I haven’t. In fact, I’d never even heard of a ‘Berger’ Cookie prior to reading about them on the Baker’s Banter blogsite from King Arthur Flour. I asked a few folks I know if they had ever heard of them and the response was the same almost every time, “A burger cookie?, You mean one that looks like a hamburger?” Their responses ranged from interest to those few who believed this mysterious cookie contained some form of ground beef. Thankfully, there is no ground beef in these “Bergers”, and they would be, I believe, somewhat tastier than any meat cookie may be.
Actually, Berger Cookies are a local favorite, found in the Baltimore, Maryland area. Favorite? That may actually be an understatement. From what I can gather doing some simple research, people are nuts about these cookies, perhaps even obsessed. The cookies are named after the brothers who founded what would become the bakery that still operates today, over 150 years after they first came to the United States. From what I gather, these cookies are very popular in the Baltimore area, and those who leave the area find themselves in the position of having these cookies shipped to them, as they can only be found in a few locations outside of Baltimore.
On the King Arthur blog, they were recounting their attempt to mimic this interesting cookie, which had been profiled in the May issue of Saveur Magazine. Reading through the blog, I saw that they looked rather tasty – a soft, puffy cookie coated with a thick layer of fudgy frosting on top, or, rather, the bottom. Yes, the bottom. Rather than frost the top of the cookie as would be tradition, the frosting mirrors the dome shape of the cookie, inch for inch, building up from the flat bottom of the cookie into a beautiful chocolaty mound. The folks at King Arthur actually revisited this recipe after a number of local Baltimoreans contacted them to correct the error of their ways. The second versions, based on their photos, were nearly identical to the original Bergers.
Since I am a fan of puffy and/or chewy cookies, and a big fan of chocolate, I had to give these a try. I was going to order some originals over the internet to have something to compare these to, but I didn’t have time as we were leaving town for vacation. My version would have to suffice for now.
The cookies are not too difficult to make, following King Arthur’s directions. They are a bit messy, however as the best way to frost to the edge of the cookie appears to be hand dipping each cookie into the frosting, followed by a dollop of additional frosting on top of that to create the mound shape.
The result? They were quite good (I’ve posted a copy of the recipe on my site here). My testers were pleased and eagerly consumed them. The cookie itself is a good basic cookie which I’ll plan on using for other applications in the future. The big deal is all that fudgy frosting. I used 1/2 Ghirardelli 60% Cacao chocolate chips and 1/2 Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Chocolate chips as that is what I had on hand. They were dark and sweet. I’m curious about the flavor of the originals and whether or not these were close in flavor – I’ll have to wait to get some original Bergers to sample before I know the answer to that. In the meantime, I think I need to consider a trip to Baltimore…