When I was in college, my grandma Zella would send me care packages. As a graduate of secretarial school in the 1940s, my little Hungarian-born gram never had the experience of microcosmic college life that I had at Frostburg State University. There, on a little campus on the side of a mountain in Western Maryland, my entire existence was wrapped up in papers about subjects I’d never remember today, in presentations for my communications degree, in quarters for laundry, and in the simple joy of grilled cheese day at the dining hall.
Another great joy in campus life was the care package from one’s grandma, and my packages always included some home-baked good, such as Zella’s almond cookies or butterscotch chip cookies, a few cans of Pringles, and some kind of Little Debbie Snack Cakes. The variety of snack cakes depended on the season; in autumn, Fall Party Cakes arrived, and in winter, Christmas Tree Cakes. Any time of year might bring Swiss Rolls, Zebra Cakes, Oatmeal Cream Pies, or Donut Sticks. Despite being one of the best bakers I’ve known, Z definitely believed in the convenience (and affordability) of Little Debbie’s offerings.
I’m not sure if she ever sent me Fudge Rounds, but I bet my gram would be proud of this recipe below; it captures the essence of the Fudge Round perfectly and, dare I say, with even more fudgy goodness than its packaged counterpart. The recipe below is adapted from a few others I found online, adjusting quantities for what I believe to be softer cookies and sturdier filling. You may notice the addition of 1 tablespoon of flour beyond the standard 2 cups in the cookie recipe; my first test batch seemed too soft, even after a few additional minutes of baking, so I added some more flour to stabilize the dough and it worked very well. It’s also important to note the need for salted butter here; if you’re using unsalted, you’ll want to add some salt with your dry ingredients to balance the flavor.
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
- 3/4 cups cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 cups salted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat well.
Add flour mixture in three batches, scraping the sides of the bowl regularly; it will take several scrapings to fully incorporate all of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Using a two-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of dough onto parchment-lined sheets; you should have 6 scoops on each sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are set and centers are still puffy; remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for several minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. I left my batches on for about 8 minutes each.
Cool cookies completely before filling.
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons warm water
In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and butter. Add vanilla and beat until well-combined.
Add cocoa powder and 1 cup powdered sugar; beat until well-combined, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Add 2 more cups powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well and scraping the bowl between each addition. As with the batter for the cookies, it takes a while for the dry ingredients to fully incorporate with the wet ingredients in this recipe.
Add water and beat on low at first, then increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, until filling is light and fluffy. Add remaining 1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar, depending on the consistency of your filling; mine was quite thin, probably due to very soft butter in yesterday’s heat, so I added the full additional 3/4 cup to stabilize it.
Once the cookies have completely cooled, flip them all over; using a 1-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of filling onto half of the cookies, spread with an offset spatula, and top with the remaining cookies.
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
In a large glass measuring cup, melt chocolate chips and vegetable oil by microwaving in 15-second intervals, stirring between each. Pour drizzle into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip and pipe drizzle in wavy shapes. Allow chocolate to set before serving.
Store fudge rounds in single layers in airtight containers.