Saturday, February 2, 2013

Berger Cookie--Gluten Free Version

New York has their Black and White Cookies that are adored by many; Baltimore has their Berger Cookies that seem to have an equally enthusiastic crowd of followers. I love how we can attach our love to a city because of a simple tasty treat, a cookie. I have reviewed many comments about the Berger Cookie and how people travel to the city never knowing that they are about to be mesmerized by this cake like, shortbread tasting, fudgy topped cookie.

It is a delight to many the first time they sink their teeth through the two layers of fudge and cookie. Oh, and their are two layers. The fudge is piled high on the cookie; it is a sight to see. The cookie holds together and welcomes the teeth with that last and final have now introduced your taste buds to a new favorite.

My challenge is to try and get as close as possible to this beloved cookie only in a gluten free recipe.

Is it and would it be possible? The question of the day!

I had to try. I found a recipe from 2009 that was printed in the Washington Post which was adapted from a King Arthur recipe. The recipes were both given great reviews and seemed easy enough to follow.

I knew that in order to make an exceptional cookie, I had to start with the best ingredients. For the butter I chose to stick with my favorite, Kerry Gold. For the rice flours I purchased super fine blends because they work the best in delicate desserts. I used whole milk and eggs from our local dairy; milk was creamy white and the yolks were a nice orange.

I followed each step and I hope that you will too. The recipe is one that builds the batter from the first ingredient to the last. With out the gluten in the flour to help the cookie bind together we must add "air" and a foundation for the batter to be perfect. The batter is thick but fluffy and spongy at the same time. This is what you want.

The final key to the success of this gluten free cookie is the pan I used.  I know from experience that some gluten free cookies don't hold their shape and flatten to nothing; then there are others that don't budge...the way you scooped them is the way they bake (those are a bit disappointing to open the door and see a scoop instead of a round cookie).  To make sure that this would not be the case with these cookies, I got creative.   A few months ago at a Goodwill, I bought a whoopie pie pan.  It makes six cookies at a time.  I only paid $2.00 for it and thought what the heck.  I brought it home and threw it in to my cookie sheet drawer and there it sat...until today.

It was the perfect shape and size for the Berger Cookie.  It held an ice cream scoop of batter and allowed the batter to bake and rise without spreading into one large cookie.  The cookies ended up being about a 1/4 inch thick, cakey and buttery--oh, they are delicious! 

You will notice that the frosting on my cookies is not the suggested 3 tablespoons from the original recipe.  I knew that my family would not want to eat the cookie with that much rich and sweet frosting. I think you can add any amount that you're comfortable with and not feel guilty, unless you plan on eating the whole may just never know.

Are you ready for a cookie that is gluten free and will knock your socks off?  I thought so.

Recipe:  Baltimore's Berger Cookie, gluten free
Adapted from a recipe found in the Washington Post on 10-29-2009

NOTE:  I used a scale to weigh all of my flours and starches.  I have included estimates in cups for those that do not have a scale.  I would recommend a scale because then your measurements can match mine in the recipe. 

Cookies depend on size of scoop you use.  I was able to get 21 large cookies.

8 ounces of unslated butter, at room temperature
1 1/2  (184 g) cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups (293 g) of fine white rice flour or powder (the later can be purchased at an Oriental store)
1 cup (122 g) tapioca starch
1 cup (135 g) fine brown rice flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup  (240 g) whole milk, at room temperature


1(12 oz) bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (Gheridelli is what I used)
3 ounces of unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons of brown rice syrup (you can use corn syrup if you prefer)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

To make the cookies:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray your pan with Pam or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, starch, salt, and baking powder.  Mix well with a wire whisk.

In a large bowl add butter.  Beat for 3 minutes until pale yellow and fluffy.

Add the powdered sugar and beat for 2 minutes, add vanilla and combine well.

Add each egg separately and blend well after each egg is added.  You should notice the batter starting to be fluffy.

You will alternate the milk and the flour mix into the butter mixture.  Mixing well after each addition.  It took me 5 sets of flour then milk, then flour again, repeat.   The batter should be increasing in volume and yet still fluffy.

You can make the cookies any size you want.  I used an ice cream scoop and did one scoop per bun circle in my bun pan.  (see note and link above).

Cook each sheet of cookies for 9-11minutes.  Do not over bake them.  You want them cake-like, not dry and crumbly.  The edges should be lighlty brown and the tops a pale yellow.

Let cookies cool on wire rack.

To make frosting:

I will tell you this is like no frosting I have ever made, its very fudgy and stiff yet shiny and moldable.

In a large sauce pan on the stove top, set your heat to medium low.

Combine the first 5 ingredients, mix well.  You do not want to burn this chocolate, so stay by the pan and keep stirring the bottom.  It takes about 5 minutes for every thing to melt together.   

Turn heat off and let cool slightly.

Add confectioner's sugar and beat for 2 minutes.

Slather each cookie with the amount of frosting your family would enjoy.

This is my husbands hand holding the cookie, it is a big cookie!

Written by Sherron Watson


  1. WOW!!! I want one of those. Had never heard of them until you share the photo on Facebook the other day. Now I really want one! Love how huge they are. ;-)


  2. These look fantastic! I've had my eye on that pan for a while now, but haven't bought it yet. It would be a lifesaver for GF baking especially. Fingers are crossed that I will find one at my goodwill eventually too!

    1. Thank you Mary. I cannot wait to use it for something else now that I have seen how well it worked for this recipe. Good luck in your search for the whoopie pan.

  3. Thanks for the idea and recipe, Sherron. I am going to make them for Super Bowl Sunday!!! Yum!!

  4. Hello again- you will have to look online for the whoppie pie pan. i ran into that problem,a few yrs/ago. because you want all of them to be uniformed, i used a large muffin tin, in a pinch. not ideal. but, it work. good luck!

    1. That is a great suggestion Lisa...I will have to try them for a smaller version.

  5. I adore Black & Whites, since I am from NJ, but these look incredible. They have way more frosting than a Black & White, which is perfect!


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