Baltimore’s storied Berger cookies, a product of that city’s DeBaufre Bakeries, are a close relation to New York City’s Black and Whites (a.k.a. Half and Halfs). These cake-like, jumbo-sized cookies are piled with thick, rich chocolate icing—the thicker the better, up to ½" of icing atop each ½"-thick cookie. Note that the cookies themselves are rather dry, so the over-the-top amount of icing—rather than being too much—ends up being just right. Step-by-step photos illustrating how to make these cookies are available at Bakers’ Banter, our King Arthur blog.
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
3 large eggs
4 1/2 cups (19 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
Rich Chocolate Icing
3 1/2 cups (21 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) light corn syrup
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
To make the cookies: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, salt, vanilla, and baking powder. Beat in the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
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 muffin scoop, or a 1/4-cup measure, drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Flatten each mound of dough to a circle about 3" 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 ½" between each cookie, for expansion.
Bake the cookies for about 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. Cool the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
To make the icing: Place the chocolate chips, baking chocolate, corn syrup, butter, and cream into a large microwave-safe bowl, or into a large saucepan. Heat the mixture till it’s very hot; the cream will start to form bubbles. Remove from the heat, and stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature; this will take at least a couple of hours, so plan accordingly. When completely cool, beat with an electric mixer for 6 to 7 minutes, until the icing lightens in color just a bit, and thickens just slightly.
Spread each cookie with a generous 3 tablespoons icing (about 42g, about 1 1/2 ounces), leaving ¼" bare around the outside edge of each cookie. A heaped tablespoon cookie scoop works very well here. It’ll feel like you’re piling on a lot of icing; that’s precisely the point! Allow to set, then store airtight in a single layer.
Yield: 2 dozen 3 ½" cookies.
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