More Than One Way to Make the Skin of an Alligator
Lisa sent us this e-mail about having difficulty finding one of the cookies we used in the Old Swampy Alligator:
My son wants to make Old Swampy for his school fundraiser but there are no stores near us that sell Newman's Own Alphabet cookies. I looked into buying them online but that was expensive, due to shipping costs. Do you have any alternative products that will work as well for Old Swampy's bony plates?
Here is a close up of Old Swampy and the cookie plates in question.
First, thank you to your son for wanting to make Old Swamp for a school fund raiser. What a great idea. We hope Old Swampy brings in a big donation!
Now let's figure out how to make Old Swampy with cookies available in your area. We could imagine making those bony plates several ways. First, Pepperidge Farms also makes a square cookie in chocolate, they are called Chocolate Chessmen cookies, so maybe you can locate them in your area. And there must be other square chocolate cookies out there. Don't be afraid to substitute, we do it all the time. Cookies and candies change seasonally so you have to be ready to switch to something that is available at Cupcaking Time. Second, look for a vanilla or other flavor cookie in a similar square shape to the ones we used, the Pepperidge Farm Chessmen also come in vanilla but any thick square cookie will work, and dip them in chocolate to get the dark chocolate color. If you look on pages 18-19 in Hello, Cupcake! you will see how we dip cupcakes; you can use the same dipping technique to coat the cookies just be sure to chill the cookies before dipping them so the melted chocolate will cool on contact and make a nice thick coating on the cookie. And finally, you can get chocolate graham crackers in most grocery stores. If you want them to be thicker like the photo try sandwiching two together with chocolate frosting to get a thicker plate, the rough edges of the graham crackers will probably make a great addition to Old Swampy's rough and scary look.
We love improvisation, so if you come up with a better way to make them let us know. We love seeing how other folks make it work.
All the best and keep on cupcaking!
Alan and Karen