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In Salem, Massachusetts there used to be a wonderful novelty shop called Gourmet Fare. Tucked in among the "psychic" reading places and "witch shoppes," Gourmet Fare was a family-friendly place that sold novelty items, hot sauces, imported European vinegar, spices, and salad dressings, and homemade cookies and brownies. It was at Gourmet Fare that I first discovered 100% Pain hot sauce, one of the most dangerous (and delicious) habanero chili sauces on the face of the Earth. Gourmet Fare was a local legend, and if there was one thing it was best known for, it was this: Bert's Horrible Cookies. These were certainly among the most sinfully delicious chocolate cookies you were likely to eat. And they could only be found at Gourmet Fare. Bert's Horrible Cookies were known far and wide, and they were a must buy for anyone who visited Salem (and were fortunate to know about Gourmet Fare). The cookies themselves were soft chocolate chip, with a dark chocolate truffle center. They were best eaten after microwaving for about 20 seconds. Bert himself retired in late 2006, alas, and Gourmet Fare closed for good in 2009.
But the cookies have not been forgotten. I now present my homage to Bert's Horrible Cookies.
Why do they call them "horrible" cookies? As Bert himself said, "The guy who made the recipe doesn't like chocolate!"
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the cooking surface of your cookie mold with shortening, including the sides.
In the large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the medium bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: butter, sugar, and brown sugar. This can be done by hand if the butter is soft; you may need to soften the butter in the microwave oven for 15 seconds on high. After the sugar and butter are mixed (creamed) together, add egg and vanilla. Stir them all together until thoroughly blended.
Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl and mix them together with the dry ingredients. (This is why the large bowl is needed for the dry ingredients.) Keep stirring until it becomes a thick, clay-like batter. Pour in the chocolate chips and mix it all together.
Using a frosting spreader, spread the batter over the bottom of the mold. Press it around the sides of the mold, but leave an indentation or space in the center to add the truffle filling.
To prepare the filling, melt butter in a saucepan or skillet over low-medium heat. Stir in sugar and cocoa powder. Mix together until the cocoa dissolves and the mixture takes on a thick, semi-solid consistency.
Add the truffle mix to the center of each cookie, then cover with a layer of cookie dough on top.
(Let a young child lick the spoon and the bowl. This is important.)
Place the pan in your oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
After 40 minutes, remove the hot pan from the oven and let it rest for at least five to ten minutes, in order for the cookies to settle.
Serve. Be careful not to burn yourself – the chocolate will still be hot and gooey.