Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Copycat Berger Cookies

I am not from Baltimore. I have never been to Baltimore. Well, maybe I was in an airport there once. But I definitely have never had the pleasure of eating an original Berger Cookie. Just wanted to make all of that clear. So you know that I can't, with any authority, tell you how close these cookies are to the real thing. But I can tell you, with some authority (because I ate several) that they're very delicious. And when I use them to make a Berger Bomb Pie, that too will be delicious.

They're unlike any cookie I've ever had. In fact, they're almost like a snack cake (apologies to those who can't stand the combination of those two words).

The cookie is very soft and cakey, and the icing is not just fudge-like, it IS fudge. Once it sets up, it is thick and sweet and like a true layer of fudge on top of the cookie. A layer that is easily as thick as the cookie itself. Which is, apparently, the way it's supposed to be.

They're also surprisingly easy to make. Beginning to end only took me about an hour and a half. I thought they would be much more difficult because of the icing factor, but that part was really very simple. On some of the cookies in this batch, I got a little hasty adding icing on after the dipping step, and it dripped off the side. But, it only happened to a couple of them. Even before it sets up, the icing is so thick, it pretty much stays put.

Can you imagine how these cookies will behave when crumbled up and baked into a pie? I can. The fudge icing will get sort of melty and infuse the whole pie with a wonderfully rich chocolate taste. And the soft cookies will give the pie a lovely texture. I can't wait to try it. Should I do it for Thanksgiving? Hm. Will have to ponder.

OH!! AND!! I also made chocolate chip cookies. Didn't have time to cook all the batter, so I scooped it into portions on parchment paper and froze it, then bagged it up, all ready to pop in the oven like the kind you buy at the store. Except...well...homemade!

TGIP Rating--Copycat Berger Cookies--KEEPER.

Next up: As you probably know by now, my favorite pie holiday is next week! Yay for Thanksgiving! I still haven't decided what pie(s) I'm going to make. But cherry is on the shortlist. And a couple of days after that, I'm making up a cupcake recipe. Also have no idea what I'm doing for that. No worries, I'll figure it all out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Midweek Kitchen Recommendations 4: Cooking/Baking with Kids

My one regret about my schooling? Although it's something I had virtually no control over? I wish there had been a food science class when I was in high school. The Home Economics classes I took hardly even involved anything that a person could call "cooking", let alone anything that would be considered "science". In an ideal world--the one where we're independently wealthy and I don't have to work in order to provide my family with health insurance...I spend my time getting food science classes into the junior high schools and high schools in our area. I just think there's no better way to get kids interested in science. In math. In environmentalism. In real food. In health. In life, for heaven's sake. Food is life.

I am doing what I can by trying to involve my own kids in the cooking we do at home. Prima is especially interested in baking, so for her 11th birthday we gave her her own cooking tools and a couple of cookbooks. From this series. She loves these cookbooks. She has been checking them out of the school library one by one for the past couple of months. And I love them for her. The recipes are written in a way that almost everything can be done by a child over the age of 10. Usually all a parent needs to do is help with getting things in and out of the oven and supervising the use of an electric mixer, if it's called for. The books also give historical context for the recipes. For example, in the Molly cookbook (Molly is a girl from the 1940's), there's a sidebar about food rationing and one about the use of margarine vs butter at the time. And more. That's just what I noticed on a brief glance through the book. And she has already done her first "by herself" cooking project: Ginger Cookies. She had a great time. I think it gave her a sense of independence and accomplishment. And bonus: they're delicious!

I have vivid sensory memories of cooking with The Pie Queen, especially around the holidays. I hope my kids find as much joy and comfort in our traditional home-cooked foods as I have my whole life. But, I also hope that cooking with my kids will eventually help my words of advice to sink in: that math is useful in everyday life; that science is fascinating; and that food cooked at home is infinitely more delicious than food at a restaurant (especially one of the fast-food variety).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Salt Lake Bomb Pie

I completely stole this idea. From the folks at Dangerously Delicious via Duff Goldman. Sometimes stealing is good. And seriously, there is nothing at all wrong about this pie. It has such an interesting texture. A texture that is different throughout the pie, some areas are crispy, others are dense and cake-like, others are more soft and gooey. So many different layers of sweet and delicious flavor.

I crumbled Black and White cookies from Les Madeleines (my favorite Salt Lake bakery) into my pie crust (prebaked),

poured this Chess Pie filling over them, and followed the baking instructions for the Chess Pie. The only thing that could have made it better? More chocolate. time I'm making Berger cookies myself. I guess that will mean it's no longer a Salt Lake Bomb. Maybe that will just make it a Fossen Bomb. Annnddd...I'm also going to try it with chocolate chip cookies--a Nestle Toll House Bomb. And you should know, it's about the easiest pie you could ever make.

TGIP Rating--Salt Lake Bomb Pie--KEEPER. And then some.

Next up: Prima complained the other day that I don't make cookies anymore because I work full time. I shall remedy that. I'm going to try at least one recipe for copycat Berger cookies. And I'm also making good old-fashioned Toll House cookies. Cookies=Love.