Monday, March 03, 2008
State by State - Maryland: Berger Cookies
A Berger cookie begs the question, is there such a thing as too much chocolate icing? When my mail-ordered boxes arrived several months back, I wasn't so sure the answer wasn't yes. The dark chocolate icing certainly was enticing, but the size of the cookie was intimidating. Despite my initial skepticism, I had no trouble eating every last crumb of my Berger cookie and my officemates quickly polished off two boxes of them. Too much icing? Phhhhffft!
I barely remember the cookie itself, which is overshadowed in every respect by a generous half-inch of that dark fudgy icing, but it was a firm, cakey cookie. It much resembles the familiar black and white cookie from New York, but it has lots of black and no white.
I had not heard of them until I started hunting around for a cookie that hailed from Maryland, but they apparently have legions of fans. They have been made in Baltimore since the 1800's and according to DeBaufre Bakeries, which makes them today, the recipe is little changed from the original.
My attempts to find a recipe for the cookies were less than successful. I found a recipe for Suzanne Laubheimer's Version of the Famous Berger Cookie (scroll down - it's the second recipe), but the icing clearly wasn't right (just melted chocolate chips) and I was suspicious that the cookie wasn't close either when I read the instructions to shape the dough into one-inch balls and flatten with a glass. I decided to use a black and white cookie recipe for the cookie and the fudge icing recipe from a half moon cookie recipe. I ended up with a cookie in the spirit of a Berger cookie (lots of icing, though I didn't have the guts to pile it on to the degree you find on a Berger cookie), but just not the same. If I try this again I would use a cocoa-based fudge icing for a darker flavor and color.
Next time - A state dessert for Maryland?