Berger Cookies

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Covered in a smooth, rich layer of chocolate ganache, these soft and sweet Berger Cookies find the ideal balance. The depth of the chocolate frosting and the lightness of the vanilla batter complement each other perfectly in a sweet treat that practically melts in your mouth.

Soft Shortbread Cookies With Fudgy Chocolate Frosting

Berger cookies might not look like much, but one bite and you’ll see why these cookies are a classic. Similar to the black and white cookies popular in New York, they have a soft and cakey consistency and the perfect blend of chocolate and vanilla. The sweet and buttery shortbread cookie goes so well with the darker and richer ganache frosting.

These cookies are great with a glass of milk to cut through the fudgy richness of the ganache. They’re simple but sophisticated enough to pass at any event. Bring them to a bake sale, book club or potluck, and they’re sure to disappear pretty quick.

Five Berger Cookies stacked on a plate with more cookies in the background.

What Are Berger Cookies?

Berger cookies are an iconic cookie from the Baltimore area. First made by a local bakery in 1835 based on an old German recipe, they quickly rose in popularity to become a staple dessert in bakeries all around the area. They feature a shortbread base with a thick and decadent chocolate fudge frosting on top.

A small pile of cookies with chocolate frosting on a plate.

Ingredients You’ll Need

These simple ingredients have been going into this cookie recipe for almost 200 years now. Scroll down to the printable recipe card to find exact amounts.

  • Cake Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Unsalted Butter: Bring this to room temperature.
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Egg Whites
  • Heavy Crea
  • Chocolate Chips: I use milk chocolate, but you can go darker if you want.
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
Freshly baked cookies spread out on a baking sheet before being frosted.

How to Make Your Own Berger Cookies

These cookies come together in less than half an hour, and more than half of that time is spent in the oven. Making them is about as simple as it gets.

  1. Prep Your Materials: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Make the Dough: Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Use a mixer to beat together the butter and sugar in a separate bowl until they turn fluffy and light, which should take about 3 minutes. Add in the egg white, heavy cream and vanilla, and beat it all together until everything combines. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the flour in 3 separate batches. Mix it well, scraping down the bowl between additions.
  3. Form the Cookies: Working with about 1 heaping tablespoon of dough at a time, roll it into balls and place them on the baking sheet. Space them at around 2 inches apart in case they spread. Using your hands, press down the tops of the balls slightly.
  4. Bake: Bake the cookies until they just begin to brown around the edges, which should take 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the sheet halfway through the baking time. When the cookies are out of the oven, let them cool completely on the baking sheet.
  5. Make the Ganache: Combine the chocolate chips, heavy cream and salt in a large bowl. Microwave it at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until it melts and smooths out. This should take about 1 to 3 minutes. Whisk the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until the frosting smooths out and takes on the texture of thick brownie batter.
  6. Frost: Turn the cookies over on the baking sheets. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of frosting onto the flat side of each cookie, spreading it to form a mound.
  7. Let Sit and Serve: Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the frosting is set, which should take about 3 hours, then serve them or store them.
A pile of Berger Cookies on a platter with the top of one facing the camera.

Tips for Success

 These iconic cookies have never given me any trouble. Follow these tips so your time in the kitchen is just as successful.

  • Spoon and Level: While measuring out the flour for the dough, don’t scoop it right out of the bag with the measuring cup. Instead, spoon it into the measuring cup and then level it off at the end. This will ensure that the cookies don’t come out too dense.
  • Microwave Time: I know 1-3 minutes is a pretty big range when it comes to melting the chocolate, but the time can vary a lot depending on your microwave. To be safe, start with 1 minute and move up from there.
  • Use the Stove: For a slightly smoother frosting, you can try melting the chocolate over the stove instead. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil, then take it off the heat and add the chocolate. Stir or whisk the chocolate into the cream until the ganache comes together.
  • Don’t Skimp On the Frosting: When it comes to these cookies, the frosting is more a part of the cookie itself than an addition. Don’t be afraid to really smother it in frosting, since the smoothness of the ganache helps balance out the cakey cookie.

Storage Instructions

Berger cookies can be stored in an airtight container or tightly sealed ziplock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. You may want to add parchment paper between the layers so they don’t stick together.

A plate of cookies with thick chocolate frosting.

Can I Freeze These?

If you make a large batch of these cookies and find that you can’t finish them all before they go stale, freezing is a great option. Because of the frosting on top of the cookies, you should freeze them on a plate or baking sheet first. That way, the chocolate stays right where it belongs, without sticking to the other cookies or the container. Wrap them tightly and keep them frozen for up to 3 months, then let them thaw out on the counter.

More Indulgent Cookie Recipes

A Berger Cookie tipped to show the thick ganache on top.

Bergers Cookies

Covered in a smooth, rich layer of chocolate ganache, these soft and sweet Berger Cookies find the ideal balance. The depth of the chocolate frosting and the lightness of the vanilla batter complement each other perfectly in a sweet treat that practically melts in your mouth.
Servings: 24
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 13 mins
Total: 23 mins

Ingredients
  

For the Dough

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 TSP baking powder
  • 1/4 TSP salt
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 TBSP heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 TSP vanilla extract

For the Frosting

  • 3 C milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 TSP salt
  • 1 2/3 C cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 TSP vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes
  • Add the egg white, heavy cream, and vanilla, and beat until combined
  • Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three additions, mixing until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed
  • Working with 1 heaping tablespoon of dough at a time, roll into balls and space 2 inches a part on the prepared baking sheets
  • Using your hands, press down the tops of the balls slightly
  • Bake until the cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking
  • Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet
  • Once the cookies have cooled, combine the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and salt in a large bowl
  • Microwave the chocolate mixture at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, 1 to 3 minutes
  • Whisk the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until smooth, the frosting should the texture of thick brownie batter and register about 95 degrees.
  • Turn the cookies over on the baking sheets
  • Spoon 2 tablespoons of frosting over the flat side of each cookie to form a mound
  • Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the frosting is set, about 3 hours
  • The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days

Equipment

  • Oven

Notes

  • To Store: Store in an airtight container or tightly sealed ziplock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days with layers separated by parchment paper.
  • To Freeze: Freeze them on a plate or baking sheet first, then wrap tightly and keep frozen for up to 3 months. Let thaw on the counter.

Nutrition

Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 365IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg

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