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Balsamic Fudge Drops

I thought I could add balsamic vinegar to these fabulously easy cookies to make them even more interesting. I love balsamic vinegar with sweets as well as with savories, so how could it not work? In the end, I couldn’t taste the vinegar at all, but the cookies seemed more chocolatey than they ever had before, and were even more fudgy and chewy than the last few times I made them. The balsamic behaved as an enhancer of the chocolate rather than as a discrete flavor. I won’t make these cookies without it again.

This is yet another recipe adapted from Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate by Alice Medrich. Have you bought that book yet? No? Go buy it. Alice Medrich has never yet steered me wrong, and I swear by her recipes. (Except that I think light brown sugar is an abomination upon the earth and should always be replaced with dark brown sugar, and adding vanilla sugar and/or crunchy salt can only improve chocolate treats.) I’ve made them with just those changes before, but now that I have tried the balsamic vinegar, I am finally fully satisfied with the version of these cookies that will remain in my repertoire.

The best part is, you don’t even need a stand mixer to make these. The dough comes together in a single saucepan in just a few moments, and then the cookies take only about 11 minutes to bake. They are a great standby for when you are short on time but still looking for a seriously decadent chocolate fix.

Balsamic Fudge Drops
(adapted from Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate by Alice Medrich)
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 C plus 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
2/3 C granulated sugar
1/3 C dark brown sugar
1/3 C low-fat plain yogurt (sour cream is an acceptable substitute here)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (see note)
Vanilla sugar (see note) and/or crunchy salt for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350º.

Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When it is all melted and sizzling, remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder, and then both sugars. And then the yogurt, vanilla, and balsamic vinegar. Once that is mixed together nicely, add the flour mixture and stir it just until it is fully incorporated, trying not to overmix.

Measure out tablespoons of the dough about 1 1/2″ apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle vanilla sugar and/or a crunchy sea salt on top.

Bake for about 11 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.

When the cookies come out, they will look somewhat crackled on top, and terrifyingly soft. You will probably be convinced they are not yet done. Take them out anyway. Slide the parchment paper with the cookies onto a rack to cool – the cookies will harden as they cool, and then you will be able to remove them from the parchment paper.

Note: I don’t buy expensive real balsamic vinegar. I buy several large bottles of inexpensive but tasty balsamic vinegar, pour them into a big pot, and simmer it all down until it is reduced to about 1/4-1/6 and is thick, syrupy, and coats the back of a spoon. Then I pour that back into one of the bottles and keep it in my pantry. This is a more economical and very tasty way to make do, and I highly recommend trying it out. Dave flees the room whenever I’m restocking our balsamic vinegar, though, because it makes his eyes sting as it simmers down, so be warned that you may want to open a window when you do it.

Other note: Vanilla sugar can be made in two ways. You can fill a small container with sugar and a vanilla bean, seal it, and leave it alone for a few days. Or you can grind sugar together with a vanilla bean in your food processor or spice grinder, then sift it to remove any big chunks. Either way works just fine.

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36 Responses to “Balsamic Fudge Drops”

  1. Lux says:

    I was hoping to make these this weekend! So glad you put up the recipe!

  2. Tanna says:

    Wow, those really look fabulous! I used a little balsamic in some chocolate chip cookies and was amazed at the difference in the chocolate taste with and without but no vinegar taste at all.

  3. What a brilliant tip! I wonder what’s the chemistry behind the balsamic vinegar working as a chocolate enhancer?

  4. Danielle,

    This is a great idea – I’ve never thought adding balsamic vinegar would bring out the chocolate flavor that much.

    Tks for sharing!

    The cookies look delicious!

  5. Michelle says:

    How fun–as if strawberries and balsamic weren’t good enough–I was stalling getting a batch of cookies in the oven by catching up on some blogs and come across this. I’m abandoning the chocolate chips for these guys.

  6. Kristen says:

    I love balsamic vinegar with fruit and things, but it never crossed my mind to add it to cookies. This sounds fantastic!

  7. mr.ed says:

    Another catalyst is some coffee, adding a little more bitter to the sweet, and richness to the flavor.
    A good source for inexpensive Balsamic is Costco. Gotta try this recipe. As usual, it sounds fabulous.
    You have to understand that Dave’s family was raised on hand dipped dark chocolate. Their dad sold boxes to small candy makers and often came home with culls, not quite pretty enough for prime time, but the same ingredients. Melts in your hand, your mouth, your car on the way home (if it ever gets there), everywhere. More rich brown drool than a dip of tobacco.

  8. Brilynn says:

    Mmmm fudgey chocolatey… I like the sounds of adding balsamic vinegar to sweets, I wonder what you would have to do to make the flavour come out more… (possibly just adding more? it’s something to play with)

  9. Helen says:

    That sounds wonderful! I hear you on the light brown sugar!

