[Photographs: Carrie Vasios]

I love marshmallows in most all their shapes, flavors, and forms. I prefer the standard size ones to the minis (more chew, and duh, more mallow) but I appreciate that the wee ones were created to accommodate smaller cocoa cups and allow for easier drinking. This summer I did find an exception to this rule: turns out the new, giant marshmallows aren't my thing—a good effort, but it's impossible to perfectly toast the outer layer and cook the inside before the outside of the marshmallow burns. Nobody wants a half cooked marshmallow, and I don't like charred ones. Also, Chubby Bunny just gets weird.

I go nuts over homemade mallows, marshmallow in candy, and yes, marshmallow fluff. So when I saw that Jet-Puffed had flavored marshmallows in the candy aisle, I was pretty stoked. Plus they came in fall flavors. Marshmallow upgrade for the off season!

Of the three flavors available in my supermarket (Toasted Coconut, Pumpkin Spice, and Cinnamon Bun) only Cinnamon Bun is actually a new product. Still, I clearly had to try all of them because they were new to me.


From left to right: Toasted Coconut, Cinnamon Bun, and Pumpkin Spice

First try was a strike out—I didn't care for the Toasted Coconut at all. Maybe they were a little stale, candy aisle-hangers on that didn't realize the beach party was over. But stale or not, I found the toasted coconut outside to be gritty and the flavor, though not the worst fake coconut offender I've encountered, to be pretty lackluster. But the bigger question is what would you use these for? Wouldn't the coconut layer burn when you roasted them? Even if you put it on a s'more without toasting it, the gritty, fake tasting coconut combined with melted chocolate seems like a recipe for disaster. And I don't really want any shedding in my cup of hot cocoa.

Cinnamon Bun, the newest addition to the line, fared little better. These mallows taste exactly like a cinnamon Yankee Candle smells—a powerful fake spice taste that seems like it will overpower anything they are paired with. For those folks who really enjoy fake cinnamon (it's OK, I know you're out there) these could, I suppose, find their way into a cup of cocoa. The problem then becomes that, muddy brown-grey and wrinkly as they are, it will look like rhinoceros toes are floating in your drink. Aesthetics aren't nothing, after all.

Pumpkin Spice was last and, OK, these I can get behind. Yes, they still taste artificial, but they're definitely less intense than the Cinnamon Bun mallows, and really, what pumpkin flavored treat ever tastes like actual, straight from the vine pumpkin? It tastes more like its full name, "pumpkin spice", a flavor which fans of Starbucks' seasonal pumpkin drinks will appreciate.

They still left me wondering, "when" and "what for?" Their pumpkin shape is pretty adorable, but I just don't see the flavor melding with chocolate. Maybe I'll make some Halloween themed Rice Krispy treats? So that's the nagging question, friends—or maybe make that two—do you like these flavored marshmallows and what do you do with them?


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