Vanilla Malt Cookies

I got these Vanilla Malt Cookies right on the first try. That doesn’t happen very often, so it warrants a mention.

Vanilla Malt CookiesIt was a random Wednesday three years ago and I was making five-or-so dozen of whatever I wanted for a weekly cookie order I had at the time. I could have just made a batch of chocolate chip cookies every week and they would have been happy, but instead, I took this standing commitment as an opportunity to try new ratios, methods, and flavors. Every Wednesday night, I’d bring in a couple of new recipes and take feedback from the group. In case you are wondering, in addition to being a good way to do some experimental baking, being the “cookie lady” is also a great way to make friends.

Vanilla Malt CookiesRecipes that got the group’s approval include my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookies, Banana Pudding Cookies, and Maple Creme Sandwich Cookies, among others in the archives. Luckily, I was smart enough to write almost all of the recipes down…you know, just in case I ever started a baking blog 😉

Vanilla Malt CookiesAll that is to say, these Vanilla Malt Cookies were a last-second experiment-turned-instant-hit, and I’m here on this snowy Wednesday three years after their debut to tell you all about them.

Vanilla Malt Cookies Trust me, the minute you sink your teeth into one of these Vanilla Malt Cookies, you’re going to lose your cookie-loving mind. While these are a bit thinner than most of the cookies you’ll find on this site, what they lack in puffiness, they more than make up for in chewy centers and crispy edges.

Vanilla Malt CookiesOh, and flavor. Between the big hit of vanilla extract and the richness of the malted milk powder (and the butter! and the white chocolate chips!), there’s plenty going on here.

Vanilla Malt CookiesI know there’s at least one person out there wondering why I chose to make these malted beauties with vanilla instead of chocolate. To that person, I say that vanilla malt may not be as popular as its chocolate counterpart, but it is just as delicious, if not more so. The vanilla and malted milk powder complement each other beautifully and make everything about these cookies just…divine.

Vanilla Malt CookiesBut if you really can’t wrap your mind around malt without chocolate, see here, here, here, and here, for everything chocolate-malty.

Vanilla Malt CookiesFor the rest of you, make a batch of this cookie dough, crank the oven to 350F, and prepare to fall in love.Vanilla Malt Cookies

Vanilla Malt Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
4 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, malted milk powder, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Mix in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix in white chocolate chips. Dough will be very thick.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions and preheat the oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments, roll into balls, and place at least 3 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 9-11 minutes, rotating pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back at the 5 minute mark. Cookies are done when edges are just barely starting to turn golden and centers still look a bit underdone. Let cookies cool on pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Let baking sheets come back to room temperature before repeating process with any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Vanilla Malt Cookies

Chocolate Malt Magic Bars

Chocolate Malt Magic BarsI’ve been into more complex recipes lately–recipes that require me to be fearless and willing to make mistakes and try again (and again, and again). Yeast doughs and layer cakes, y’all. They’re not for the faint of heart. I am (briefly) resisting the urge to make another today. As much fun as I have with these more involved recipes, I don’t know that I can handle another day like this past Saturday quite so soon.

So today, let’s keep it simple. Really, really simple. Like seven ingredients, no room temperature-ing, no mixer, no stress simple. But with a major chocolate payoff.

Chocolate Malt Magic BarsY’all, these Chocolate Malt Magic Bars are fantastic. They have all the flavors of your favorite fountain treat, plus a buttery chocolate cookie crust. Did I mention that they come together in less than 45 minutes start-to-finish?! Let me show you.

First, make a chocolate cookie crust. Simply place a couple of sleeves of chocolate sandwich cookies in a food processor and pulverize them. Drizzle in some melted butter and process until the mixture holds together like wet sand. Press that into the bottom of a foil-lined 8-inch pan and bake for five minutes, just to set.

Chocolate Malt Magic BarsChop a bunch of chocolate and scatter it over the crust. I used milk chocolate here, as I prefer its smooth flavor alongside that of the malted milk powder. If dark chocolate is more your style, feel free to use it. You could also throw in some chopped malted milk balls, if you happen to have them on hand.

