Fudgies: Grownup cookies for your inner child

First, there were Burry’s Fudgetowns. Then, Dare Chocolate Fudge Cookies. Now, Nabisco’s Oreo Fudgees.

And, coming soon to a cookie jar near you: Fudgies, the cookie for grownups who like to play with their food.

You know who you are. You’re the one who breaks apart the Oreo in order to eat the  top cookie first, then the bottom cookie with its thick layer of sumptuous icing. You pick the toppings off pizza—mushroom by pepperoni slice by olive. And then there’s the appearance of your inner artist every time you grab the can of Reddi-wip…

I grew up with Fudgetowns. Crisp chocolate cookies. Rich, dark fudge filling. Best of all, a hole in the center perfectly sized for a kid to poke her finger through. Which I did, creating both a cookie “ring” to wear on my finger, and a fingerful of fudge.

Alas, Burry’s Fudgetowns are no more. Dare fudge cookies come close, but only one cookie in the sandwich has a hole—not so good for finger-poking.

And Oreo Fudgees have no holes at all.

What’s a cookie apprecianado to do? Recreate Fudgetowns, in a version large enough to poke my adult finger through.

Introducing Fudgies. Finger-poking, filling-scraping, finger-licking fun for grownups.

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In the absence of the late lamented Burry Fudgetowns, I went to Plan B for inspiration: Dare fudge cookies. The hole in their centers doesn’t go all the way through, thus preventing the poke-through maneuver. But the texture and taste of cookie and filling are quite similar to the original.

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How do you get that  extra light, crisp-crunchy texture in a cookie? Ammonium carbonate, a.k.a. baker’s ammonia. The recipe gives a baking powder equivalent, but if you like cookies with crunch, baker’s ammonia is SO worth it. Back me up here, readers. Aren’t those Vanilla Dreams divine? These cookies are the chocolate equivalent.

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It helps to dissolve the baker’s ammonia in liquid first. Since the only liquid used is vanilla, that’s what we’ll use.

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Stir to dissolve. It’s OK for a bit to remain undissolved n the bottom of the cup.

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Mix the vanilla/baker’s ammonia with salt, sugar, espresso powder, and butter.

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Mix till smooth. This is clumpy.

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This is smooth. By the way, if you read a recipe and it tells you to “cream” the butter and sugar, this is what it should look like.

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Add flour and Dutch-process cocoa. Can you use unsweetened baking cocoa? Sure; the flavor won’t be as rich, and the texture might be slightly altered, due to unsweetened baking cocoa’s lower (more acidic) pH. Me, I use our Double Dutch cocoa, which is lively blend of Dutch-process and extra-dark black cocoas.While the cocoa itself doesn’t look dark, it produces ebony-dark brownies, cookies, cake, and fudge sauce.

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Mix to combine. The mixture will look very dry; keep beating.

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Eventually it’ll work itself into a stiff dough. If you didn’t measure your flour with the sprinkle and sweep method, and used too much flour, you may find that the dough doesn’t come together. That’s why it’s important to measure flour correctly. If your dough never comes together, despite lengthy beating, dribble in a bit of water till it does.

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Scoop out chestnut-sized pieces of dough. Here’s how heaped up a teaspoon cookie scoop should be—a generous 2 measuring teaspoonfuls of dough.

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About this size.

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Round the stiff dough into balls.

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Place the balls on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2” to 2” between them; the cookies will spread as they bake.

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Flatten with the bottom of a drinking glass—or the pusher from a food processor. If it sticks, dip the glass bottom lightly in some cocoa.

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Press the dough to about 1/4” thick.

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See how much space I’ve left between these cookies?

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Just barely enough. Caveat emptor.

Now, here’s the challenge: finding something to cut out the center hole. An apple corer works well. So does a cannoli tube.What you need is something that can cut a 3/4″ to 1″ hole. Have it ready; you need to work quickly once the cookies are out of the oven.

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Cut a hole in the center of each cookie. If you dub around and wait too long, the cookies become crisp, and may break as you cut the hole.

So, what if you absolutely can’t figure out how to cut holes in the centers of the cookies? No worries; just go without. Of course, then you won’t be able to poke your finger into the fudge in the hole in the center, but that’s the price you pay for not having an apple corer or cannoli tube or a teeny-tiny biscuit cutter. Or…? Readers, tell us what you use  to cut these holes.

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A toothpick is a good tool for removing the cutout centers.

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Be sure to keep the cutouts. You’ll see why later.

