These Copy Cat Pepperidge Farm Brussels Cookies are dead ringers for the originals…they take a bit of effort, but the result is well worth it!
You might already know that I have an obsession with the Pepperidge Farm treats from my childhood. Have you tried my Cold Chocolate Snacking Cake? I nailed that recipe just like I nailed these cookies…they aren’t difficult to make, but they are delicate and time consuming. You bake them by teeny weeny 1/4 teaspoonfuls, and only 6 or so at a time. Let’s just say they are a labor of love. There is no definitive copy-cat recipe online, so I had to do some sleuthing. I tried 3 versions and came up with the best. So you’re lucky… I fell into all the pitfalls so you don’t have to.
One thing that makes this process fun is that Brussels are a fairly unusual cookie. They almost have a praline type of texture, minus the nuts, of course. That paired with the dark chocolate center layer makes them very sophisticated.
I was surprised to read these cookies have been made since the 1950s, when Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin discovered a local bakery on a visit to Brussels and purchased the rights to their line of fancy chocolate cookies (Milano was another of them). A quick search on the Internet reveals that the likely source of the Brussels crisp outer cookie is the Swedish Oatmeal Lace cookie, a vintage recipe that spreads when baked and crisps up almost like candy when cooled. If you sandwich some melted dark chocolate in between two of them, you’ve got a dead ringer for the classic Pepperidge Farm Brussels.
You know the best part about making Brussels cookies from scratch? You can put an extra thick layer of chocolate inside. Or customize them with white chocolate. Talk about a thrill.
You need a light touch to make these cookies, they are very fragile. But if you’re careful you’ll end up with a uniquely elegant result. I found the silpat silicone mat to be indispensable, You can try using parchment paper, but It didn’t work as well for me. You need to watch the oven like a hawk; these bake fast, and over-bake even faster. They are ready when they are golden around the edge. Let them cool for about a minute before easing them onto a cooling rack. I only baked about 6 at a time because they need a lot of attention. In this case I recommend using chocolate chips for the center, since they tend to melt up thicker than baking chocolate, which is good here because you don’t want chocolate dripping through the lacy texture of the cookie when you fill it.
Brussels Cookies, just for fun
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup rolled oats finely ground (use your mini processor)
- 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup melted shortening
- 2 Tbsp heavy or whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 12 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
- Set oven to 375F
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat, this is important.
- Mix all the ingredients together and blend the dough well.
- Using 1/4 teaspoon as a measure make small balls and place them on the silpat lined baking sheet, a couple of inches apart.. Bake for for 5 minutes until they are golden around. Let stand a few seconds before removing from pan to a cooling rack. You'll need a very thin spatula to do this. The cookies harden as they cool.
- When the cookies are completely cool, flip them over and match them up in pairs. Lay them out on a piece of waxed paper.
- Put the chocolate in a glass measuring cup and heat in short bursts in the microwave, stirring in between until just melted.
- Spread a small amount of chocolate onto the bottom cookie, and then top it with another. You can use a small spoon and spreading knife, but do it very gently as the cookies shatter easily. Let the cookies sit to harden, or put them in the refrigerator. Once they are filled and chilled, they will be a little more sturdy In fact they taste great straight from the fridge.