I can picture it now. Nabisco marketers frantically running up and down supermarket aisles, whispering to themselves in a panic:
“Gotta find another cookie idea! What haven’t we tried yet? Coffee? Rutabaga? Could we cram some creme between two Doritos-flavored cookies for the Super Bowl?”
A worried mother protects her children from the sweating marketer. She tells him he’s gone “crazy in the coconut.” He cracks an inspired smile and steals away into the night.
And so, Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookies were born. Rejecting my own brilliant idea for “Back to School PB&J Oreo Cookies,” Nabisco avoided the low-hanging fruit and reached higher up the palm tree.
To mimic the taste of a coconut creme pie, these cookies use Oreo’s vanilla-flavored Golden cookies instead of the chocolate. I’m guessing this choice angered all the Mounds bar lovers of the world. All four of them.
Because single stuf Oreo cookies are now the MySpace of the cookie aisle, Toasted Coconut Oreo are stuffed with a double helping of white creme that is specked with darker gold shavings of “real toasted coconut.” This creates a complex filling that looks like a petri dish of e. coconut specimens.
The package lacks the traditional lift-n-peel opening, so like Tom Hanks and his coconut in Castaway, I first tried to open this by throwing it against a wall and smashing it with a rock. After finally struggling it open, my nose was assaulted by vanilla and sugar.
Uh-oh. Any fellow Oreo connoisseur knows this is a bad omen. My fears came true when I bit into a cookie. The powerful Nilla Wafer taste of the cookie stomps out the creme’s subtle coconut flavor like a Vanilla Godzilla.
The faint coconut taste that attempts a futile rebellion against its Orwellian cookie overlord doesn’t give the distinct, tropical, and nutty experience you’d get from a Mounds or coconut scented soap, either. It’s closer to the cloying, heavily sugared richness of sweetened, shredded baking coconut.
The “coconuttiest” part is the creme’s texture, as there is a noticeable gritty chewiness. But any intended “toasted” notes are completely obscured by the pure, unadulterated confectioner’s sugar sweetness of the creme.
But I thought maybe my personal coconut-o-meter was just broken. So I asked a few taste testers — and by “asked,” I mean, “aggressively shoved cookies into the face of” — and got these responses:
“I don’t get it…it’s just a cookie?”
“It’s only like coconut when you lick the creme.”
“It tastes like a really sweet piña colada Dum-Dum sucker.”
So perhaps these divisive Oreo cookies just require a more sophisticated palette to bring out the coconut. If I ever fulfill my dream of hosting a ritzy lecture series called “Oreos & Orators,” I’ll be sure to accompany the heated discourse on the social commentary of Robinson Crusoe with these thematically appropriate coconut confections.
Overall, they taste like a plain vanilla creme pie that a coconut just happened to sneeze on. I found it pleasant, but since it’s easier to sell a used Toyota to a manatee than to recommend coconut to coconut haters, regular Golden Oreos are probably a safer, crowd pleasing option.
Meanwhile, those who like coconut will be left wanting a more pronounced taste. This leaves Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookies suspended in limbo. And not the fun, luau kind of limbo, either. I think Hunter S. Thompson said it best when he called them “too weird to live, too rare to die.”
Wait, what do you mean he’s been dead for 10 years?
Guess I’m gonna need to book a new orator for next month.
(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 15 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.).)
Item: Limited Edition Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 10.7 oz
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: All the goodness of Golden Oreo Cookies. Fun creme texture. Cookie kaiju. The under-appreciated genius of PB&J Oreo Cookies.
Cons: Little reason to buy them over Golden Oreo. Only a ghost of coconut toast. Non-luau limbos. The inevitability of nacho cheese-flavored Oreo.