A lot of our family traditions revolve around food. There's doughnuts for a birthday breakfast, bacon sarnies on Christmas morning, Takeaway Thursdays, Pesto Pasta on the first night of our holidays ... you know the kind of thing.
Let me tell you about another one ...
One of the great things about living in Dubai is that water parks are a joy. For most of the year, there's no shivering inside a towel, no blue lips, no corned beef legs and not much of a sharp intake of breath when you hit the water. In fact, when the temperatures are sky high, a water park is just the job for a family day out. And there's plenty to choose from too - Dreamland (2 x teenage sons think it's rather lame which is probably why it's my favourite. And it's somewhat trapped in time too. I like a bit of that), Wild Wadi and Iceland (not strictly in Dubai but close enough to jump in the car and drive there for the day). But our favourite is always Aquaventure at the iconic Atlantis Hotel on the Palm. This is a serious water park with plenty of rides that are not for the fainthearted - which must mean that I am on the fainthearted spectrum because a couple of them are completely not for me. There's also one that is even rejected by 2 x teenage sons - the name 'The Leap of Faith' says it all.
Anyway back to the food.
I would say that we probably only get to Aquaventure once a year (more if we have visitors) - life just gets in the way. And when we do get there, by the time it's home time, we're all pretty bushed - all that sun, adrenalin and thrashing around in the water takes its toll. Walking back to the car always takes us past the ice cream shop, Cold Stone Creamery, and it's become a tradition that we end our day by popping in there for a bit of a cooling ice cream treat.
You may well know Cold Stone. They're a big US chain of ice cream stores and their trademark is ice cream made freshly every day, an enormous variety of flavours and an enormous variety of toppings. You choose your combination of ice cream and toppings and the Cold Stone Creamery guy mashes them all together on a marble slab (that'll be the 'cold stone'), makes it into a hefty ball and then ... wait for it, wait for it ... throws the ice cream ball through the air to his colleague at the end of the counter who (hopefully) catches it in a cup. I've seen it hit the deck before, but I'm sure that's all part of the fun.
They have a whole range of signature combinations, or you can, of course, create your own. And we're all BIG fans of their Mud Pie Mojo combination - in fact none of us would dream of having anything else. Coffee ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate sauce, an Oreo cookie, a few little pieces of fudge and a sprinkling of toasted almonds. Really ... honestly ... it's utterly delicious.
Years ago, I remember trying to recreate Mud Pie Mojos for some great friends when we visited them in Ireland - I was THAT excited to share the gorgeousness! The local shop was pretty small so I seem to recall that I had to use substitutes for everything - apart from the peanut butter and the chocolate sauce. Our friends were polite and gushed appropriately. But they understood. They got it because these were the same friends who experienced that classic, elegant Italian dessert Affogato (vanilla ice cream, quite literally 'drowned' in a hot espresso) at a fancy restaurant and then rushed home to recreate it, but could only get value ice cream and Mellow Birds. I'm not sure there's ever a place for Mellow Birds in the world of substitutions. Or in the world at all, come to think of it.
But now I've cracked it. It's worth hunting out the right ingredients - especially the coffee ice cream (you don't see it everywhere) but when you have everything, this is a big impact, low effort dessert. And, if you're feeling really adventurous you could even try juggling the ball of ice cream ...
And to celebrate my 100th post (where did that time go?), I've also done my first video to accompany the post. It is my very first, so be gentle with me ... but for a first attempt I'm pretty pleased. More importantly, it very clearly shows how easy this dessert is to throw together ... Mash. Put it in a dish. Sprinkle. Drizzle. Done.
So here's why a Mud Pie Mojo will almost certainly soon be a food tradition for you too (and probably a lot more frequently than once a year) -
- This really is a 'throw it together' dessert. Cutting up the fudge is the only bit of prep required. I'm liking that.
- Sometimes it's nice to be able to indulge in a Mud Pie Mojo without going to a water park first. This is the perfect special occasion ice cream to eat at home - let's celebrate a good score in a Maths test, a win at the swim gala, the 100th blog post, a day with a 'y' in it ....
- Perfect for a dinner party too. Here's a tip to make the construction a bit easier ... Pre-scoop the ice cream into balls on a baking tray/tin and then pop it back into the freezer until you're ready to do your magic. This also helps to avoid the last person receiving a very melted attempt. And it's less frantic and stressful for you too.
- This is also an ideal, indulgent dessert for one and I've even listed the ingredients below as for a single portion. Sounds like it would be spot on for a home alone evening treat.
- This is a super sweet and delicious dessert but it's also seriously rich (the peanut butter mostly I suspect). The Cold Stone original is an enormous portion - too big for me for sure - but I think you appreciate its deliciousness more in a smaller size. One scoop of ice cream with all the trimmings in a dainty glass is perfect. And if it isn't, you can always make a second.
So watch the video, enjoy the story, tell your friends, but most of all give this a try. Who said that dessert needed to be hard work? Not me for sure.