We here at Snacktaku have given the Oreo a great deal of attention over the years, but several years before the popular cookie’s 1912 debut there was another. Hydrox, the original sandwich cookie, takes on Nabisco’s usurper in the first-ever Snacktaku Showdown.
Sunshine Biscuits launched the first creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookie in 1908. Hoping to evoke a sense of purity and goodness they called it Hydrox, a portmanteau of hydrogen and oxygen, the two elements that make up water. This was a very bad move.
Four years later the National Biscuit Company introduced the Oreo, which was pretty much a Hydrox without the stupid name. Oreo quickly overtook Hydrox as the sandwich cookie of choice. Over the years Oreo gained so much ground over the original that Hydrox was often considered an off-brand or generic version. Damn.
Hydrox was discontinued in 1999 by then-owner Kellogg’s, making a brief resurgence in 2008 to mark its 100-year anniversary before disappearing from shelves.
But now they are back! A company called Leaf Brands relaunched Hydrox in 2015, and the original creme-filled sandwich cookie is selling better than ever. Is it because it’s a better cookie than Oreo, or just an over-medicated society being more comfortable eating something with a name that sounds like we should ask our doctor about it?
Let’s find out, but first . . . it’s glove time.
Hmm. Well, they’re just both sitting there. I don’t think they’re actually going to fight. Awkward. Did I thank reader David for suggesting these two cookies battle? Thanks a lot, reader David.
Fine. I’ll just eat the damn things. Scroll up to the video atop the post to watch that happen.
Hydrox readily takes the fat and sugar gunk round, utilizing real sugar all the way through where the Oreo combines the gritty stuff with corn syrup. The result is a smoother creme that’s got a subtle tang and a bit less cloying sweetness. Is spackley a word? Hydrox’s creme is less spackley.
Darker and less uniform, the Hydrox cookie wafer looks and smells more like something I might have baked in my kitchen if it weren’t currently filled with laundry and regrets. Hydrox carries a stronger chocolate scent and a more pronounced cocoa taste.
The Oreo cookie is lighter and more prone to crumbling. It’s slightly sweeter.
The battle of brown discs is anyone’s game. It all comes down to personal preference, and I could go either way. I’m going to give it to Hydrox however, because the Oreo logo is upside-down. Quality control, people.
Since neither Hydrox nor Oreo have figured out how to make cookies issue gurgling screams while being dunked in ice cold milk, this one is another toss-up.
After five seconds in milk, the Oreo cookie was ready to fall apart. The Hydrox cookie was still relatively crisp. If you’re in a hurry for some mushy milk-soaked sandwich cookie, Oreo is your best bet. If you prefer a little crunch, go for Hydrox. Or stick with Oreo and up your dunking game.
Technically, since neither cookie bothered to throw a punch, it’s a tie. That said, I was completely taken aback by Hydrox’s taste and quality. Years of Oreo indoctrination had taught me to fear. Five Hydrox cookies taught me how to love again.
As I was uploading the video for this post, my nephew arrived to watch my children while I worked. He saw the Oreos and got all excited.
“Can I have some?” he asked.
“You can have a Hydrox,” I countered.
“Ew, no thanks,” the ungrateful little bastard replied. I asked him why.
“Because they are Hitler,” he actually said, because he does not care who he hurts.
I made him eat one anyway. After some thoughtful chewing—well, technically during some thoughtful chewing, he mumbled, “Wow. These are actually really good.”
Feel free to use that as a slogan, Leaf Brands.