Legendary in Baltimore, Berger cookies are a regional treat that has grown in popularity around the country. Relatively simple in composition, these cookies are quite unique among commercial cookies—the pastry itself is similar in texture to a cake or a biscuit. Sweetened and flavored with vanilla extract, the cakey cookie has a tenderness and savory quality that can be attributed to the incorporation of sour cream into the dough. In our Copycat Berger Cookies recipe, as the cookie bakes, the acid from the sour cream softens the structure. This prevents the other ingredients in the dough from becoming tough and creating a firm cookie. Arguably more iconic than the cookie itself, it’s the sweetened chocolate icing on the base of the cookie that makes it recognizable to Baltimore natives. Most of the cookie’s sweetness comes from this rich chocolate icing, and the smooth texture of the chocolate is a delicious contrast to the crumbly and cakey texture of the cookie itself.

Southern Living Editors


Credit: Micah A. Leal

Recipe Summary test

40 mins
1 hr 52 mins
About 16 cookies


Chocolate Icing


Instructions Checklist
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until lightened, about 3 minutes. Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the sour cream to the butter-sugar mixture and mix to combine. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low until incorporated. Repeat process with remaining sour cream and flour mixture. Once dough is fully combined, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. On a well-floured surface, place the dough and dust the surface with additional flour. Roll dough out to a 10-inch wide circle that is 1/2 inch thick. Flour a round 2-inch cutter and punch out cookies from the dough, placing each circle about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Re-roll scraps of dough and cut out remaining cookie circles.

  • Bake until the surface is dry and the bottoms of the cookies begin to take on a little color, about 12 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

  • In a saucepan, heat cream over medium-high until steaming. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and vanilla. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before whisking until smooth. Stir in butter. Add powdered sugar and whisk until sugar is fully incorporated.

  • Dip the bottom of each cookie in the warm chocolate mixture and gently lift up, allowing the excess chocolate to drip off. Turn the cookie upside down so the chocolate is facing up and place on a cooling rack to dry. Repeat with remaining cookies. Allow chocolate to set before serving.