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Next, the thick fudge filling. I found, after the fact, that the cookies will stay crunchier if you apply this filling when it’s completely cool. So to be more time-efficient, you might want to make the filling first, then the cookies.

Let’s start with ganache: chocolate chips and heavy cream. I’ve added corn syrup, too. The corn syrup helps the filling retain its relatively soft texture. If 1/8 teaspoon of corn syrup in a cookie bothers you, leave it out.

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Heat till the cream starts to bubble; this is easily done in a microwave.

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Remove from the heat, and stir. Trust me, the filling will look VERY unpromising at this point.

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Keep stirring. The chocolate will form itself into a gloppy lump in the center.

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Eventually it’ll smooth out. Stir in the vanilla.

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Add the sifted (yes, sifted) confectioners’ sugar. (Just run it through a sieve; sifting prevents lumpy filling.)

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Stir to combine.

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First, I set the cookies on a cooling rack, and dolloped on the filling. DUH. What do you think happened? You got it, the filling ran right out the bottom. Luckily, I’d set the rack over a parchment-lined pan.

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Plan B: Put half the cookies on a parchment-lined pan. Yes, half the cookies; remember, these are sandwich cookies, so half will remain unfilled.

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Use a scoop to add the filling.

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Like this.

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Spread filling nearly to the edge of the cookies.

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Top each filled cookie with a plain cookie, pressing down gently.

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Looking good. Leave the cookies on the pan until they chocolate is set, which will take several hours. Once it’s set, lift each cookie off the sheet with a spatula, and serve—or wrap for storage.

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Here’s the Dare cookie (left) and your homemade Fudgie (right).

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Dare (left); homemade (right). Pretty similar amount of filling and thickness of cookie, eh?

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Remember that little circle you punched out of the center of each cookie? You can now use any leftover bits of filling to make the Smallest Sandwich Cookies Ever.

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Yum.

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And yum again. Aren’t these handsome?

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OK, here comes the playing with your food part.

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Ah, success!img_5433.JPG

Save the glob of fudge filling for the end. That’s what I do.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Fudgies.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Dare Chocolate Fudge Cookies, 26¢/ounce

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Bake at home: Fudgies, 17¢/ounce

Ingredients: King Arthur Flour, butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baker’s ammonia, chocolate chips, cream, corn syrup

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Trisha

    And you are so right about Vanilla Dreams cookies–they are the BEST! My family always preferred soft, chewy cookies until I tried them. Now I can’t wait to try the Fudgies. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
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  3. Audrey

    I’m always intrigued by all the recipes out there for homemade Oreos, and homemade Girl Scout Cookies…these look equally good! I was wondering how you got the imprint – the idea of using the food processor pusher as a cookie stamp is brilliant!

    I wanted to look at the recipe to see if you could use ‘regular’ leaveners in place of the Baker’s Ammonia, but the link isn’t working yet…will check back!

    Audrey – You may use 1 1/2 t. of baking powder in place of the Baker’s Ammonia. EFB @ KAF

    Audrey, the link should be working now- PJH

    Reply
  4. Mike T.

    Mmmm, looks good PJ! Question, how would they turn out if you rolled the dough and used Linzer cutters to do the cookies/holes?

    Mike, why not just bake them and use linzer inserts to make the holes after they’re baked? A lot easier. You can roll them out, sure, but why bother if you don’t have to? GREAT idea, by the way – I never thought of linzers… PJH

    Reply
  5. Marcia

    Wow, I haven’t thought of Fudgetowns in years! A chocolate version of Vanilla Dreams with that essential hole to poke the fudge through has got to put Oreos and all those other “wannabes” to shame. Definitely my next cookie project. Thanks for bringing back the [improved] Fudgetowns!

    You’re a girl after my own heart, Marcia – PJH

    Reply
  6. curiousdomestic

    I’ve never heard of bakers ammonia before. Maybe I could find it in a specialty store?

    Not sure about a specialty store. Perhaps a drugstore – ask the druggist. But you can also find it right here at kingarthurflour.com. Baker’s Ammonia. Go for it! PJH

    Reply
  7. carla

    The link does not work :-(

    Sorry, Carla – don’t know why not. I’ve checked all the links just now, and they’re fine. Try again??? PJH

    Reply
  8. Knead2quilt

    You’ve been looking in my cabinets again. I decided I’m in a rut baking the same old-same old and wanted something new and different. Well, here they are and I even have ALL the ingredients on hand! They look so good I can taste them already. Thanks for what I’m sure will be a big hit with me and my friends!
    K2Q

    We aim to please, S! – PJH

    Reply
  9. Joanne

    The fudgies look delicious but I am more of a “soft” cookie kind of gal. If I use the baking powder instead of the baker’s amonia, will they become a softer cookie? I also have an idea for making the hole in the center…I’m going to tray the back end of a cake icing tip.

