Are you a die-hard chocolate-malt lover? If so, these chocolate brownies are for you.
For a few months now, I have had what my late grandmother Jessie used to call a “yen” for chocolate-malt (Jessie had a great brownie recipe, too). I blame my chocolate-malt fixation on Geni of Sweet and Crumby, after her post on a famous chocolate malt cake from a diner in Pasadena.
Geni’s post prompted me to adapt her chocolate-malt buttercream frosting; I used it as a filling for a cupcake, topped with a quick meringue icing from King Arthur Flour’s site via the tantalizing “Chocolate Bliss Cake” from Debbie’s instructive site, A Feast for the Eyes. The InterTubes seem perfect for reusing and recycling, if not reducing in this instance (and you can forget about that last one in the context of double-chocolate-malt iced brownies).
Recycling and reusing are not new to me. My first “official” job was working for a recycling centre part-time while in high school, for the minimum wage of $2.65/hour. Despite the low pay, there were perks, such as finding and reading a wealth of publications during slow times (not to mention the shocking revelation of a vast variety and quantity of unmentionable magazines – at least for a 16-year-old, back in the pre-InterWeb days of the 1970s).
More recently, I worked for a world-wide conservation organization, whose recognizable logo is an endangered black-and-white bear – have you guessed it yet? At one teleconference, I offered that the well-known campaign “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is not a triumvirate of equals, rather it was a hierarchy. That is, first, we should reduce consumption before reusing or repurposing things. If those two are not possible, recycling is the next step. I had said this in a discussion on how to best engage people in daily activities around conservation. The campaign of the “Three Rs”, dating back to the 1970s, was one to which people now give little thought about the components. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” are so well-known that rarely do people reflect on the better and best options within the trio.
At the risk of a Holden-Caulfield-esque accusation of a “digression”, this will be the last time I reuse photos from my recent trip to England and Scotland, with a vague attempt for food-related pictures. In the charming Cotswolds town called “Broadway” (where the neon lights are not brighter, as neon does not exists in Broadway), the Horse and Hounds pub made a quaint subject for a photo:
In nearby Bath, the Sally Lunn Bun is famous. I imagine it is no longer baked in the “faggot oven” (!?!) which I had in my previous post. The light and tender rolls lent themselves to both the sweet (clotted cream and lemon curd) and savoury (Welsh rarebit) courses we sampled:
Near the impressive Exmoor National Park, the medieval village of Dunster had many dining options, including the very good Stag’s Head Pub (background), where we enjoyed a fine local dinner.
Sheep dot the landscape throughout the Lake District and provide the basis for many a Sunday roast in the UK (not to mention the inspiration for this unusual side “dish”, which I discovered linked to my post on Yorkshire pudding and German pancakes, just last week!).
Finally, at the very northern edge of the Lake District, the town of Cockermouth is “open for business”, after ravaging floods last year. The downtown was very colourful and featured a pleasant restaurant called Carlin’s, where we dined one evening:
For the review of the brownie and the recipe…
Throughout the trip, I saw Horlick’s malt powder on the shelves of English supermarkets, such as Sainsbury’s. Hence, my hankering for chocolate malt continued. (Another digression: I kept thinking there should be a Marquis and Marchioness of Sainsbury’s, perhaps the title would go to the winner of a competition akin to a “Miss-Iowa-State-Fair-Pork-Product” pageant). I recently noticed the chocolate malt brownies on Vancouver-based Leanne’s How Sweet It Is, which she took from Martha Stewart. Then I recalled a wonderful chocolate-malt cake I made from a Nigella Lawson recipe that is unfortunately not on her site (but which brings back to England, so the photos above are justified, no?). Icing on the brownie would make it doubly chocolate and doubly malty. I just had to add pecans to the recipe.
The result was a very chewy brownie – exactly the consistency I like in a brownie yet rarely have achieved. It is not too sweet, but the brownie is rich in chocolate and malt flavour. The icing is sweeter but complements the brownie very well, as do the pecans, for texture. I did not use chocolate malted-milk balls, such as Maltesers (British) or Whoppers (American), but they would make a nice decoration for the icing.
In the spirit of reusing and recycling, try this recipe for a double-dose of chocolate and malt.
Double-Chocolate Double-Malted Brownies, adapted from Martha Stewart, via Leanne of How Sweet It Is
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
- 1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) malted-milk powder
- 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
- 1 cup broken pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts (optional)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter and lightly flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan (I lined mine with a reusable non-stick insert – more of the 3 Rs…); set aside.
- Combine chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water; stir until melted and smooth (or melt at 50% power, one minute at a time until chocolate is almost entirely melted – this worked for me unlike the recent seizing for my millionaire’s shortbread). Set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, and malted-milk powder; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat sugar and eggs until thickened and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add melted chocolate mixture and vanilla; mix to combine, about 30 seconds more.
- Using a spatula, fold in flour mixture, along with nuts (if using), until just combined.
- Spoon batter into prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.
- Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on it, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Transfer brownies to a wire rack to cool.
- Ice with Chocolate Malt Buttercream Icing, when completely cool, to double your chocolate-malt experience.