Admit it, the best part of the creme brulee is the delicious, crunchy crust. These cookies take that magical crust and a little vanilla pudding and add them to soft sugar cookies for a creme brulee treat that requires no spoons or forks. Best of all, they're incredibly simple to make!
We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog
That said, vanilla pudding does make a reasonable substitute for creme brulee, especially if you are going to be serving it with something else. Quite a few restaurants use vanilla pudding instead, although maybe a step up from pudding cups. It gets the job done, and in some cases customers have remarked they like that version better (you never know how many noticed it wasn't normal and didn't say anything...). Although you can learn a lot by making the actual custard by one of several methods, and the science behind custards is at least slightly interesting...
And don't go buying one of those $40+ creme brulee torches from a kitchen store, get a $10-15 propane torch at a hardware store. Unless you are going to try to draw detailed images with the burned sugar, the larger, cheaper propane torch is faster and seems to do a better job anyway.