January 1, 2007
The Nosh Pit is a Column Devoted to Niche, Not-so-mainstream Bakery and Snack Food Products. Here, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery Features a Mishmash of Creative Ideas and Magnificently Orchestrated Kitsch That is Embraced With Open Arms … and Mouths!
When tech meets taste, the result is an invention that’s so hot, it’s cool — literally.
Take the Cool Dog, a premium vanilla ice cream molded in the shape of a hot dog, wrapped in a light vanilla sponge cake bun and topped with hot fudge and whipped cream. Peter Franklin, president of Shirley, Mass.-based Cool Dogs, Inc. and the mastermind behind this product, is single-handedly revolutionizing the baking and confectionery industries with his off-beat cold treat and the technology used to produce it.
“My background is mostly in high-tech product development,” Franklin says. “I transferred much of that experience to this venture a few years back, when I came up with the idea while eating a hot dog and thought, ‘since you can top a hot dog with whatever you want, why not do the same thing with ice cream?’”
However, Franklin soon realized that creating a hot dog fashioned entirely from ice cream and cake wasn’t exactly what you’d call a walk in the ballpark.
“I quickly learned that no one could make an ice cream hot dog since all novelties are either on a stick, in a bar and flat on the sides, or in a cup/cone,” he says. “Since a hot dog is rounded on all sides and has no stick, it was deemed ‘impossible’ by ice cream experts.”
Undaunted, Franklin donned his product development hat and put his technical background to work in an effort to figure out how to create a fun, easy-to-eat product that would be a home run with ice cream aficionados. During that lengthy experimental process, he discovered, developed and patented a unique molding process that makes his hot dog shaped treats one-of-a-kind.
“We have two patents issued and one pending on molding ice cream in disposable molds, and have developed industry expertise in combining ice cream and cake,” Franklin says. “Specifically, because we integrate the ice cream and the cake when the ice cream is extremely cold, at -10ºF, there is little or no moisture migration.”
In other words, most ice cream novelties are made by pumping ice cream from a continuous freezer into molds or cups, requiring the ice cream to be soft at 22ºF. Franklin notes that if he used ice cream at that moisture level for Cool Dogs, because they are so soft, moisture would then migrate into the sponge cake and make it soggy.
“By integrating the ice cream when it is hard, we solve that problem,” he says. “We have since developed other applications for integrating hard ice cream into cake products.”
One such application brings hard ice cream into the bakery. It then is processed onsite, leveraging the food processing equipment that the bakery has available and its existing infrastructure to create some unique ice cream novelties.
“The first such product was the Cool Dog,” Franklin says. “We ran the only high volume ice cream novelty facility that didn’t manufacture ice cream.
“Effectively, we have opened up the entire baking and candy industry to being able to add ice cream to their products, by making ice cream an ingredient for them,” he adds. “Previously, all cake and candy were shipped to the ice cream facility as an ingredient, and we have reversed the paradigm.”
Cool Dogs, Inc. also has reversed how consumers see hot dogs. No longer just a fresh-from-the-grill eat, the company’s products are winners with ice cream lovers all over New England, Southern California, Chicago, Northern Texas and Florida.
With tempting varieties such as chocolate and vanilla cake, each with vanilla ice cream, Cool Dogs offer consumers a sweet-tooth fix; they also can customize their dessert by adding toppings such as chocolate chips, candy sprinkles, butterscotch, M&M candies, peanuts, cookie dough, fresh fruit, animal crackers, walnuts, gummy candies and everything else but the kitchen sink.
The suggested retail price (SRP) is $4.50 for a box of four. The product can be found in restaurants, amusement parks, ballparks, convenience stores and supermarkets. Consumers also can visit www.CoolDogInc.com for a list of distributors or retail locations by state, or even to get ideas for how to top what Franklin calls the “best dog-gone sundae around.”