Start by beating butter and sugars together for 1-2 minutes until
very fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and mix well. In a separate bowl
whisk together flour, pudding mix, baking soda, and salt. Add dry
ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until incorporated and
dough comes together. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover tightly and
chill for at least 1 hour.
After you put the dough in the fridge to chill, prepare the hot fudge
sauce. Line a small baking sheet (or something similar that is flat
and will fit in your freezer) with foil, parchment, or wax paper. Drop
your heaping teaspoons of hot fudge onto the paper. (see note)
Freeze until ready to use (no need to cover).
After your dough has chilled for at least 1 hour, take it out of the
fridge and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large
baking sheet and set aside.
Roll your dough into 14 balls (yes, they are large!) Take the hot
fudge drops out of the freezer. Take one dough ball and use your
fingers to break it in half. Place a hot fudge drop in the middle of
one half of the dough ball, then top it with the second half and roll
the ball in your hands to make it round again and seal the sides so
you can no longer see the fudge. Place on prepared baking sheet
and repeat with remaining dough. (Careful not to crowd your
cookies because they will spread and they are big. About 6 to a
large baking sheet is plenty)
Bake cookies for 9-12 minutes until they are started to lightly
brown around the edges but aren't quite fully cooked. Remove them
from the oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes on the pan,
then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, they are
completely done cooling when you can touch one of the chocolate
chips and it is firm. Store in airtight container. Serve at room
temperature or reheat for a few seconds in the microwave for a
warm and melty treat! (see note)
When dropping your fudge onto the paper before freezing, the best
way to avoid a mess is to spritz your teaspoon with a little bit of
nonstick spray before scooping your fudge. Use your finger to
gently slide it out onto the paper.
For the chocolate chips, I like to reserve about 1/3 cup when mixing
them into the dough. I leave those out and then right before
putting the cookie balls in the oven, gently press chocolate chips
into the cookie dough balls - after baking these chocolate chips will
still show on top of the cookies. This is my favorite trick to make
chocolate chip cookies look really pretty!
The hot fudge sauce will stay soft inside the cookies even after they
are completely cooled. Warming them up is not necessary but it is a
fantastic treat - especially served with ice cream!
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