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I have a twisted passion for discontinued snack foods. For some, life goes on after the end of Pizzerias or Swedish Chef Croonchy Stars Cereal. For people like me, there's an eternally aching hole that can only temporarily be relieved by a new flavor of Gushers or a movie-themed Pop-Tart. Things like Mountain Dew Pitch Black are only set for a limited time, but it's still hard to let go.

Two foods I will forever long are my favorite Keebler Cookies. The first was Sweet Spots, which came aligned in prepacked rows just perfect for your lunch box. Each flower-shaped shortbread was adorned with a large chocolate kiss in the middle. They were my favorite dissection cookie, and I would nibble away at the shortbread until I had nothing but a sweet chocolate kiss left. Sometimes if you applied gentle pressure to the side, the kiss would pop right out. They were better than any of those crumbly homemade drop cookies.

The other cookie I will never forget is Keebler Magic Middles. Not the cheap Mickey ones they put out at Christmas, but the original Magic Middles. They were fully closed cookie pockets filled with delicious chocolate goo in the middle. How did they get the chocolate in there? Magic! Or so we were told by the elves. Even more magic was involved in Mini Middles, which were shrunken bite-sized Magic Middles.

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(Download the Magic Middles Commercial)

The original commercial for Magic Middles starred a raving Einstein elf preaching the good word of chocolate filing to the Keebler Elves. But, those cunning boys already beat him to the punch by making plain, chocolate, and chocolate chip Magic Middles, bursting out with rich, creamy icing. One thing I always noticed about the Keebler elves is that there were no female elves. Not even one designated gang-bang female like in the Smurfs. There's a "Ma" and "Flo" elf designated on the Keebler web site, but I'm sure those were just thrown in as a last-minute defense against feminazis.

Things were going strong in the Keebler Tree. Ernie was getting his face plastered on sandwich cookies. Grasshoppers were selling like hotcakes during the off-season for Girl Scout Thin Mints. They were having sprinkle orgies and rolling in the dough. Then one day -- without warning -- the Magic Middles were gone.

Maybe the magic wore out. Maybe the fudge wells ran dry. Keebler was the sole producer of any cookie like this, and no one has attempted to take over the reigns. I will forever long the sandy tickle of cookie crumbs as my hands dip into a fresh box of Mini Middles. Ne'er shall I split a cookie apart and find a chocolate surprise inside. My only chance is that someone has the balls to figure out how to remake them. Could that someone.... be me?

There is a chance that I could crack the Keebler Code and figure out how to make my own. It's an enormous task for one girl to partake, but I was ready and willing for the challenge. My chocolate chip cookies have a 75% rate of turning out totally flat. It's some sort of weird thing with my oven. I decided the best way to avoid fuck-ups was to get a batch of those premade cookies the Doughboy craps out on plastic trays. I would try to make Magic Middles a number of ways and see which one faired the best.

Half of the first batch was completely ruined. I found out the hard way that Magic Middles weren't baked with the icing already inside. The smell of burning icing was putrid. The taste was just like the smell. The other half of the batch had chocolate drops stuck in the middle. As the chocolate cooled the middle chocolate hardened, much like the chocolate chips. Another failure. Those elves are a lot more clever than I give them credit for.

Next I molded some cookie lumps in cupcake tins. They started spreading in the middle so I gutted them. Then I put chocolate fudge icing in a sandwich bag and snipped off the tip and squeezed chocolate goo in the middle. Then I topped them off with a cookie piece. Not the most attractive cookie, but it was still essentially a cookie with a chocolate fudge center.

Here we have the most half-assed Magic Middle cookie ever made. In fact, I spent most of the next morning in the bathroom. They weren't bad mind you, but nothing like the original. I still don't know how they got the chocolate in the middle! Keebler was really on to something with this cookie. It's amazing that they were so abruptly ripped from the lips of the consumer. I heard rumors it was because they were just too rich and too good and that health-wary parents were complaining. If that's the case, damn -- they're cookies! What were you expecting, carrot chip artichoke-filling?

Thus ends the tale of the Magic Middle. If anyone out there is a culinary expert and could regale me with a recipe for such a cookie, I'd be totally in your debt. Likewise if anyone can steal the original recipe from those damn dirty Elves.


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