    Oh yeah, Joanne, good idea about the cake decorating tip – just right! Baking powder will make them a tiny bit softer, but not sure you’ll ever get a really soft cookie. Suggestion: make them as it says, with baking powder. Store them in a roomy container (Say, a big Ttupperware), not tightly packed, with a few aslices of apple. They should soften up, just like brown sugar does. PJH

    Reply
  10. Shirley

    You’ve done it again. I’m on vacation in a week and I’ll try these along witht he lemon cookies. How can I ever keep my weight under control??????oh well…back to WW in the fall.

    Reply
  11. Emilie

    Hi PJ. Quick question — I’ve made the cookies (the cookie ‘holes’ are a yummy preview!) and am just starting on the filling. The procedure/photos in the blog have choc. chips, corn syrup, vanilla, cream and 10X sugar. In the recipe, the ingredient list is the same but the directions (#11) mention baking chocolate and butter and don’t mention vanilla. I’m going to go by the blog right now and hope my guess is right, but thought I’d ask just the same. Thanks.

    Emilie

    WHOOPS – Sorry Emilie, typo – thanks for picking it up. I’ll fix when I get to work tomorrow. Ignore the baking chocolate – should be just chips, corn syrup, and cream. The vanilla gets added after, then the sugar after that. I’d better go back and look at the blog photos, too, to see if I translated them correctly to the recipe… PJH

    Reply
  12. flourchild

    I’ve been a fan of KAF’s bakers ammonia for a while now. I am writing to back up PJ. The Vanilla Dreams are the best and are a top seller at the farmers market I bake for. It begins again on May 23 so I will be offering these Fudgies as well. I am not a fan of soft cookies and the ammonia really gives them a crisp snap that I love and gives them a bakery quality. I will come back and rate the cookies after I bake them. BTW, I would like to ask people to post ratings after baking the cookie. Currently, the cookie has only 3 stars based on one review and the fact that that person didn’t know what size a chestnut was before baking. Someone flipping through the recipes, looking for a standout, might pass this recipe by based on the rating and that would be not only unfair, but a shame.

    Reply
  13. Erin in PA

    YUMMY! I made the Vanilla Dreams this holiday and they were a big hit. I made my Faux-reos too last summer, but have been wanting to re-do them now that I have the baker’s ammonia – this looks like I have my oppurtunity!

    Reply
  14. Cindy

    I was thinking of linzers too — I have a whole bunch of cute cutters for that purpose. I would leave the bottom cookie uncut. I was also thinking of sprinkling the fudgy opening with nonpariels to glam them up — I’m going to have to try this!

    Reply
  15. HMB

    Curiousdomestic asked whether baker’s ammonia is available in specialty stores. In the San Francisco Bay Area, it can be found in a couple of German deli/specialty stores in the city and on the Peninsula. And an upscale grocery store near me with a large “international foods” section carries it seasonally (for Advent/Christmas cookies).

    Reply
  16. Emilie

    I made these cookies last night, and they are really good. REALLY rich, though. Even my son, who’s a chocoholic, could only eat one and a half. The other thing I was surprised at was they’re not as crispy as I expected (I used KAF baker’s ammonia) — not nearly as much as Vanilla Dreams (which I love). Maybe the chocolate tempers the crispy crunch a tad? All in all still a good cookie, though.

    Yes, it’s true the filling does make the cookies lose some of their crunch. Try letting the filling cool before spreading, if you want a crisper cookie. It’ll still be spreadable. PJH

    Reply
  17. Denise

    YUM! Those look terrific. My daughter has a birthday coming up and I just may make those for her class treat!! I some mini heart, star and circle cookie cutters that I will probably use for the center, although I love the idea of using the apple corer.

    I have to share another use for the apple corer. We used it last fall when carving pumpkins. It started out as a way to make “eyes” in the pumpkin but my son came up with the idea of making holes all over the pumpkin. When you put the candle inside, it gave off a kind of disco ball effect.

    Can’t wait to try these cookies!!

    Reply
  18. Julie

    Question: is the dough such that simply piping open rounds with a cookie press could work?

    They look gorgeous. As do Fauxreos – and lime sandwich cookies! And most other things on the KAF blog. Lucky for me, black cocoa just arrived…. and (here, at least) it’s almost summertime.

