I originally published this recipe in December 2010, and recently cooked them again, with a friend. Just for experience, she made them at her house before our baking session, and found that she had some difficulties with the dough. I could tell immediately that she had overcooked the cookies, but when she described how dry her dough was, I knew that there was probably another problem. We made them again, using the ingredients she had brought and found that the dough was way too dry. The culprit seemed to be the flour. The recipe called for unbleached flour, and that is what she had brought, but it was Gold Metal - Better For Bread, unbleached, and this flour has too much protein in it for the dough to work (we know this because we made them again with Pillsbury unbleached and it worked fine). I have changed the recipe to reflect this - it now calls for all-purpose flour - either unbleached or bleached will work fine, and will be less confusing to those who can only find unbleached bread flour. The other issue was with the 1/2 can of condensed milk. I, of course, did this by weight, using 7 ounces of the condensed milk - which actually turns out to be more than half of the can - even though the can says that it is 14 ounces. The recipe now has a more precise measurement for this. Lastly, we wanted the cookies to look more elegant so we drizzled them with dark and white chocolate. I don't have a picture of the result, but they really looked wonderful.
This recipe is based upon a 1995 $50,000 Pillsbury Bake-off winner called Fudgy Bonbons. It was a really good confection, but not a great one, because the dough was kind of greasy and the filling bland. The original recipe called for using chocolate chips, which got melted together with some butter and then mixed together with condensed milk and flour. Because there was not a very large amount of butter, every time I made the cookies, the chocolate mixture seized - that is, it got stiff and grainy very quickly. The quick fix to this was to melt the chocolate and butter separately, and then to combine the chocolate with the very large quantity of condensed milk, which worked beautifully (as long as the milk is at room temperature!). I also thought that the dough would be smoother and less greasy with less butter in it. In addition to these problems, the original recipe called for using milk chocolate kisses in the center. So here you had a rather sweet wrapping around a mediocre piece of chocolate candy, rather than having a contrast between the two and a superb chocolate candy center. The last problem with the bon bons was that, although they tasted good the first day, after that the candy center hardened and then it was more like eating a wrapped candy, rather than a cookie. All of these objections were easy to fix as you'll see in the following recipe. In my opinion, I've turned a $50,000 bonbon into a $100,000 cookie! Love to have your opinions!
Filled Fudge Cookies
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped ( I used Ghirardelli)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
7 ounces (2/3cup) sweetened condensed milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour, measured by fluffing, scooping and levelling
30 Dove Promise candies, Caramel or Peanut Butter (or solid)
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, for decorating
2 ounces white chocolate, optional (to get it to melt thinly, you need white chocolate with more than 31% cocoa butter (more than 15g/40g chocolate)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with a rack in the center of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl, and heat it on medium power (5) for 1-1/2 minutes. If the chocolate isn't yet melting, heat it for another 30 seconds. Stir, and see if the mixture needs more heating or if it can rest and continue melting on its own. Continue, heating, stirring and resting until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool briefly.
Meanwhile, place the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat it on 10 seconds to melt the butter. Stir the condensed milk and vanilla into the chocolate and then stir in the melted butter.
Add the flour and stir, and then knead the dough until all of the flour has been incorporated.
For square shapes, tamp the cookie on its ends.
How long to let the cookies cool is definitely a matter of preference. After about 2 hours, the cookies will be cool, but the centers will still be totally liquid . I prefer them after about 6 hours when the chocolate has firmed up a bit, but isn't yet hard. By the next day, the centers will have firmed back to their original state. You can put them back onto a cookie sheet and set them in a 100 or 200 degree oven for a minute or two to re-soften the centers slightly.