Candy Cane Berger Cookies

Berger Cookies

Before I even get started on this very exciting and tasty post – did you know I have a giveaway going on right now? Check out my last post “A Holiday Idea: Take Pictures Worth Saving” for more information…

If you ask me where I’m from, chances are I’ll tell you Texas. However, I spent my first eight years in Baltimore. Baltimore is a pretty great city; or so I’m told. Right now, I’m staring straight at 40 years old and I don’t remember a lot from the early years anymore. I do, however, remember a cookie that was, at the same time both a sugar cookie and a piece of fudge. A cookie so perfect that people familiar with it start to swoon if you do no more than say “Berger”. If you’re from Baltimore and you like chocolate then you love Berger Cookies.

What better Christmas cookie could you ask for than one made from a marriage of fudge and sugar cookie. It’s so Christmasy it makes you wonder if Santa was a Baltimorean at heart. Dip the tops in some crushed candy canes and you could risk overdoing the Christmas thing and causing a Holiday overload. So yeah, I did that!

Berger Cookies-001I’ve done a whole heck of a lot of that lately. While I usually have to make a recipe twice before publishing it, this recipe took a little more work. The sugar cookie half was easy. I started with a King Arthur Flour recipe for Berger Cookies. They had the cookie right, but the chocolate topping was not quite right. I decided to try a real fudge and discovered just how bad my candy thermometer was. It took me an hour to clean the rock of fudge out of my best pot so I decided I didn’t want to have you guys fighting with candy thermometers either. Then it was three batches of so-called no fail fudge until I settled on a hybrid of the King Arthur version and one of my own. The result is not exact, but is delicious and the closest I’ve had to the real thing. I love the peppermint in it too. When fresh, the candy cane bits are crunchy and refreshing. After a few days they soften and melt allowing the flavors to seep even more into the cookies. They are just yum. JUST YUM!

All of this cookie cooking was for a good and very fun cause too. This post is my cookie recipe for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap which helped raise over $13,000 for the charity Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Click the link if you want to help out by donating more to the worthy cause.

Doing something because it’s part of a charity fundraiser is always a good idea, but it’s even better when you get something out of it and its FUN! To participate you sign up and make a small donation to the charity. Then you are matched with three blogs which you are supposed to each send a dozen of your cookies. Three other bloggers will each send you a dozen of their cookies. It’s sort of like the old-school chain letters (think back to when you were a kid and they were fun not junk email). Its more fun when there are cookies in it for you too. What did I get? Well, I got some pretty great cookies:

Sarah from Frankly Entertaining sent me Triple Ginger Chocolate Cookies that were gone way too fast. They were small and chewy and full of ginger and chocolate flavor and topped with a hint of salt (I think) that just made them irresistible. Even Little Guy was bummed when they were gone! However, what stole my heart even more was the Texas Lone Star  tied to the container. Made me miss my Texas a bit more, but that star is going to hang high on my tree this year!

Monica from De Lisha’s Recipes sent C-3 cookies (chocolate and caramel drizzled coconut cookies). All I can say about these is that no one else got to taste any of them. Not a single one of them. I wish I could say I was ashamed that I ate all of them. But – I’m not.

Lisa from Clawson Live sent Lemon Glazed Gingerbread Madeleine. I did manage to share several of these fantastic cookies. I had no idea how good gingerbread and lemon when together. I was a little stingy with the sharing on them, but Squishy demanded his fair share and I couldn’t argue with his cute little demands. But, oh, they were so very tasty. Probably for the best that I don’t have a Madeleine pan because I would probably be cranking these bad boys out way too often if I did!

