Remember dirt cups? You know, store-bought pudding cups topped with crushed chocolate cookies and gummy worms that were at every classroom Halloween party of your childhood? If they were your treat of choice (and heck, even if they weren’t), today’s your lucky day. We ever-so-slightly upgraded the decadent snack so it’s just the right amount of classy and kitschy: Enter pumpkin patch dirt cups. These seasonal pudding parfaits wouldn’t look out of place in a cocktail party dessert spread, but kids wouldn’t turn them down either.
(And if you still want to use store-bought pudding mix, we won’t tell.)
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups whole milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 to 20 chocolate sandwich cookies
2 to 3 tablespoons chocolate chips, melted
Milano cookies and mellowcreme pumpkin candies, as needed
1. Make the pudding: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt until well combined. Slowly stream in the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, until fully incorporated.
2. Place the saucepan over low heat and use a silicone spatula to stir and scrap the bottom and side of the pan frequently, cooking until the mixture coats the back of the spatula but does not boil, 10 to 25 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips and continue to cook, stirring, until thick and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
3. Using a ladle or serving spoon, spoon the warm pudding into 6 to 8 individual cups or ramekins. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill until set, 2 to 3 hours. (To prevent a “skin” from forming on top of the pudding, you can press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding, but this is optional.)
4. While the pudding chills, separate the cookies into halves. Using a spoon or table knife, scrape out the filling and discard or reserve for another use. Transfer the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely crumbled. (If you don’t have a food processor, place the cookies in a resealable bag and crush them with a rolling pin.)
5. Place the melted chocolate in a small resealable bag and cut a small piece of one corner of the bag. Pipe tombstone markings on the Milano cookies to make “gravestones.” Set aside so the chocolate can set.
6. To assemble the dirt cups, top each pudding cup with a few tablespoons of cookie crumbs, then decorate with the cookie “gravestones” and mellowcreme pumpkins before serving.