They're a Baltimore-specific guilty pleasure.
Just how Baltimorean can a cookie topped with a thick slather of fudge-like, super-sweet chocolate be? About as Baltimorean as “crab cakes, the Orioles, or August afternoon humidity,” the Baltimore Sun wrote in 1999. In Baltimore, you’ll find Berger cookies in hotel minibars, at Orioles baseball games, and in most drug stores and supermarkets. Residents with above-average city pride even commission Berger cookie wedding cakes.
Not just any chocolate-shortbread amalgamation could earn that distinction. The Berger Cookie, named after its creator, brings all the joy of receiving the corner slice of a cake—the one with extra frosting. More than any “best of” award, of which the Berger Cookie has won many, the cookie’s longevity attests to its appeal.
Henry Berger, a German baker, and his sons peddled the cookies at stalls in the city’s public markets after they immigrated to the United States in 1835. In that sense, the Berger cookie is a relic of another era, when Germans were the largest immigrant group in Baltimore. By 1860, German immigrants or those of German descent made up a quarter of the population.
The cookies have remained popular for over 180 years, and they’re still made in Baltimore. Despite their popularity in their hometown, though, Berger cookies never spread far. To this day, they’re only sold in Baltimore and the Washington D.C. area.
Where to Try It
Berger's Bakery at Lexington Market400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, 21201, USA
The stall at one of Baltimore's remaining public markets sells Berger Cookies alongside other sweets. It stands where the cookies were once created, though they're not longer produced here nor is the stand owned by the current producers of the cookies, DeBaufre Bakeries.