Truth: That isn’t entirely accurate. The first words REALLY out of my mouth are, “Don’t touch. It’s mineminemine, all mine.”
Truth: This doesn’t make me the most pleasant dining companion, but I do make up for it with my charming sense of humor.
Truth: On a few occasions, Mr. Hausfrau has hidden food from me. But, then again, I’ve hidden food from myself.
These cookies, for example, I’ve hidden. From him. From myself. From the neighborhood children, you name it. They’re my best stab at a popular Baltimore confection, the Berger Cookie.
Berger Cookies have even made it as big as scoring a spot on Wikipedia, who describes the Berger Cookie as “a kind of cookie made and distributed by DeBaufre Bakeries. It is a vanilla wafer topped with a thick layer of chocolate ganache that derives from a German recipe, and are a cultural icon of Baltimore.”
Indeed, Berger Cookies are quintessentially Baltimore, channeling the city’s hardworking, blue collar roots and unfussy welcome. It’s a cookie that isn’t much to look at, but it’s big on personality. Thick, fudgy, sweet topping is haphazardly slapped on the underside of a sweet, vanilla sponge cookie. It’s enough sugar to make your jaw ache.
So, if you think you are going to hunker down with a plate of these next Friday night, like you did with that box of Samoas last weekend, while watching reruns of the Amy Fisher story on Lifetime television, you may want to rethink your plan.
Nope, there is a time and a place for a Berger cookie. Aside from being a stellar holiday cookie, these can and should be used as a PMS savior. These can and should be frozen. These can and should be popped into the microwave to warm them, leaving the chocolate fudge topping all oozy, glazed, and warm. They may or may not be delicious when further topped with vanilla ice cream. I will neither admit nor deny such gluttony.
I do promise you that these cookies will help you win friends and influence people. Just make sure you keep some for yourself (hidden, of course) – because you never know when the monster is within you, your spouse, or the children next door. You’ll do well to stay armed. And keep everyone stuffed with enormous, fudgy cookies.
Homemade Berger Cookies
(Heavily adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
2 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
First, prepare the fudge topping: In a double boiler, heat the butter, condensed milk, and chocolate chips until the chips are 80 percent melted, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and continue stirring until the chips are completely melted. Spread the fudge mixture into an 8 x 8 pan to cool it and let it set up a bit.
Preheat the oven to 375.
In a large bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until softened. Add the sugar and beat until very light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
Carefully add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir a few times to start incorporating. Add the milk and stir again, a few times, to start incorporating. Add the rest of the flour mixture and continue stirring until the batter is well combined.
Using a cookie scoop or 1/8 cup, mound the batter 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes, just until the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wire rack. Cool the cookies completely.
To assemble the cookies: Once the vanilla cookies are cooled completely and the fudge is 80% cooled (do not cool the fudge all the way, as you need it to be malleable), the cookies are ready to be assembled. Turn the vanilla cookies upside down and spread a hearty mound of fudge (a scant 2 tablespoons) on the underside of the cookies. They don’t have to be perfect, just make sure you get fudge all the way to the edges of the cookie. Once the cookie is covered, let it rest on a wire rack. Allow the fudge to set 30 minutes before serving.