I have a friend. A very special one. To prove how special he is, I'll show you something that he made me one day. Dear god were they good. The bottom part is a brownie, and the top part kind of tastes like the inside of a Cadbury Creme Egg. When I asked for the recipe, he said kindly but firmly, NO.
Well, I never. But luckily, he has other good qualities. One of them is that he enjoys the life of a Cake Gumshoe, and when he visits Philadelphia, he's willing to go on long bakery jaunts with me.
And on a recent tour of the East Passyunk area of Philadelphia, we tried this cookie at Varallo Brothers Pasticceria. While it may slightly resemble a Fig Newton, I need to tell you that it was a million times better because it was filled with chocolate.
And as a side note, we also got a cannoli.
I should further mention that this was all after a slice of pizza from the weirdest pizza place in the world, La Rosa Pizza. Let's just say David Lynch would love this pizza place.
But I digress. Back to that cookie. That beautiful chocolate stuffed cookie. At the bakery they just said it was a "chocolate slice", but it seemed to resemble one called cuccidati (though it is traditionally filled with fig, and I don't think there was secret fig in this cookie...or was there?).
At any rate, it was a highly enjoyable experience.
So when my friend returned back home, we were delighted to play a little bit of pastry pen pal. I found a recipe (via the book Taste of Home Baking: 125 Bake-Sale Favorites!) for something called "Fudge Filled Dessert Strips", which sounded similar enough to call to mind that tasty chocolate slice. I sent him the recipe, and he made it and sent me pictures so I could share it with you, dear readers.
The cookies are reported as being "extremely dense and decadent", but surprisingly easy to make. The dough was rather easy to work with, he reports, and the finished product perfect with ice cream for dessert, or rather tasty for an indulgent breakfast.
You see, in this pastry pen pal relationship everyone wins, because he got to have a baking adventure and a delicious dessert, and I got a great recipe to post. But wait...where's my dessert? Well, ok, maybe not everyone wins.
But you can be a winner by making a batch! Here's the recipe with some adaptations from the original.
Fudge-Filled Dessert Strips - Printable Recipe here!
Adapted from Taste of Home Baking: 125 Bake-Sale Favorites!
Makes about 3 dozen
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups chopped pecans (original recipe called for walnuts)
- confectioners' sugar, optional
In a large bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and mix well. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, about 3 minutes. Divide dough into fourths; cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, or until easy to handle.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips with milk; stir until smooth. Stir in the nuts. Cool to room temperature.
Roll out each portion of dough on to an ungreased baking sheet into an 11x6.5 inch rectangle. Spread 3/4 cup of the filling down the center of each rectangle. Fold long sides to the center; press to seal all the edges. Turn over so the seam sides are down.
Bake at 350 degrees for 27-32 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.