Chocolate Malt Magic BarsHere’s where it all comes together. Whisk together a can of sweetened condensed milk, a tablespoon of melted butter, and a touch of vanilla. Add in a hefty dose of malted milk powder and a little bit of cocoa powder, and mix until smooth. Drizzle that over the chopped chocolate and tap the pan on the counter a few times to ensure even distribution. Bake it all for 30 minutes or so, until the filling just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled. Let the bars cool completely before slicing and treating yourself to two 😊

Chocolate Malt Magic BarsI hope y’all are as obsessed with chocolate malt flavor as I am because these bars have A LOT of it. The jazzed-up condensed milk and chopped milk chocolate melt together as the bars bake, creating a soft, chewy, chocolaty, malty layer of amazingness. And underneath all of that, there’s that crunchy, buttery cookie crust. These bars are a texture-lover’s dream! Incredible texture, chocolate malt flavor, and they’re easy? If I were you, I’d be running to the kitchen right now.Chocolate Malt Magic Bars

Chocolate Malt Magic Bars
makes 1 8-inch pan, about 12-16 bars

24 chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup malted milk powder (I use Carnation)
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving overhang on two sides. Generously butter foil. Set aside.

Place chocolate sandwich cookies the bowl of a food processor and process until pulverized. Add 5 tablespoons of melted butter. Pulse until combined. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Press into an even layer. Bake for five minutes, until set. Set crust aside to cool while you prepare the filling.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk in malted milk powder and cocoa powder. Mixture will be slightly grainy.

Scatter chopped milk chocolate over the crust. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk mixture over chocolate. Tap pan on the counter several times to distribute mixture and release any air bubbles. Bake for 30-32 minutes, tenting pan with foil at the 10 minute mark. Bars are done when the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is jostled.

Let bars cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use overhang to remove bars from the pan to a cutting board. Peel off foil. Slice with a lightly-greased knife and serve.

Malted Whoppers Cookies

Malted Whoppers CookiesIt feels good to be making cookies again. I haven’t baked much since the holidays ended–I had eaten so much sugar that it simply didn’t appeal. I made a few cakes for orders, but other than those (and a batch of granola), January was all savory. It was nice to change it up, but…I just really love making cookies.

Malted Whoppers CookiesY’all know I have a thing for chocolate malts. I already have a recipe for the classic fountain treat and a really delicious Malted Chocolate Buttercream on here. If I had it my way, there would be malted milk powder in pretty much everything I make, but since an all-malt-all-the-time blog might get a little tedious, I’ve tried to space it out.

If you are as in love with malted milk powder as I am, today’s your lucky day. These Malted Whoppers Cookies have a double dose of the good stuff: 1/2 cup in the dough and crushed Whoppers candies strewn throughout! Oh yes, these are a malt lover’s dream cookie.

Malted Whoppers CookiesOne thing before we get to the recipe. I have gone on and on about how I prefer my cookies to be puffy rather than flat. Malted milk powder contains sugar which, combined with the sugar in this recipe, causes the cookies to spread. Normally, this would drive me insane, but somehow these thinner cookies don’t bother me in the slightest. Maybe it’s the chewy centers and crispy edges. Or maybe it’s all that malt.

It’s probably the malt.Malted Whoppers Cookies

Malted Whoppers Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups Whoppers candies, crushed (most of a 12-ounce box)

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, malted milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Add granulated and dark brown sugar and beat until combined. Mix in eggs one by one, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, combining completely after each addition. Add crushed Whoppers and mix just until dispersed. Cover dough with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Scoop chilled dough in 2 tablespoon increments and roll into balls (I use a medium cookie scoop). Place dough balls at least 3 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until the edges are turning golden and the tops are still a bit shiny. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Malted Whoppers Cookies

Chocolate Malts

Chocolate MaltsI have a bit of a chocolate malt problem. I get serious cravings for them once or twice a month, and totally lose my mind until I wind up getting one at a diner or the Shake Shack by my apartment.

