Homemade Berger Cookies – Fresh Baked Friday!

10 Dec

A couple of year’s ago my friend, Gill, brought the most delicious cookies to a girl’s lunch.  The soft cake cookie covered with a fudge icing was the perfect treat to end a wonderful afternoon.  The best part, despite being rich, the cookie was not so rich you couldn’t have a second!

If you are from Baltimore, you probably have guessed that I am referring to the well known, Baltimore-based Berger cookie.

At the suggestion of a loyal reader (okay, Jess), I set out to recreate these treats in my home kitchen.

Success?  Well, they are good, but they are not quite Berger’s.  I can’t figure out exactly what it is, but there is something I need to tweak.  That said, they are definitely worth a try.  And if you have never had a Berger cookie you won’t even notice it!

One last note.  I think these were best after they sat for a night.  So, if you have more self control than I do, make the cookies a day ahead and just let them sit.  Then dig in.

But first… you have to make the cookies (duh!).  Cookie base first.

Measure your flour and milk and set aside along with the egg.  Yes, I know this is not the normal first step in a recipe, but trust me on this one, please.

Okay, now back to the usual programming.  Cream together the butter, salt, baking powder and vanilla.

Add the sugar and beat until well combined.  Yes, light and fluffy.  You know the trick.

Add the egg.

Alternately add the flour…

with the milk.  

Begin and end with the flour.  And be gentle here.  You want the cookies light, so be sure to not over beat!

Perfect!  Now you are ready to drop tablespoons of the dough onto a prepared baking sheet.

Spray the bottom of a measuring cup with a non-stick spray.

Use this to flatten the cookies.

Please don’t mind that hand.  Blah!  Haven’t had a manicure in months (the horror!).

Sorry, back to the cookies.  If you prefer, you can also use your fingers dipped in water to flatten the cookies.  Up to you.  Honestly, the dough is pretty sticky so I think both options have pros and cons.

Now you are ready to bake.

11-12 minutes later you have these little guys.

While they are cooling, make the fudge frosting.  One note, I made a single batch, but was quite short on the frosting.  I’ve adjusted the amount in the recipe below.

Start by whisking the sugar, cocoa and salt together in a heavy, large saucepan. 

Add the butter.

Place the saucepan over medium heat.  Stir frequently until the butter is melted into the sugar and cocoa mixture.  It will be thick and gritty.

Add the milk.

Stir well.

Bring the mixture to a boil, continuing to stir frequently.

Lower the heat a bit.  You want the mixture to maintain a gentle boil for another 5 minutes or so.  Keep stirring!

Once the mixture begins to thicken, it is ready to take off the heat.  It’s thick when it coats a spoon.

Add the vanilla.

Stir and let cool for about 20 minutes.

Once cooled a bit, add the frosting to a large mixing bowl.

Beat the frosting until thick and glossy.

Dip the bottom – yes, the bottom, we are trying to be authentic here – in the frosting.  Be generous.  VERY generous.  Hence the doubling of the frosting recipe!

Let the frosting firm up a bit and then these babies can be stacked… and eaten!

But don’t forget… let me them sit for a day.  If you can.

Homemade Berger Cookies
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⅓ cup unsalted butter
½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup milk


3 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
1 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 400℉.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Measure out flour and milk.  Set aside, along with the egg.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, salt, vanilla and baking powder.  Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add the egg.

Alternately add the flour and milk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Be sure to not over beat.

Drop the dough by the tablespoon onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.  Flatten each mound of dough using either a greased measuring cup or wet fingers.

Bake for 11-12 minutes or until lightly brown on the bottom.  Remember, these should be cake-like so do not over cook.  Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, prepare the frosting.

In a heavy large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa and salt.  Add the butter and place over medium heat.  Stir frequently until the butter is melted into the sugar/cocoa mixture.

Add the milk and stir well.  Bring the mixture to a lively boil, continuing to stir frequently.

Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle boil for another 5 minutes, stirring often.  When the mixture begins to thicken, remove it from the heat and add the vanilla.  Stir and set to the side.  Allow it to cool for about 20 minutes.

Once cool, pour the frosting into a large mixing bowl.  Beat until then and glossy.

Dip the bottom of the cookies into the frosting.  Be very generous.  Allow the frosting to harden before stacking the cookies.

Source: cookies from King Arthur’s Flour; frosting from The Global Gourmet, originally from Southern Cakes


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