Oh Circus Animal Cookies, why are you so good to me? I can’t live without you and your deliciousness. I’m not ashamed to admit that you are one of my guilty pleasures. It’s my love for you (and zebra cakes) that I’ll never be able to part with. So don’t ever ask me to. I couldn’t picture my life without your pink and white frosting and multi-colored sprinkles. Don’t even get me started on your animal shapes. You’re the cookie of my eye and have been ever since I was a kid. I love you so much that I knew I just had to create a dessert that featured and highlighted your amazing taste and flavor. I didn’t think I’d be able to do you justice, especially because you’re so great all on your own. With that in mind, though, these Circus Animal Cookie Popsicles were born and I’m not looking back. Not only did you become ten times more irresistible, you also became the perfect summer treat. It’s like nothing you do can be wrong, and I love you even more for it.
If you’re anything like me and share my undying love for these store-bought cookies, then you’re going to want to start taking notes because this recipe has your name written all over it. Do you like popsicles? Do you like cookies? Do you sometimes feel like cookies and popsicles just aren’t enough by themselves? Did you ever wish that you could combine the two into one delicious treat? Yeah, me too. Me too all the time. That’s why I’m sharing these popsicles with you right now so that you can add them to your must-make list. Go ahead and move them right to the top because the longer you wait, the longer you’ll be depriving yourself of something unbelievable. What kind of friend would I be if I allowed that to happen?
Let’s get started by making the homemade pudding mixture for the popsicles, which is the base of this entire thing. It’s a basic vanilla pudding recipe, with a fun twist though.
**Note: If you you’re looking for a plain vanilla pudding recipe, you can omit this next step and just make it according to the recipe. Then you’ll have a great vanilla base that you can flavor a thousand different ways!**
To extract the most flavor we possible can from these cookies, we’re going to soak them in the milk we’ll be using for the pudding. The longer you soak the cookies, the better, but keep in mind that they’ll never get fully soft or soggy because of the frosting, but the milk will infuse have no worries.
Let the cookies and milk sit for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. You can leave them overnight if you happen to remember the night before you plan on making them.
**Note: Because of the tiny sprinkles’ color they’ll bleed a little bit into the milk, but don’t worry, it’ll all be fine. I promise.**
Pour the milk and cookies into a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes. This is a crucial step. There will be a layer of thick frothy foam, from the frosting, remove that with a spoon and discard. You only want the liquidity milk part.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slowly pour in that infused cookie milk, while continuously whisking. Add the egg yolks and stir once more. Set over medium heat and cook stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened. Lower flame and cook for 1 minute until thick.
Remove from the heat, transfer to a measuring cup with a spout (this will make it easier to pour into the popsicle mold) and stir in the vanilla extract.
**Note: If your pudding has thickened too much, add a splash or two of milk, and whisk until it has a pourable consistency.**
Fill a popsicle mold halfway with the pudding mixture and then add a few cookie pieces in the center of each. Continue to fill the molds to the top with more pudding. Give the mold a few taps on the counter top to dislodge any air bubbles and fully impact each of the popsicles.
I like the texture that the circus animal cookies give to the popsicles, so I roughly chopped a handful to place in the popsicles themselves right before freezing. This step is completely optional.
Cover with the lid and place in the popsicle sticks in the slots. Freeze until solid, for at least 4 hours or overnight. Once ready to remove the pops from the mold, run the bottom of the mold until lukewarm water for about a minute. Carefully pull the popsicles out.
You can keep these popsicles, in the mold, in the freezer for up to 3 days. Anything more than that and they’ll begin to get that freezer/frost bite taste to it. You know that weird taste I’m talking about? It haunts me.
**Note: To prevent that taste as much as possible, make sure that the popsicle mold stays covered with the lid or with plastic wrap.**
You can really do this with so many other different ingredients. Try it with your favorite cereal flavors. Use the same method we used here. Soak the milk with whatever cereal you love and then instead of blending the cereal in with the milk, just pour the milk through a fine mesh strainer and push down with a spoon to extract the most liquid. Toss the cereal and proceed as directed.
**Tip: This would be great with cinnamon toast crunch, captain crunch, cocoa puffs, cocoa pebbles, and fruity pebbles to name a few. Sprinkle a few pieces of cereal into each popsicle before freezing for added texture as well. Leave some comments below, letting me know what other flavored cereal or cookies you think would work! **
You might have a little bit of pudding leftover when you go to divide the mixture between the popsicle molds, if you have a second mold, by all means fill that one as well. If you don’t have another mold, you can divide it between individual ramekins, wrap each in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. It’s essentially pudding we just made so you can eat it as pudding! Top with a bit of whipped cream and crushed cookies before serving. Also, it goes without saying that you can totally skip the cookie infusing part and just make these plain vanilla. Either way, I hope you enjoy them!
- 2½ cups circus animal cookies, divided
- 3 cups whole milk
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups cookies with milk. Let soak for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. Transfer to a blender and blend on high until smooth. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the foam that develops with a spoon and discard. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly whisk in the infused milk and egg yolks. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until bubbling. Lower heat and cook for about 1 minute, continuing to whisk, until thickened. Remove from the heat, transfer to a large measuring cup with a spout, through a fine mesh sieve and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Fill a popsicle mold halfway with the pudding, add a few crushed cookies into the middle of each popsicle and then continue to fill them to the top. Give the mold a few taps on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles. Cover with the lid, insert the popsicle sticks and freeze until solid for at least 4 hours or overnight. Can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 days. To remove from mold, run warm water on the bottom of the mold for about 1 minute to loosen popsicles.