Baltimore’s Berger Cookies

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Every city is known for some culinary or drink specialty. New Orleans has Sazerac; Nashville has hot chicken; New York City, pizza; Los Angeles has donuts; and Chicago, Italian beef. And Baltimore? They have Berger cookies and crab cakes, but let’s focus on dessert.

Berger cookies are an institution in Baltimore. Manufactured by hand at the DeBaufre Bakery in West Baltimore, the history of the cookie goes back to the German immigrant Henry Berger, who landed in Baltimore around 1850 and opened a bakery. The Berger bakery was taken over by the DeBaufres in the late 1970s and they have been churning out these beloved cookies ever since. The Berger cookie possesses an ideal blend of nostalgia and sweetness almost too much to bear, but way too good to resist. The cookie itself is a thick, circular shortbread covered in a rich coating of chocolate fudge. The secret is in the ratio of chocolate to cookie — there is more chocolate than you would expect, but it works perfectly with the subtle crunch of the cookie. The bakery was recently in the news for being under threat of closure because its use of trans fat in the fudge coating did not adhere to the government ban that will soon take effect. Unbeknownst to many; however, the bakery has been using a trans fat-free recipe since August 2017 and the fact no one noticed speaks for itself. If you are in Baltimore, pick up a snack pack of these cookies or purchase them online.

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