The trick to ordering chocolate malts is to always, always ask for extra malt. There’s nothing more dissatisfying than ordering a malt and ending up with something indistinguishable from a regular chocolate milkshake…not that there’s anything wrong with regular chocolate milkshakes. Except that they’re not chocolate malts!

Chocolate MaltsAnyway…I bought myself a blender last week and decided it was high time I start making malts at home. Even though I knew the gist of the recipe (ice cream, malted milk powder, and milk), I looked online to check out proportions. I saw many recipes that used chocolate ice cream as the base, and that was my plan too, until I ran across a method from Sweet Moses, an old-fashioned soda fountain in Cleveland, Ohio.

Sweet Moses uses vanilla ice cream as its base, flavoring the malt with chocolate syrup. The measurements and proportions in the article are a little on the vague side, so I picked up all the necessary ingredients and spent a night testing chocolate malts until I got the recipe just right. <–Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds.

Below is the recipe for the absolute best chocolate malt I have ever had. And I’ve had a lot of chocolate malts–two per month for eight years, so I’m sort of an expert (or something). My recipe is rich and chocolaty with a pronounced malt flavor, and perfect for eating with a spoon or a straw (or both!). 

The secret here is all in the ingredients. There are only four of them, so make sure they’re good quality.

Chocolate MaltsChocolate Malts

  • Use whole milk. Don’t go for skim or even 2%. It just won’t taste right without the fat content in whole milk. Remember that this is an indulgence, not an everyday thing. Live a little.
  • There are two major brands of malted milk powder: Carnation and Horlicks. I prefer Carnation, but buy whichever you like.
  • As with the malted milk powder, buy whichever chocolate syrup you enjoy most. I am partial to the richer dutch process cocoa flavor of Hershey’s Special Dark.
  • Buy high-quality vanilla ice cream. As with the milk, resist trying to lower the fat content here. Again, this is a treat, not an everyday food. Using really good ingredients and treating them well will ensure a good chocolate malt. Trying to lower the calorie count will just disappoint you in the flavor department, and quite possibly send you to Shake Shack to order a $6 chocolate malt with extra malt. Make it the right way at home, and save your $6 for something else 😊

Chocolate MaltsAs for the mixing, blend together the milk, chocolate syrup, and malted milk powder. Then add the vanilla ice cream and alternate pulsing it together in your blender and stirring with a long spoon. This will keep the malt thick enough that you could eat it with a spoon, but thin enough that it can be sipped through a straw. If you want a thicker malt, add more ice cream. For a thinner malt, add more milk. Top it with whipped cream and extra chocolate syrup, or enjoy it as-is.

This is your chocolate malt. Make it exactly the way you like it.

Chocolate Malts
Chocolate Malts
adapted from Sweet Moses
makes about 2.5 cups, or 2-3 small milkshakes

1/3 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons malted milk powder
6 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream

For Serving:
lightly-sweetened whipped cream
chocolate syrup

Combine milk, malted milk powder, and chocolate syrup in a high-powered blender. Pulse to combine. Add vanilla ice cream, and alternately pulse and mix by hand with a long spoon until combined and thick. Add more ice cream for a thicker shake, or more milk for a thinner one.

Divide into two or three small glasses. Serve with whipped cream and additional chocolate syrup, if desired.

Chocolate Cake with Malted Chocolate Buttercream

 My birthday is this weekend! I’m going to be 31 😁 I feel a little old, but I’m also really enjoying this phase of my life. 

