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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dirt Cake

I first made this for a family 4th of July party ten or more years ago. The kids are all grown now and we rarely go to my mom and dad's for the Fourth, but every year we did I was asked to bring dirt cake. (I don't really know why it is called cake. - It is really a pudding or parfait.) I love it in a bucket. We also made it in a wheelbarrow and dump truck. I wish I had pictures of those. While the recipe doesn't call for gummy worms, they are a necessity in our house.

Start by crushing the Oreos, then set them aside.

Make the pudding mixture. If the cream cheese sets out for several hours it will mix in much more smoothly. (Microwave it 15 or 20 seconds if it isn't room temperature.)

Then layer the pudding and cookies ending with cookies. A straight sided bowl will work, but a bucket or foil lined terra cotta pot (that is new) are much more fun. You could add a silk flower to a flower pot.

When I made this recently, I created a more adult version. I crushed a sleeve of Graham crackers and mixed the crumbs with two tablespoons of sugar and maybe three tablespoons of butter to create a crust. I pressed the mixture onto a baking sheet and baked it for 10 minutes at 350 degrees to toast the crumbs. (Plain Graham cracker crumbs work, but I like the flavor after they are toasted.) I also used blueberries and raspberries and Lemon Fruit Tart filling (I found it at Wegman's. Lemon pie filling would work.) The tart filling was a little thick so I mixed a tablespoon of lemon juice into about one half cup so it would spread better.

I really enjoyed the fruit version. It isn't quite as sweet or heavy as the Oreo dirt cake, but I'm a sucker for any fruit dessert and I love citrus. The Oreo version seems to be most people's favorite.

Since I had made two versions, I layered everything in Mason jars. (I have also used eight ounce plastic cups when I was taking dirt cake to someone's home.)

Now that fall is here, I may have to try mixing some pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice into the pudding mixture and layering it with ginger snap crumbs.

Dirt Cake
1 large package Oreos
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 small packages vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk
1 12 ounce container Cool Whip
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Crush cookies to fine crumbs.  (Easiest in a food processor.) Combine cream cheese and confectioners sugar with an electric mixer.  Add pudding mix and milk; mix well.  Fold in Cool Whip and vanilla extract.  Layer pudding mixture with cookie crumbs.  Chill until ready to serve.

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