A Pittsburgh holiday treat benefits Childrens Hospital for nearly 50 years | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

A Pittsburgh holiday treat benefits Childrens Hospital for nearly 50 years

It wouldn't be a Pittsburgh wedding without a cookie table. But why keep the tradition exclusive to happy couples? In the spirit of the season, Pittsburgh City Paper is celebrating the holiday cookie table. We’re reviewing bakery favorites, family recipes, and grocery store staples until the table is full.

click to enlarge PHOTO: OAKMONT BAKERY
Photo: Oakmont Bakery
If you didn’t grow up in Pittsburgh, there’s little chance you’ve crossed paths with a farkleberry cookie.

And if that’s true, you’re probably wondering what a farkleberry is. The first thing to know is that they are not made up; these are very real — albeit whimsical — winter berries, related to huckleberries and blueberries. They grow on shrubs and are native to some Southern and Southeastern states.

Farkleberries made their way to Pittsburgh in the early 1970s, by way of Jack Bogut from KDKA. Bogut sold farkleberry tarts during the holidays as a fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and the yearly sale soon became a staple of the season.

Oakmont Bakery has since adopted the farkleberry tradition — in name at least — turning the popular tart into a cookie. (The "farkleberries" in the bakery's cookies are actually cranberries.) The bakery continues the berry’s philanthropic history by donating one dollar per dozen to the Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund. In the short holiday season, Oakmont Bakery will sell around 27,000 of these cookies (in 2018, the bakery hit 27,152).

The cookies are soft, orange-flavored, and packed with dried cranberries (aka farkleberries) and white chocolate chips. The flavor is a unique one for the season, disregarding the common peppermint-chocolate combo for berries and citrus. It’s a refreshing, lighter break from the all-too-common rich, oversweet winter desserts.

The cookies could easily be confused for a muffin (another reason to eat cookies for breakfast). Their texture is cake-y and dense; similar to, but less buttery, than a scone. Cranberries are the balancing factor; their acidity cuts through the heavy treat.

And, as a finishing touch, there’s a blizzard’s worth of powdered sugar on each cookie. Watch out for your dark jeans — one bite and they’ll be dusted by loose sugar.

Location Details

Oakmont Bakery

531 Allegheny Ave., Oakmont Oakmont


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