Serious Eats: Sweets

We Try Burger King's New Molten Fudge Desserts

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[Photographs: Todd Brock; except where noted]

They had me at "molten."

Think about that word, and what does your mind conjure up? Oozing. Flowing. Dangerously hot. Add the word fudge after it, and the mental picture gets exponentially better, right? Decadent chocolate, suspended in that lovely limbo between solid and liquid, gushing with geological-speed purpose out of a cakey shell and ultimately enveloping you in the inevitability of its rich, sweet...

Ahem.

Sorry. This is a fast food dessert we're talking about.

Burger King is still trying to fool us into believing that they're kinda sorta upscale now, with limited-time menu items like their new Molten Fudge Bites. For $1.69 (at my local BK), you get four 1-inch balls per order, lightly crisped on the outside and barely dusted with powdered sugar.

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Inside, they were not quite what I had envisioned. No oozing. No flowing. No slow-motion flood of piping hot fudge. The sensation was not one of a liquefied filling that was separate from its brownie outer casing, but rather of a brownie bite that's simply uncooked all the way through. I'm not saying that's what we have here, BK lawyers, I'm just saying that's what this reminded me of.*

*An important, and (I think) legally absolving distinction.

And while the Molten Fudge Bites didn't taste bad per se, they certainly weren't what the promotional pics implied... and I wouldn't go out of my way to order them again. The half-ounce spheres ultimately weren't terribly satisfying. They made me think, "Boy, these might be better if they were IN something else..."

...like ice cream. BK's crack test kitchen has beaten us to the DIY punch by also offering a Molten Fudge Sundae ($2.29). A squirt of hot fudge starts the party, followed by a single Molten Fudge Bite. Then vanilla soft serve is piled on, then more hot fudge, then caramel sauce. And the whole thing is topped off with a second Bite. All right, Your Majesty, you have my attention.

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[Photo at left: Burger King]

(sigh...) On the left is the official PR shot of the sundae. On the right is how mine looked a mere 6 minutes after receiving it. The upshot is, I guess the Bites at least started off hot, 'cos in the time it takes a normal person to eat the Whopper meal they presumably also got, their sundae has melted into a gloppy mess.

Full disclosure time. I actually like the whole cake-and-melted-ice-cream combo. When I get birthday cake and a scoop, I put it in a bowl (not on a plate, thankyouverymuch) and nuke the whole thing until the ice cream starts to get runny. I stop short of actual soupiness, but "gloppy mess" is more or less my end goal.

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So while I had no issue with what my sundae had turned into, texturally speaking, I didn't appreciate the godawful mess it made outside of (and all up and down) the plastic cup. And I'd have been livid had I been trying to eat this in the car.

My bigger problem, though, was the Fudge-Bite-to-ice-cream ratio. One Bite at the top of the sundae means you pretty much have to down that first just to get to the ice cream. And then you don't get another Bite until most of the ice cream is gone. And the Bites themselves are just crisp enough on the outside (and now slightly frozen after sitting in vanilla soft serve) that slicing through them with that plastic BK spoon is near impossible. So in the end this is a small (just 195 grams total) ice cream sundae featuring two bites (literally) of a chocolate brownie with what tastes like an uncooked center.

And even a fast food joint should be able to do better than that. Molten is a wonderful word. Its reputation shouldn't be sullied by these lackluster desserts.

About the Author: Todd Brock lives the glamorous life of a stay-at-home freelance writer in the suburbs of Atlanta. Besides being paid to eat cheeseburgers for AHT and pizzas for Slice, he's written and produced over 1,000 hours of television and penned Building Chicken Coops for Dummies. When he grows up, he wants to be either the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys or the drummer for Hootie & the Blowfish. Or both.

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