(C) Samira Kawash

All written contents protected by copyright. Except where noted, Candy Professor is my original research, based on archives, journals, magazines, newspapers, and other historical artifacts. You do not have permission to copy or re-post my content. If you want to refer to my work, please create a link from the blog entry and also write out the citation:
Samira Kawash, "entry name,", entry date.

If you would like to copy, re-post, or reproduce my work, please contact me for permission.


Header Image Credit