Mother's Taffy Sandwich Cookies

Mother's Taffy Sandwich Cookies

"Your Favorites Are Back" proclaimed the package.  And it's true - as I mentioned yesterday, the Mother's cookie company went under in October of 2008 after what Wikipedia describes as "an accounting scandal." 

Luckily for fans, Kellogg purchased the Mother's brand and factory a few months later, and Mother's cookies went back into production in May, 2009.  

Taffy Cookies have what is often referred to as a "small but vocal following."  Taffy fanatics were despondent in the months after Mother's shut down, and before it was announced that Kellogg would be bringing the product back.  The problem is that there is no substitute for Taffy cookies.  

Unlike, say, Mother's Iced Oatmeal Cookies, Taffy cookies are not an approximation of a real world recipe.  And unlike, say, Oreos, there aren't any Taffy cookie knock-offs.  If Oreo went under, we could subsist on Hydrox and - better yet - Paul Newman's version, Newman-Os.  But in a world where Mother's no longer made Taffy cookies, there were no Taffy cookies to be had.  A forlorn request for a clone recipe on the Chowhound message boards went unanswered, until the announcement of Mother's return.  

Incidentally, I found several people mentioning that they use crumbled Taffy cookies as the crust for cheesecakes.  Frankly, that sounds delicious, and I intend to try it at my earliest convenience.

What is it about Taffy cookies that makes them so highly sought after, and so rarely copied?  Taffy cookies are definitely a childhood favorite, a cookie you learn to love as a little kid.  Taffy is a sandwich cookie, with two toasted coconut vanilla shortbread cookies sandwiching a smooth vanilla cream.  (Excuse me, "crème.")

The first and overall impression you get with Taffy cookies is one of sweetness.  Which isn't surprising, given that white sugary filling.  But the more you focus on the cookie, the more flavors are revealed.  Taffy cookies are surprisingly complex, as Taffy fanatics will happily tell you.

The toasted coconut in the shortbread cookies is their most delicate and unusual flavor.  This kind of cookie is more popular in other parts of the world.  I have had coconut rice cookies from the Philippines which come close, although they are either glazed (and therefore sweeter) or grainy.  The coconut in Taffy cookies is very finely ground and flaked, and has only the slightest physical presence.  It is detectable in leftover flakes after the cookie has been eaten, and in that delicious toasted coconut aroma.

The crème filling is… well, it's crème filling.  It's smooth, without the sugary graininess of a Hydrox filling.  It's vanilla flavored, and not terribly obnoxious.  It provides the perfect creamy foil to the crunch of the cookies.  It also makes you really thirsty.  Be sure to have a beverage on hand!

In all my research for writing this, one question remained unanswered: why "taffy"?  Is there a kind of taffy of which I am unaware, which is crunchy and coconut flavored?  Because I don't know about your taffy experience, but Taffy cookies are unlike any sort of taffy I've ever had.