Designer Impostors

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I was poking around on the King Arthur Flour website the other day, and I found their recipe for “Baltimore’s Finest.”  It turns out it’s for fakey Berger cookies!

I should explain: I didn’t grow up in Baltimore.  I came here the summer of the cicadas a few years back, and have been hanging around ever since.  I don’t eat crabs or pit beef or lake trout, and I think the water ice of Philadelphia is far superior to the snowballs of Baltimore.   Sorry. I tell it like it is.  So, Berger cookies are one of the few regional food things I get excited about, and I just had to try this recipe.

I chose method two, since that was supposed to produce something closer to the genuine article.  I didn’t have any corn syrup in the house (go figure, right?), so I substituted blue agave nectar.  It’s cool, guys.  These cookies are health food, now.

This  dough looks like frosting when you mix it up, and it burns fairly easily.  I tried the first batch after cooking something else in the oven, and that brought the actual oven temperature too high, so I got hard little circles that were white on top and black on the bottom.

When I got a couple dozen non-burned cookies done, it was time to apply the frosting I’d made earlier. The dipping method recommended by King Arthur did not work for a second, but slathering it on with a butter knife produced acceptable frosting slabs.

The final results were OK.  Right after the frosting set, they weren’t fooling anybody.  The frosting was grainy and overly sweet, even for the cookie I was trying to copy.  After sitting for 24 hours, though, the frosting has mellowed a bit.  It’s creamier and less grainy, for sure, and even the sweetness seems less overpowering.

These designer impostors aren’t going to fool the true aficionado.  However, the recipe was fairly straightforward, and if you’re a sugar daredevil, it’s worth a shot.

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4 Responses to “Designer Impostors”

  1. Jen Says:

    Cara, I am truly appalled. What the ‘eck is water ice? Sounds vastly inferior to a good old snowball. I hope they at least have the traditional flavors….(skylite anyone?)

    More on topic, this post makes me want to go to Lexington Market and get some fresh Berger cookies right now. Even though I had macaroons for lunch.

  2. Wendi Says:

    Cara, I tried the Berger recipe as it appeared on washingtonpost.com. It was adapted from the KAF recipe. I was pretty happy with my results and didn’t experience many of the problems you experienced.

    http://bonappetithon.com/2009/12/03/bahs-2009-christmas-cookies/

  3. Irene @ King Arthur Flour Says:

    Thank you for trying our version of the recipe for Baltimore’s Finest cookies. As you can see from our blog and recipes, we try to bring recipes to life for the home baker. If we missed the mark for authenticity, we apologize. Irene @KAF

  4. Testing recipes part 2 « Charmington's Says:

    […] bought a pint of heavy cream when I was making the imitation Berger cookies, and I only used half a pint, so I decided to use the rest in the recipe for cream scones given in […]

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