|Photo from Sunshine's now-defunct website.|
Once upon a time, there was a product by Sunshine called Golden Fruit. You might remember them: they had a layer of raisin or cranberry filling between two crispy cookie-like thin biscuits. Still available in the UK, where they are called "Garibaldi biscuits," production in the US was halted in 1996 when Sunshine was acquired by Keebler.
Golden Raisin Biscuits were one of my favorite cookies back in the day, and I still miss them. I've found close approximations, such as the excellent ALDI Fit & Active Fruit Crisps, but it looks like there will never be Golden Raisin Biscuits again. And that's a shame because there are a large number of people out there who also miss them and occasionally search for them.
Now, the purpose for that long and windy backstory is this: Because I miss Golden Raisin Biscuits, I keep an eye open for products that seem like they'd be similar. That's how I found the aforementioned ALDI Fruit Crisps. And that is also how I found Nabisco Newtons Fruit Thins.
The illustration on the front of the bag certainly looked promising. Although it wasn't really detailed enough for me to get a great look, they carried Nabisco's Newton brand (known for fruit filled cookies) and they looked thin and crispy like Raisin Biscuits. So I gambled a couple of bucks and tried a bag.
What a disappointment.
First of all, they're pretty sparse on the fruit. There's a scattering of lame dried berries mixed in with the cracker-like cookie. And not just dried - the damn things are totally desiccated little bits, like sucked-out flies plucked from a spider's web. Good thing there's "natural flavor" baked in (according to the ingredient panel) because I'd be hard-pressed to identify a blueberry flavor here without it.
Did you ever go to a petting zoo when you were a kid? Do you remember the crackers you could buy at the zoo to feed the animals? That what these mealy bastards tasted like. Bland, grainy discs of Soylent Newton with the added insult of being topped with whole flax seeds. Gahh, these things are nasty.
(Not everyone agrees with me, of course. Other varieties were reviewed by Marvo at The Impulsive Buy, and he really loved the Apple Cinnamon Oat and Lemon Crisp flavors. I'll never really know what they're like, though, since I hated the blueberry ones so much I'm not going to bother with the others.)
Your words paint a piture of these crackers that I'll never forget. Thank you, Dave!
Some folks up at a Vermont flour mill have puiblished a recipe where that try to duplicate the product - but they completly encapsulate the things in a crystalline crust of sugar.
The original fruit bars weren't that sweet - which was a good thing.
The lemon ones are ... weird. They contain bits of lemon rind that are rock hard. The taste isn't bad, but those bits can hurt you if your teeth are sensitive.
The original Sunshine cookies might turn up in Ocean State some day. I found Jammy Dodgers a while back, so there's hope; I'm still watching for jelly babies though.
I disagree with you. I love the blueberry/brown sugar fruit thins. I think they're great!
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