If there’s one thing I gotta say for those Baked boys when it comes to me and my tastes, they must practice some kind of baking wizardry with their recipes from time to time. I’m usually pretty staunch when I do not like a particular ingredient – and while I could type out the entire list for you (it’s long because – surprise! – I’m picky), I won’t; suffice it to say that MALT is on that list. However, a couple months ago, those Milk Chocolate Malted Pots de Creme weren’t all that bad. And this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings assignment, Malted Milk Sandwich Cookies – a photo of which graces the cover of Baked Explorations, along with Salt and Pepper Sandwich Cookies – was one I initially balked at, only to wind up surprisingly pleased with the end result. It had MALT in the title – how on earth could I like it? Blech!
For the record, this is my first Baked cover recipe I have baked! Everything in me wanted to shriek when measuring out 3/4 cup malted milk powder into the dry ingredients, but I forged ahead. If there is anything I’m steadily learning in baking, it’s that sometimes you can appreciate certain ingredients with time, usually baked into desserts in unique ways that either mask the flavor, or enhance it in a way more pleasing to a typically fussy palate like – ahem – mine. Another ingredient I have actually grown to enjoy is coconut, though I’m not quite sure I could chow down on a ton of coconut macaroons or a piece of coconut cake yet, and I actually prefer it toasted and crunchy.
The dough to these cookies is rather unique, as during the creaming of the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and eggs process it seems to resemble – and taste like – your standard chocolate chip cookie dough. The recipe is turned into something a little different by the inclusion of the malt and a bit of sour cream – I suspect to give the cookies a little bit of tang. The dough itself is quite sticky, and you will definitely want to keep it chilled, as the recipe suggests, for 3 hours – only using small pieces of it while rolling it out, keeping the rest in the refrigerator. I found that I had to work quickly, flouring the board I was rolling the dough out on several times, as the dough warms and becomes soft and sticky rather quickly.
Once baked, I couldn’t resist biting into a cookie to see what I would think of the taste. The dough, on initial taste, definitely had that nutty malt flavor, but I was surprised that I was nonplussed by it. The cookies themselves are delicious. I baked each batch for the full 12 minutes mentioned in Baked’s recipe, yielding cookies with a crispy bite to the edges and a slightly chewy center. They tasted warmly of butterscotch to me, more so than malt. Being a huge butterscotch aficionado, this was a definite plus.
The filling recipe starts with – EEEK! – a whopping 5 ounces of vegetable shortening, which I confess always makes me squirm a little. Using highly hydrogenated fats in my baking is not something I like to make a practice of in the slightest, but I suppose as this cookie is somewhat modeled after the Oreo cookie, I can see what they were hoping to achieve here. I found that, a bit contrary to what the recipe said, my shortening and butter (both at room temperature) did not become completely smooth when mixed together until the gradual addition of the powdered sugar, so don’t worry if your fats do not homogenize right away. I feel that the little kiss of rum suggested is essential in rounding out the definite initial taste of shortening in the filling, so even if you are not a fan of booze in your recipes, you might still want to add it. If you’re a complete teetotaler, well… yes, leave it out! I used dark rum and it was fine (I wasn’t about to run out to the liquor store for 1 teaspoon of light rum). For the sake of expediency, I favored using a pastry bag to pipe the filling onto my cookies, but you can certainly spread the filling with a knife or offset spatula.
I found these cookies, overall, quite delightful! They are a wonderful, sturdy enough cookie to pack up and take to gatherings, as folks always seem to be impressed by your baking prowess when you present them with a good sandwich cookie. The soft filling is a nice, pleasing complement to the crunchy, buttery cookie, though I must warn you – it does squidge out of the sandwich cookie a bit at first bite. These cookies also beg to be paired with a nice, cold glass of milk. I was happy to see that I had some plain, unfilled cookies left, as I prefer to just munch on those – or maybe fill them with a good homemade vanilla ice cream? Hmmmm…
Baked, you surprised me again. While I’m not about to run out and buy several boxes of malted milk balls, I have to confess that you’re slowly converting me to malt. Masterful manipulation, guys. (I don’t think you can quite practice that magic on me with pistachios or peanuts, however… that’s an incredibly LONG shot.)
Bake your own malt-licious cookies by following this link:
…and please do visit the blogs of my Baked Sunday Mornings comrades. It’s always wonderful to see how everyone fared with the recipes week after week!
Next week: Lemon Shaker Pie