For Toosht's 2nd birthday yesterday, we had a pirate theme and I made Sand Cups for the dessert. I used chocolate pudding for the bottom layer, a homemade version of Cool Whip (my sister's recipe) for the middle layer, and crushed Barbara's Vanilla Snackimals animal cookies for the top "sand" layer. Colorful paper umbrellas were the finishing touch. I thought the Sand Cups were great, but they seemed almost too sweet to me. In the future a variation I may try will be to use plain whipped heavy cream rather than the Cool Whip recipe. It was rich and sweet and maybe didn't need to be so sweet with the already sweet chocolate pudding and crushed animal cookies. My boys and my guests didn't seem to mind the sweetness, however!
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4 teaspoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Sift (so as to avoid clumps) the cocoa into a saucepan, then add 1 1/2 cups of the milk and the agave. Bring to a simmer, over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk, arrowroot powder, salt, egg yolks, and vanilla in a bowl. Gradually whisk the hot mixture into the egg mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat whisking constantly, until the pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue whisking until thick, about 2 or 3 minutes more.
Pour the pudding into 6 small cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight until set.
(Note: I doubled the pudding recipe in order to have enough for everyone at the party.)
HOMEMADE COOL WHIP
1 c. heavy cream, whipped
10-12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. agave nectar
Cream together cream cheese and agave. Add the already whipped heavy cream and mix until combined. Chill until ready to use.
A note about Barbara's Snackimals... the only flavor without cane sugar is the Vanilla flavor.