  10. You don’t even need a mixer? I’m printing this up immediately. They look wonderfully rich and chewy.

  11. Ellie says:

    Totally drool-worthy pictures!

  12. Holly says:

    Ooh, they do sound nice, and just when I thought I’d finally settled on one perfect chewy-fudgy-salty-chocolate-cookie formula and wouldn’t have to try any more adjustments. Gosh to “you don’t even need a stand mixer” as something worth saying, though – do you have an example of one of your recipes that *does* require a mixer? I’m curious about what it would entail.

  13. Yvo says:

    *cries* This is so evil. I’m in a mood where I’m eating everything in sight (possibly due to PMS, I haven’t decided yet) and I come here and see this picture and I am desperate for some cookies. Mmm.

    Funny, I just bought a decent bottle of balsamic, though I’ve no idea why I bought it since I rarely, if ever, use it…

  14. vanessa says:

    I’m SO making these tonight. Although with my wedding coming up I won’t be eating any (well, maybe just one, have to make sure they’re as nice as they look!). I’ll be bringing them into the office and sending some in to the fiance’s office – bribery, you see. No one can complain about me doing all sorts of wedding planning at my desk if I bring in delicious baked goods!

  15. Lisa says:

    OMG these cookies sound way too good. I am going to make them with the balsamic and sea salt.. I Can! Not! Wait!

  16. novalis says:

    I made these with freshly ground black pepper for a hot foods party, and they were fantastic.

  17. peabody says:

    I can’t believe I don’t own this cookbook…but I will. Looks wonderful.

  18. SallyBR says:

    Made these cookies yesterday – unfortunately, I did not have vanilla sugar, so naked they stayed.

    Did not hurt a bit – fantastic cookies, so easy to make!

    Love your blog….

  19. Bron says:

    Hey, these sound great not to mention different and I like different! Will give them a go in the next few days

  20. SusanV says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I made them, adapting them to be vegan, and they were so delicious that I made them again, adapting them even more. It seems to be a fool-proof recipe! I’ve posted my results on my blog, with links back to you, of course. Thanks again!

  21. [...] Ok, I’m lying, but I AM crazy about balsamic vineger too, and ran across this absolutely scrumptious looking recipe for Balsalmic Fudge Drops, from a gorgeous site, Habeas Brulee. These cookies are easy to stir up and quick cooking – and I am making them this afternoon. I will let you know how it goes. [...]

  22. [...] found here. It is very easy and quick to make. (You don’t even have to wait for the stupid butter to [...]

  23. nbm says:

    these are insanely good. thanks.

  24. Toadberry says:

    I’m intrigued. I think I’ll try these out very soon.

    In Hungary you can buy packaged vanilla sugar, and I’m pretty sure in other parts of Europe too, since Oetker makes them. I can get them here in L.A. thanks to a local Hungarian store. Would it work for this recipe, or is it a completely different beast?

  25. Danielle says:

    To answer a few questions:

    Holly – I’m addicted to my KitchenAid, I admit it. I use a stand mixer for almost everything.

    Toadberry – I’m not familiar with pre-packaged vanilla sugar, but my guess is that it’ll work just fine.

  26. Tony says:

    Juat banged these out. Took me half hour and they are fluffy, light, and just right! The balsamic ever so subtly accentuates the chocolate.

    Nice Recipe. New Favorito.


  27. These look so chocolatey and gooey delicious! i can’t wait to try these!

  28. Dorine says:

    Just had to add my voice to the multitiudes — these are wonderful. Warm, they are heaven, and they are nearly as good the next day. I don’t expect we’ll still have any by the second day.

    And they are so easy. I even used reduced-fat spread instead of the butter — I’m not a fan of the fake stuff, but it’s all we had in the house and I just HAD to have a cookie. And the result was still awesome.

  29. Marisa says:

    Yum! They sound delicious. I’ve also found that balsamic really brings out the chocolate flavour.

  30. suz_ says:

    These cookies are delicious! Just made them and they are a perfect mix of chewy and crunchy.

  31. Patty Tipton says:

    Do you still use the reduced balsamic vinegar as you do regular vinegar. I’ve never heard of this process.

  32. Danielle says:

    Patty – Yes, I still do! It really intensifies the flavor, and makes cheap storebought balsamic taste a lot closer to real balsamic.

  33. Nikki says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!

    For some reason, though I generally dislike sweets, I love to bake. I came across your blog while trying to brainstorm a savory cookie, and I thought of balsamic and googled it to see if I was completely insane for wanting to make a balsamic cookie. Turns out I was the opposite of insane and now I can’t stop making and eating these cookies. My friends devoured two dozen of them in about 15 minutes.

    I’m excited to try some of the other recipes on your blog!

  34. [...] Habeas Brulee’s Balsamic Fudge drops [...]

  35. Just wanted to let everyone know I’ve made these cookies two ways: with balsamic vinegar and also without but with crushed peppermint candy added. Both are incredibly good! Very chocolately and chewy.

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