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 grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  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. 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
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  7. 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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