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.
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.
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.
It helps to dissolve the baker's ammonia in liquid first. Since the only liquid used is vanilla, that's what we'll use.
Stir to dissolve. It's OK for a bit to remain undissolved n the bottom of the cup.
Mix the vanilla/baker's ammonia with salt, sugar, espresso powder, and butter.
Mix till smooth. This is clumpy.
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.
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.
Mix to combine. The mixture will look very dry; keep beating.
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.
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.
About this size.
Round the stiff dough into balls.
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.
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.
Press the dough to about 1/4” thick.
See how much space I've left between these cookies?
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.
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.
A toothpick is a good tool for removing the cutout centers.
Be sure to keep the cutouts. You'll see why later.
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.
Heat till the cream starts to bubble; this is easily done in a microwave.
Remove from the heat, and stir. Trust me, the filling will look VERY unpromising at this point.
Keep stirring. The chocolate will form itself into a gloppy lump in the center.
Eventually it'll smooth out. Stir in the vanilla.
Add the sifted (yes, sifted) confectioners' sugar. (Just run it through a sieve; sifting prevents lumpy filling.)
Stir to combine.
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.
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.
Use a scoop to add the filling.
Spread filling nearly to the edge of the cookies.
Top each filled cookie with a plain cookie, pressing down gently.
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.
Here's the Dare cookie (left) and your homemade Fudgie (right).
Dare (left); homemade (right). Pretty similar amount of filling and thickness of cookie, eh?
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.
And yum again. Aren't these handsome?
OK, here comes the playing with your food part.
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
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