The cookie swap was a load of fun. Little Guy and I watched the mail for a weeks hoping the next batch of cookies would arrive. Now that the cookies are all gone, I have to go back to hoping an unexpected box shows up on the doorstep from a forgotten Amazon order. I hope Jamie from Jamie’s Recipes, Malorie from the Chic Geek and Amanda from High Heels to Hot Wheels all got my cookies okay. I hope the chocolate held up in the mail. I have this vision of these sweet bloggers opening the boxes from me to find a pool of peppermint scented melted chocolate. (Note to self: nothing that melts next year). Well, I hope they liked them anyway. Life is just better with cookies. Especially when they arrive by mail. Enjoy!

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013
Read more on the Love and Olive Oil blog

Candy Cane Berger Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Candy Cane Berger Cookies

These are my version of the Baltimore classic cookie all gussied up for Christmas. You can make them with or without the peppermint addition. For plain cookies simply leave out the peppermint extract and crushed candy canes. The cookies will keep for several days at room temperature although the candy cane bits will start to melt and bleed onto the cookie after just a day or two. While this melting doesn't look as nice, the texture and flavor is arguably even better! Heavily adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe

Peppermint Fudge Icing:

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

1-14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

12 candy canes, crushed (optional)

Cookies:

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cups sugar

2 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine butter, vanilla and baking powder in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer and beat until the butter is smooth. Add the sugar and then the eggs, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour in three additions alternating with the milk starting and ending with the flour scraping down the bowl between additions.

Use a small cookie scoop or tablespoon to portion the dough onto lined baking sheets by the rounded tablespoon – one dozen per cookie sheet. Use the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup to flatten the dough, dipping the bottom of the glass in water between cookies to prevent sticking. Bake the cookies for 11 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are light golden but the tops and edges have not yet browned. You can bake two pans at a time rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back half way through baking. Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheets for several minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.

Make the fudge topping while the cookies are baking and cooling. In a large microwave safe bowl combine the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and whipping cream. Microwave on high until the cream boils and starts to froth, about three minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir until completely smooth. Allow to cool for about five minutes then transfer the chocolate to the bowl of a large heavy-duty mixer. Add the peppermint extract (if making candy cane cookies). Add the powdered sugar and beat on low until the sugar is just combined. Then raise the speed up to medium and continue to beat until any remaining lumps are gone. If you are making the candy cane cookies, place the candy cans (with the wrap removed) in a large zip-top bag. Use a mallet, heavy pan or rolling pin to break the candy up into small 1/8” to 1/4” pieces. Set aside.

To top the cookies use a small spatula or even a small cookies scoop spreading the fudge topping all the way to the edge of the cookies. When done icing, place the cookie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Be very generous with your icing, start with at least a tablespoon per cookie, then top the cookies with any remaining chocolate. You should have about a 1 to 1 ratio of cookie to icing. Pour the crushed candy canes in a bowl. Working one at a time while the topping is still fresh on the cookies, dip the cookies into the candy cane bits, pressing the chocolate side down into the peppermint candy pieces. Replace the cookie on the baking sheet and repeat this process with the remaining cookies. Allow the cookies to cool completely (overnight if possible) before covering. You can also cool the cookies slightly in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate. Keeps, tightly covered for at least a week at room temperature or frozen for several months.

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7 Responses to Candy Cane Berger Cookies

  1. Pingback: The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013! | Jamie's Recipes

  2. I smelled the peppermint as soon as I opened the box :) Your cookies were fantastic! I love that you sent something representing a city you lived in. It was oh so fun getting cookie packages in the mail.
    Jamie | Jamie’s Recipes recently posted…The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013!My Profile

  3. Sarah R. says:

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed the cookies! I’m going to have to give your recipe a try. They look amazing!

  4. Pingback: Bourbon Molasses Cookie | High Heels To Hot Wheels

  5. Pingback: The 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap Round Up Part 2 | the little kitchen

  6. Emmy says:

    Berger cookies!!! I lived for these when I was young! Growing up in & around Baltimore these were a family favorite! But once out of Baltimore it seems like no one else has ever heard of a Berger cookie & people look at me like Im crazy when I talk about them. Thank you for posting this recipie! Brought back lots of good memories :)

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