Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cooking With Candy Critic - The Ottawa Snowbank

In March, I was inspired to create a dessert while on a walk to he grocery store. Most people associate Canada with being the land of snow, and in the winter it can be. However we also have warm summers, and it can get up to 35 degrees in some places. This means that spring time is all about thawing snow. This is when snow turns from a pretty white powder you see in storybooks, to a pile of dirty ice/slush. So on this walk I was inspired by these piles of dirty snow to create the ultimate dessert. I noticed how much these piles of snow looked like ice cream covered with Oreo cookie bits, and instantly my mind started to race.

Fortunately I was heading to the grocery store, so I decided to walk through the store in search of the ingredients I'd need to create the ultimate cool treat, inspired by the grossest snow in the world.
The two ingredients I picked up the store were pudding and Oreo cookies, I also needed mint and salt, but I already had that at home.  I'm using fresh mint since I have it growing in my indoor herb garden, but in a pinch dried mint would work too.  As for the pudding, you need two types, vanilla and chocolate. You'll likely use all of the vanilla, and one quarter of the chocolate, so have a few extra pudding bowls ready, just in case.
I started by preparing a few of the ingredients.  First I took apart the cookies, and crushed the cookie bits.  I did two separate batches of cookie bits, one was crushed just a little, the other into a powder. I lightly crushed about six cookies, and powdered three.  You can do more cookies if you like, but I thought this would work for a nice balance. I discarded the icing from the cookies right into my mouth, this is a good step to keep you from just eating the pudding later on. I'm told you can buy already crushed cookies, but what's the fun in that, also, you need two different consistencies for this dessert. I also chopped the mint, but that's not nearly as interesting to read about as crushing cookies.
Once the cookies and mint are prepped, I made both batches of pudding. I prefer instant pudding because I have things to do with my life.  I like the idea of pouring a couple of cups of milk into a bowl with a mysterious powder and getting instant dessert.  Once you've made the pudding, take a few spoonfuls of the vanilla, and mix it with the powdered cookie (not the slightly crushed ones, but the ones you pulverized into a powder). Stir it up until you get a grey looking goo (bonus tip, this is basically how they make The Grey Stuff at Walt Disney World). You should now have two large bowls of pudding (one vanilla and one chocolate), one small bowl of pudding that looks kind of grey, a bowl of cookie crumbs, chopped mint, and salt. 
Now it's time to make your frozen treats.  Get yourself some kind of Popsicle maker, the shape doesn't really matter, however it might be weird if they were shaped like your favorite cartoon character or something. Having said that, I won't judge.  First add some cookie crumbs to the bottom of the Popsicle mold. Then spoon or pour in some vanilla pudding, about one quarter of the way up.  Add some more cookie crumbs, then add more vanilla pudding to about the halfway point. On this next level drop in a few dollops of the Oreo cookie pudding (it will be gloppy, that's the point). Then add a few more cookie crumbs and more vanilla pudding till about the three quarter mark.

Add more cookie bits, and a few dollops of the Oreo pudding if you like, but before you add the vanilla pudding, sprinkle in a little salt.  Not too much, just a dash. This is to represent the salt they use to clean the streets, it also adds a fun flavour when you get to that layer.  After you've added the salt, add a bit more vanilla pudding, but only a bit, leaving room for a few more cookie bits, your mint, and some chocolate pudding. The chocolate pudding and mint represent the mud and leaves at the bottom of the snowbank. It also adds an interesting flavour.
Once you have all your layers done, put the treats in the freezer, and let them sit overnight. The great thing about this recipe is, if you make a mess, it's only more realistic.  You can also alter the design if you like to better represent the gross snowbanks near your house.
If you don't want to freeze this dessert, you can do it in bowls as well, but I find the bowls look too fancy. Just make sure to follow the instructions above, only backwards. Also, since they're not frozen, then don't really represent "snowbanks" as well.
Once you're Ottawa Snowbanks are frozen, taken them out and enjoy.  Much like making them, the great thing about these is if you make a mess, it's only more realistic.


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