Make Cookie Magic, No Elves Required: Homemade Magic Middles

I've never eaten a Keebler Magic Middle cookie and never will, because the cookie has been discontinued. So it wasn't nostalgia that made me try Stella Parks' recipe for Homemade Magic Middles from Bravetart. It was the simple fact that I needed some cookies for an event at the office the following day and I didn't have a lot of time. This recipe is relatively quick and easy, requiring only basic ingredients that I always have on hand.

Stella's Magic Middles are essentially vanilla sugar cookies wrapped around a pure chocolate core. The filling is just finely chopped dark chocolate, so I weighed out the specified amount of Cacao Barry Extra-Bitter 64% Guayaquil and ran it through the food processor. I don't like chopping chocolate by hand -- unless it's only a small amount or a coarse chop is all that's required -- because it can be a very messy task. I put the round balls of chocolate-filled dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and they flattened out nicely during baking.
Even though I had fully enclosed all of the chocolate before putting the cookies in the oven, several cookies developed cracks during baking that allowed bits of chocolate to show through, as you can see in the photo above. As the headnote promised, the cookies were amazing fresh from the oven: they were "the best kind of gooey mess, warm and wonderful and soft." But the cookies were fantastic even at room temperature, with a fudgy, decadent center. Since I've never had a Keebler Magic Middle, I can't compare these to the real thing -- but they weren't what I was expecting. For some reason, I had assumed that the vanilla cookie would have a shortbread-like texture. Instead, it was wonderfully chewy. Overall, the flavor profile reminded me of a Pepperidge Farm Milano, or the sugar cookies with M&Ms that I love. They were delightful.

The cookbook says that you can keep the cookies for two days after baking and I found that to be spot on. By day three, they had declined sharply in quality. Fortunately, these homemade Magic Middles are so good that having leftovers shouldn't be a problem!

Recipe: "Homemade Magic Middles" from Bravetart by Stella Parks (the recipe in the cookbook is not the same as the version Stella published on Serious Eats in 2012).