There is an elegance to the simplicity of an Oreo cookie, which first debuted 105 years ago. It’s just two chocolate wafers bonded together by a sweet creme filling. There is perfection to the way the cookie blends with milk. It feels so ingrained in our culture; so many childhood memories are tied to that experience of sharing them with family memories. (And, for some, many adult memories are tied to crushing an entire sleeve of them alone in the dark.)
It is worth taking a moment to note that Oreos were actually created as knockoff of Hydrox, which came out four years before they did. The irony is that Oreos became so popular and ubiquitous in our culture that people later came to believe Hydrox was the knockoff. Hydrox fell on hard times, eventually being discontinued in 1999. (Though they were brought back in 2015.)
Je ne sais quoi
I feel bad for Hydrox. Not bad enough to ever choose them over Oreos, but bad nonetheless. Someday, I hope we get an Amadeus like movie where the creators of Hydrox are the film’s Antonio Salieri, sulking as the flashy Oreos get all of the adulation.
But I digress …
Having vanquished their rival and their place on the chocolate wafer cookie with creme filling throne, Oreos could easily spend the next 100 years resting on their laurels. But, fascinatingly, in recent years they’ve really tried mixing things up with a variety of special limited edition variants. From Candy Corn to Blueberry Pie to Swedish Fish, there’s been special Oreos flavors that range from sounding intriguing to bizarre to flat-out gross.
I don’t typically go for these gimmicky offerings, but there was something about the straightforward idea of the Firework Oreos that intrigued me. Most of the limited edition Oreos have flavored wafers or flavored creme that fundamentally alter the DNA of the cookie. They don’t feel like Oreos to me. They feel … unnatural. (Which, I imagine makes me sound 1,000 years old, but oh well.)
But, with the Firework Oreos, it was easy for me to imagine some adventurous eight-year-old meticulously pulling apart the two wafers and pouring a handful of Pop Rocks on top of the creme filling, then carefully putting the whole thing back together and popping it into his/her mouth.
Which, I guess would mean that that eight-year-old has totally been Hydroxed by Oreos, having his/her idea stolen without receiving any acclaim for it.
But I digress …
When I first tried the Firework Oreos, they didn’t taste that much different from the traditional ones. The Pop Rocks (or “Popping Candy,” since clearly Nabisco has no problem with knockoffs) flavor tastes muted mixed in with the creme, which makes sense since they could easily overpower the cookie. In fact, the first bite tasted almost exactly like a classic Oreo, though perhaps just a bit sweeter.
It wasn’t until my second cookie that the popping candy built up and actually began popping in the back of my mouth. That was exciting. There was a delightful nostalgia to experiencing Pop Rocks again, something I hadn’t eaten in a very long time. The daredevil in me wanted to dip the popping candy Oreos into soda to see what would happen, but I stuck to the traditional milk pairing, which was delicious.
Overall, I really enjoyed them. The Oreo itself wasn’t fundamentally altered the way some of the limited edition ones are, which kept it feeling like an Oreo. And, instead of overtaking the cookie, the popping candy complimented it, adding a fun surprise to eating them.
They aren’t something I would want to eat all of the time, but they make a fun alternative to the classic cookie. Plus, I do enjoy the Fireworks branding, which is perfectly timed for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. So feel free to celebrate everything that makes America great with some of these fun Oreos.
Just make sure to pour out a little of your milk for the fallen Hydrox company.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.