Serious Eats: Sweets
BraveTart: Make Your Own Magic Middles
Writing about Magic Middles, making a recipe for them, makes me feel like that person at the Police Department who sketches a criminal's portrait while listening to the victim's account. You see, I have never tasted a Magic Middle nor seen one in the wild. But based on eye witness reports and video footage, I've taken on the role of a forensic chef in the hunt for America's Most Wanted Cookie.
Reports describe the texture of the cookie itself as somewhere between a Chips Ahoy and a Soft Batch. Soft, but not too soft. Crunchy, but not too crunchy. Raph, but not too Raph. The middle itself allegedly had a texture like fudge— not gooey exactly, but soft enough to give way when the cookie broke in half. Reports indicate the Middles had an intense chocolaty punch but also ample sweetness. Rumor has it some Magic Middles had chips while others did not; accounts often mention Mini Middles as well.
Taking a wild stab at a cookie that could bridge the gap between Chips Ahoy and Soft Batch didn't take much effort. Mastering a filling that would stay put, however, took a lot more thought. A ganache filling would just bubble out in the oven, but a pure chocolate filling would cool into a solid mass. Neither match the description.
To strike a balance, I needed a hard ganache. Normally, that means making a ganache with twice as much chocolate as cream. But in a 350°F oven, that proves not nearly hard enough. So I wound up with something that only barely qualifies as ganache—more like chocolate with a slight adulteration of cream. I needed five times more chocolate than cream for it to hold up in the oven. Just enough excess fat and liquid to keep the chocolate from taking on a firm set at room temperature, but enough chocolate solids to prevent the mixture from liquefying in the oven.
So please, make these cookies, evaluate them, post your critiques and help me bring Magic Middles to justice.
Get the Recipe
About the Author: Stella Parks suffers from an unhealthy obsession with recreating the mass produced snacks of her childhood, but ironically is employed by a Frenchman to make the high brow desserts of his childhood. She blogs that dichotomy at bravetart.com and can be followed on Twitter at @thebravetart.