Now, that doesn’t mean I have anything against jellybeans. Actually, if you give me a bag of jellybeans, I will spend a good half-hour meticulously picking them out and sorting them one by one into their separate flavors. (Moral of the story: Never give me a bag of jellybeans.)
When it comes to Jelly Belly beans (I feel weird calling them Jelly Bellies), my favorite flavor, hands-down, is buttered popcorn. You can hate all you want; I think it’s delicious. Coming in close second, however, is toasted marshmallow.
And it was for that reason that, when I saw toasted marshmallow-flavored dessert topping on the shelf next to all the other ice cream syrups, I got excited. Even though I still couldn’t take it seriously.
Maybe “excited” is too strong of a word. I still had my reservations about the stuff — for one thing, anything called “dessert topper” worries me a little. How much more vague can you be? It’s like Smart Balance, which is described as a “buttery spread” — clearly you can spread it, but it’s not butter, no matter how hard it tries to be. So the “dessert topper” description didn’t do a whole lot for me.
But then again, it was toasted marshmallow-flavored.
The bottle gave no indication of serving suggestions, but since I’d found it next to the ice cream toppings (the rest of which had normal flavors like chocolate and strawberry), I figured the best serving option would be good old vanilla ice cream.
So I scooped out a small portion of ice cream and drizzled on a generous amount of…dessert topper. It was about the same color as the ice cream, just a little darker and almost a little grayish. Not the most appetizing color, in my opinion, but who am I to judge? I just know that when I toast marshmallows, I like them golden-brown, not grayish-tan. But then again, when I toast marshmallows, they taste nothing like jellybeans.
I took a bite of topping-covered ice cream, expecting something at least as magical as Jelly Belly beans.
What I tasted can only be described as sugar-covered sugar.
Honestly, I could barely taste the topping. And I didn’t taste toasted marshmallow jellybeans at all.
The flavor of the ice cream was definitely stronger than that of the topping, which probably didn’t help matters any. But I could still taste the topping, and all it really tasted like was brown sugar. It was slightly reminiscent of caramel…but caramel is just sugar, so I guess that makes sense.
The flavor itself makes sense when you consider the topping’s ingredients: corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar… No wonder it tastes like sugar. The ingredient list also includes “natural and artificial flavors,” but I’m going to bet that at least the natural flavor is sugar.
Because the ice cream was so overpowering, I tried a small spoonful of the topping by itself. As I expected, it tasted like a spoonful of sugar. (Cue the Mary Poppins song.)
As far as unconventional products by Jelly Belly go, this wasn’t as strange as the watermelon pudding. It was, however, a little disappointing. Part of me wants to go find some toasted marshmallow jellybeans and try them once more to see if they really taste like anything at all, or if the flavor is just brown sugar. Maybe some jellybeans have the Skittles factor: people say they’re different flavors, but it’s actually just a psychological trick because we think that yellow means lemon and purple means grape.
Just because it doesn’t have much of a flavor doesn’t make this topping a failure, though. I actually think it would be decent with brownies, and it’s not bad on ice cream, if your goal is to make the ice cream even sweeter. It has potential; it just doesn’t have much of a point, unless you’re specifically looking for a “dessert topper” that tastes like plain old sugar.
Ingredients: Water, high fructose corn syrup, natural and artificial flavors, corn syrup, sugar, light brown sugar, salt and sodium benzoate (preservative).
Price: $2.99 at Fry’s
Pros: Toasted marshmallow. Sort of.
Cons: It’s basically just sugary syrup marketed as being marshmallow-flavored. If you close your eyes and use your imagination, then it might live up to its name.