A Maryland Moment [Baltimore Berger Cookies]

If you know people from Maryland, and I happen to know scads, then you undoubtedly know that as of yesterday, August 9, Maryland had won more gold medals at the Olympics than every other country except China. No, not the whole US, just Maryland. Thank you, crazy-talented swimmers, for allowing the state such a moment of glory. 

In celebration, I finally got around to making the homemade version of Baltimore’s famous Berger Cookies. The recipe is from the folks at King Arthur, whose products and ingredients are unparalleled (no one asked me to proclaim that truth), so I went in hoping for a close match. 

And in the end, I almost got it. The cookies are true to form, cake-like, and the right shape and color. They come together very simply as well, which I always appreciate about a baked good. And the icing to cookie ratio (which for Berger Cookies should be 1:1, if not slightly heavier on the icing side of things) is spot on. But I wonder about the semi-sweet chocolate. It tasted not-quite like the real things, so I’d suggest you go with a dark, but not too dark chocolate, should you go about making these on your own. 

Which you should, because, hello, 1:1 icing to cookie ratio. 

To make about 20 Berger Cookies, you will need:

  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup milk

For the icing:

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (but again, I’d go with dark chocolate here, maybe the Ghiradelli chips)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (1 ounce) light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper) two baking sheets.

To make the cookies: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, salt, vanilla, and baking powder.

Beat in the sugar, then the egg.

Add the flour to the wet ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Do this gently; there’s no need to beat the batter.

Using a spoon or a tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. The balls of dough should be about 1 1/4″ in diameter. Flatten each mound of dough to a circle about 1 ½” across; wet your fingers or a knife, or grease the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup to do this. Leave 2″; to 2 1/2″ between each cookie, for expansion.

Bake the cookies for about 10 to 11 minutes, or until they?re a mottled brown on the bottom (carefully tilt one up to look), but not colored on top. You may see the barest hint of browning around the edges, but these cookies are supposed to be soft and cake-like, so don’t over-bake them. Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool righton the pan as you make the frosting.

To make the icing: Place the chocolate chips, corn syrup, vanilla, and cream into a large microwave-safe bowl, or into a large saucepan.

Heat the mixture until it’s very hot; the cream will start to form bubbles. Remove from the heat, and stir until smooth.

Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and salt. Let cool to warm room temperature while you make the cookies.

Dip the top of each cookie into the warm icing; swirl the cookie around to really give it a good coating. Set the cookies back on the baking sheet.

Spread the remaining icing evenly atop the cookies. If it’s too soft and flows off the cookies, let it set a bit, until it’s firmer. It’ll feel like you’re piling on a lot of icing; that?s precisely the point! Allow it to set, then store the cookies airtight in a single layer. Keep at room temperature for several days; or freeze for longer storage.

Yield: 20 to 21 medium (3″) cookies.

Allow the icing to set, then store the cookies airtight in a single layer. Keep at room temperature for several days; or freeze for longer storage.

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