In my 31st year, I have:

  • seen my family on six separate occasions (together and individually), including my 30th birthday trip to Santa Fe, a super-secret surprise trip to Austin for E3’s birthday, and visits to NYC from my mom, both sisters, and sister-in-law. That’s the most time I’ve spent with them since I moved to NYC in 2007. The older I get, the more I appreciate the amazing people who made me who I am.
  • spent some time off the grid in Maine, and enjoyed it way more than I ever expected. I can’t wait to do it again in a few weeks.
  • catered a dinner party for 300 people. I had three amazing helpers, and it went off without a hitch despite the six weeks of panic that preceded it. I hope to do it again this year…because I am insane.
  • moved. And moving in New York is horrible. Heck, moving anywhere is horrible. But I love my new apartment. Shoutout to my mom for coming to help me on the coldest weekend ever.
  • navigated my way through some major life changes and lessons with some modicum of grace and dignity.
  • opened my own Netflix account. #adulting
  • realized that I am still figuring out who I am. I hope this never ends.
  • made a lot of cookies. And eaten a lot of cookies.
  • really fallen in love with my friendships. My friends really stepped up and took care of me this year when I didn’t feel like I could do it myself. There’s nothing like laughing ’til you cry when you feel like your life is a mess. Thanks, guys.
  • started a baking blog. I dreamt of having this blog for six years before hitting “publish.” Thank you for reading, liking, sharing, and making the recipes. Thank you for making this little corner of the Internet what it is: a place filled with sugar and ridiculousness. Without you, I’m just talking to myself. 

…that got a lot mushier than I intended. 

This weekend, I’ll be celebrating at a cookout with those I hold nearest and dearest. My friends are making dinner, and I can’t wait! They offered to make dessert too, but being me, I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. I’ll be there with pie 😊

Of course, I thought about cake, but with the heat we’ve been having, I am afraid the frosting would melt. But I just can’t let my birthday go by without cake, so I’ve been celebrating a little early with this Chocolate Cake with Malted Chocolate Buttercream. The cake is moist, fluffy, and so, so easy. The best part? No mixer required! I’ve been making this cake for two years, and I can safely say that it’s the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. And that’s coming from a self-proclaimed vanilla person. 

The frosting is a tribute to one of my very favorite things: chocolate malts. Oh yes, I love a chocolate malt. I just *have* to have one at least twice a month. It only seems appropriate that I’d use it as inspiration for my birthday cake frosting. This is a super easy chocolate buttercream with a hefty dose of malted milk powder. It’s creamy, dreamy, chocolaty, malty magic. If malt isn’t your thing, I recommend replacing the cup of malted milk powder in the recipe with an additional cup of confectioner’s sugar. It’ll still be delicious 😊 

As for decorating, I went for a sort of naked cake approach here, using the bulk of the frosting to frost the top and fill the layers. This recipe makes enough frosting to fully frost and fill a two layer 9″ round cake, if you’d like to cover the whole thing. If you want to pipe, you’ll need to make 1.5 times the recipe. No matter which route you choose to go, your cake will be fantastic.

If you don’t have a reason to make cake this weekend, I give you full permission to use my birthday as an excuse. We’re Internet friends after all. And friends who eat Malted Chocolate Buttercream together stay together, right?!

Have a great weekend! 

 Chocolate Cake with Malted Chocolate Buttercream
cake recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes one two layer 9″ round cake

For the pan:
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder

Cake:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch Process)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (low fat is fine)*
1 cup strong, hot coffee (decaf is fine)

Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup malted milk powder (I use Carnation)
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream

chocolate chips, for decorating (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the pans. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together oil and cocoa powder. Use a pastry brush to paint the entire insides of the pans with the mixture. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl to sift together flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and eggs, followed by vanilla, buttermilk, and coffee. Whisk in dry ingredients in three installments, just until combined. Divide batter evenly among the pans. Tap full pans on the counter five times to release any air bubbles. Bake 23-27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in pans for ten minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edges. Invert cakes onto cooling racks and allow to cool to room temperature.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar, followed by cocoa powder. Mix in malted milk powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, and beat on high for two minutes. Add more cream by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached. Fill the layers and frost as desired. Decorate with chocolate chips, if desired.

Frosted cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days, and in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Note:

If you don’t have buttermilk, put one tablespoon of white vinegar in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup, then pour milk up to the 2 cup mark. Stir and let sit for five minutes, until curdled. Use as instructed in the recipe. Do not use skim or fat free milk.