If your restaurant has had success featuring a manufacturer-branded item on its dessert menu, or if you’re wondering if doing so might boost your operation’s sales, the makers of Oreo cookies have an idea you can try. It’s a dessert spin on chips and salsa that pairs “chips” made from the brand’s chocolate cookies with a simple fresh strawberry salsa. It’s a no-brainer idea that, surprisingly, no one seems to have thought of before.
Oreo-branded desserts are fixtures on many restaurant menus, particularly in the family and casual dining segments. But this new one is a byproduct of a promotional push aimed at amateur cooks. The idea of this “Snack Hack” effort was to find out-of-the-ordinary uses for Oreo cookies that would appeal to foodies in or around the millennial demographic. Ideally the whole works would go viral, with foodies contributing their own recipes and sharing them with their online friends.
Mondelez International, now of the owner of Oreo-maker Nabisco, hired a trio of celebrity chefs—Michael Voltaggio, Roy Choi and Nguyen Tran—to get the Snack Hack recipe ball rolling. The company posted their ideas on the promotion’s dedicated Tumblr page.
The plan was for the chefs to come up with fun, consumer-level fare, not restaurant-worthy items. But one of chef Michael Voltaggio’s ideas—an Oreo-based dessert tortilla chips/strawberry salsa combo—has the potential to become a monster seller at a wide range of restaurants. It’s billed as a ‘game-time snack,” but we can envision many uses in foodservice.
Voltaggio is the owner of ink. and ink.sac restaurants in Los Angeles and was the winner of Top Chef season six. "I've always thought outside the box and experimented with food,” he says. “In particular, I love to look at classics, pull them apart and put them back together in a different way, which is why I was so excited to hack an iconic cookie like Oreo."
Voltaggio possesses killer technique, but he didn’t need much of it to create this easy-to-make dish. It’s just tortillas in which ground-up cookies have replaced masa harina flour. Here’s his recipe:
36 Oreo cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup water
¼ cup powdered sugar
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
1. Blend cookies, flour and water in food processor until ball of dough is formed.
2. Divide ball of dough into two pieces. Roll each ball until paper-thin between two sheets of parchment paper.
3. Place on cookie sheets, remove top piece of parchment paper and score dough using pizza cutter. Bake in oven for approx. 10-15 minutes.
4. Remove, and break apart. Garnish with powdered sugar.
The strawberry salsa is simple, too. Just combine hulled strawberries, lime juice, fresh mint and sugar to taste.
Watch Voltaggio make his Oreo Tortilla Chips with Strawberry Salsa >>
The result, pictured above, is a good-looking dish that is deceptively easy to make.
Want to give it a try in your restaurant? May is National Strawberry Month, so it’s a good time to promote a clever new use of strawberries such as this one. We’re thinking it has special appeal to families or guests who want to share a dessert. One thing’s sure: Everyone is familiar with the chips and salsa format and probably equally aware of Oreos. We can’t see many “veto votes” when a server suggests this one.