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.

Hi Lisa,

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

 

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  • October 2, 2008 Stephanie wrote:
    How about the square fudge graham cracker cookies? and aren't Lorna Doodle cookies square?
    Reply to this
    1. March 19, 2009 hellocupcakeblog wrote:
      You are exactly right. Any flat square cookie could work. We love to hear about the substitutions folks make in our recipes. It shows everyone loves thinking outside the cake box.

      Keep on cupcaking,
      Alan and Karen

      Reply to this
      1. May 27, 2009 cheri goldscheitter wrote:
        Hello, the oreo thin crisps. 100 calorie packs are perfect!! Thanks for a inspiration for my sons "How To" demo at school!!
        Reply to this
  • April 19, 2009 debbie wrote:
    For Old Swampy, we used Jersey Milk chocolate bars cut into triangles.
    Looked great! And the smell of chocolate was heavenly.
    Reply to this
  • May 13, 2009 PAM wrote:
    WOULD LIKE TO GET THE OLD SWAMPY RECIPE PLEASE SEND TO MY E-MAIL ADDRESS THANKS
    Reply to this
    1. June 29, 2009 hellocupcakeblog wrote:
      Hi Pam, Old Swampy is in the book Hello, Cupcake!. Recipe is much too long to put here, but suffice to say it is mostly green frosting and chocolate cookies for the scales along the back and marshmallows for the eyes and teeth. Have fun
      Alan

      Reply to this
  • May 26, 2009 lynn wrote:
    I made these for my son's class - - HUGE HUGE hit.......i couldn't find Newmans cookies either - - after scouring the cookie aisle - - I used Oreo Crisps (100 calorie pack) and cut them in half.....i personally think they look more like the gators back......my sons love gators - - can't go to disney without visiting Gatorland!
    Reply to this
  • December 1, 2009 Skin Care wrote:
    Yeah, Cup caking.. Cheers!
    Reply to this
  • June 18, 2010 Kathy wrote:
    After searching in vain for Newman's Own Alphabet cookies in the cookie section of several grocery stores , I finally found them in the health food section at two stores! Worth a try in your area...
    Reply to this

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