    Julie, give the piping a try – I think the dough might be a bit stiff, but it’s a good idea… Thanks for sharing. PJH

    Reply
  19. Nel

    I have a question about baker’s ammonia cookie doughs in general. Some time ago you did a blog on chocolate chip cookies which talked about letting the dough ‘ripen’ in the fridge overnight or longer, to enhance the flavor. I want to know if that holds true with doughs made with baker’s ammonia or not.

    I know that baker’s ammonia will simply disappear in its sealed container if you leave it too long. Will it also ‘leach out’ of cookie dough if you don’t bake the cookies immediately?

    Also, does baker’s ammonia lose its ‘oomph’ in the cupboard? I mean besides simply evaporating. I have some that I bought around Christmastime. It has not evaporated, but will it still work, or does it ‘weaken’ over time?

    Thanks!

    Don’t know the answer for sure, Nel, but I’d say it’s a good guess that, being as volatile as it is, baker’s ammonia will lose its stuff as it sits in moist cookie dough. It does appear to react with moisture as well as heat, thus my educated guess here. I haven’t noticed it losing its ooomph as it sits in the jar, though; I have some I’ve been using for several months now and it seems just fine. PJH

    Reply
  20. Emilie

    Okay PJ — one more question. I’d to make the Oreo version of these cookies, and assumed the KA recipe would have bakers ammonia in the cookie dough to get the crispy crunch of the real thing. However, unlike the other Oreo clone recipe I’ve used before, the KA Faux-Reo recipe doesn’t even have any baking powder (or soda) in it. Is there a way to incorporate the bakers ammonia in the dough, or do they somehow end up with a crunch without it? As always, thanks for your insight into these pressing baking issues!

    Emilie, I don’t like to put B.A. in everything, because so many don’t have it. The Faux-Reos are denser/harder, less crunchy than the Fudgies. You could certainly just make the Fudgie cookie and fill with the Faux-Reo filling – that’s what I’d do. Might want to make them a bit smaller, though. YUMMMMMMP PJH

    Reply
  21. Peony

    Yummmm! My 8-year-old son saw a picture of these, reading over my shoulder, and has been after me ever since to make it with him. I had just printed the recipe off the website and didn’t read this annotated entry — wish I had — we slipped off the learning curve in a couple of places but the cookies still taste GREAT. For looking so wonderful, they don’t really take that long to make!

    To make the holes, I used the small end of a coupler from a cake-decorating bag.

    I’m looking forward to being able to share these with a little friend who’s allergic to eggs.

    Question: I have a ton of leftover filling. Is there anything I can use it for besides more Fudgies?

    You can warm it up and serve it on ice cream, how’s that? :) PJH

    Reply
  22. Nancy

    I tried them, but the chocolate filling is not setting up. Still runs out the holes. When you measure the confectioners sugar, do you sift then measure, or measure then sift? Any suggestion on how to save the remaining chocolate filling? I hate to toss all that chocolate.

    I measured then sifted. The filling will be thick and “flowing” (like thick pancake batter) when warm, then solidify as it cools to a thick paste. Just add more confectioners’ sugar till it’s the consistency you like, Nancy – no problem. PJH

    Reply
  23. catherine wiese

    Hi- I just bought baker’s ammonia to make these cookies. Can you recommend other recipes which use this item? I dont have any and I would hate to let the bottle go to waste! Thanks so much- cant wait to try them

    Try going to our web site and use Baker’s Ammonia as your search word and you find some recipes! Joan@bakershotline

    Reply
  24. Rocky-cat

    Using the back end of a decorating tip occurred to me immediately, too. What I’m wondering about, though, is a peanut butter filling for these cookies. Double chocolate is good, chocolate-peanut butter is amazing. Maybe even half-and-half on the same cookie (I clearly have too much time on my hands). Any thought for a PB filling?

    Hi Rocky – Good idea – use the filling from our Fudge Glazed Creamy Peanut Butter Cake. I think it’ll be just perfect! PJH

    Reply
  25. Lani Kaye

    I’m going to try these but if measuring the flour is so important why not just put in the weight of the flour required. That won’t change no matter how you scoop it onto the scale.

    So how much flour by weight does the recipe require?

    The recipe says to use 6 1/4 ounces of flour. We give both measurements because even though it is nice to weigh your ingredients not everyone has a scale. Joan@bakershotline

    Lani, you can toggle between weight and volume measurements at the top of the list of ingredients in the recipe… PJH

    Reply
  26. Jen P

    I didn’t read through everyone’s but something my family has always used to make the middle (usually of donuts) is a soda bottle cap. Usually takes the dough out by itself too.

    Reply

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