Monday, September 21, 2009

Chocolate Malted Maltesers Drops

It's one of those days when I'm craving frosted chocolate malt ice cream with Maltesers in it. Oooh...sinful...yet sheer bliss on the taste buds. Chocolate and malt make a fantastic pairing, and this is shown evidently in this delicious cookie.

Using the recipe from "Baking from my home to yours", I tried as far as possible to keep to the original, yet using the best ingredients I can find here. The rich, dark, Valrhona cocoa powder gave these babies a deep brown hue and an irresistible chocolate flavour. After discovering Valrhona, it's pretty hard to switch back to the pre-packed house brand cocoa powder again. The difference in smell and taste is so distinct , it's definitely worth the investment in good cocoa.

The recipe calls for Whoppers, but I used Maltesers instead (due to my craving) and these worked really well for me. Ghiradhelli semisweet chips were added - one of my baking must-haves. I had a hard time searching for this batch of Ghiradhelli chips and finally found them in NTUC. Strangely enough, this cost me half the price of the same pack in Cold Storage. So I grabbed a couple of them for use on days when I'm just itching to bake. If anyone knows where else I can get hold of these chips on a regular basis, do let me know.

Halfway into the 12 minutes baking times, these babies were already smelling good! The resultant texture was soft, slightly cakey, yet fluffy and light at the same time. The cookie's not too sweet, accentuated by the distinct taste of malt and the sweet chocolate chips giving it the richness it needs. These are so good I had two of them at one go, when I usually stop at one.

Taking this out of the oven, I love how these cookies held its shape. They don't spread very much, hence the 2 inch distance between drops of dough can be reduced to slightly over 1 inch. The lovely dome-shaped top makes them look really pretty and fluffy.

The recipe yielded about 36 cookies for me. I prefer my cookies smaller, around the size of the Arnotts Mint Cookies and unlike the large round Subway cookies. Smaller ones are easier on the waistline and are more ladies-friendly, though a box of these normally gets eaten up within 2-3 days...especially with my dad and bro gobbling them down in front of the tv. Well, this gives me more excuses to do more baking and try out new recipes!

Baking is therapy to me. Whenever I'm sad or down, I'm inclined to bake to shift my attention away from my problems and heartbreaks and use the energy on perfecting this work. After seeing the resultant product, I often feel alot better...and seeing my friends and family enjoying the lovely sweet treats really makes my day.

Chocolate Malted Maltesers Drops

adapted from Baking from my home to yours (by Dorie Greenspan)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup malted milk powder (I used horlicks)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
11 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
6 ounces chocolate-covered malted milk balls (I used Maltesers)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or store-bought chocolate chips/chunks (I used Ghiradhelli semi-sweet)


1. Line the baking sheets with silicon-coated baking paper.

2. Sift together the flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

3. Working with a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minuts, until very smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed and add in half the dry ingredients, mixing until incorporated. Mix in the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients until they disappear into the batter. By hand using a rubber spatula, mix in the malted milk balls and chocolate chips.

4. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto the sheets, leaving slightly more than 1 inch between the heaps of dough. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the sheets every 6 minutes.

5. When done, the cookies will puff up and will be slightly soft to the touch. Let the cookies cool on the sheet before transferring them to racks to cool at room temperature.

Yields 36 cookies.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Classic Brownies

Brownies are rich, delectable treats which every chocolate fan will love. I still recall my very first time baking brownies. A schoolmate of mine came by with a box of delicious, fudgy, crumbly brownies and won over the hearts of the entire class. The taste still lingers, the memory etched firmly in my mind.

It's been a year since I last baked brownies. I've always wondered why the top of my brownies always turned out hard while the centre and bottom remained moist. This has always been attributed to the high sugar content in this little brown bites. The mystery was eventually solved when I bought myself a new non-stick brownie baking pan. The secret lies in the even distribution of the heat in the oven. The disposable aluminium trays that I'd been using just couldn't serve this purpose well. And boy, did my new investment serve me well. It definitely did.

Scouring through my brownie recipes, I was torn between replicating the brownies I had in school versus the classic brownies recipe in my new baking bible. Eventually, I chose the latter. I've been coveting this book for a pretty long time after reading all the raves and reviews on it. I got it as a gift, thanks to a lovely boy who remembered how much I wanted this. It's really a lovely read, the recipes clear and detailed with little tips by the side to guide bakers along. I just can't wait to try out the rest of the recipes in this book.

These brownies turned out very well, just like how I'd like them. Fudgy, not cakey, with a deep chocolate flavour. The type of chocolate used is central to its taste. In this case, I used high-quality Swiss chocolate in a dark chocolate and milk chocolate combination. In classic brownies, dark chocolate rules. I firmly believe in that. This version was made to please the tastebuds of non-dark-chocolate lovers, hence the adaptation.

The espresso powder that I used for the first time, really adds to the "kick" in these brownies. Strongly recommended, though optional.

The recipe yields 16 brownies, firm on the top yet not rock hard like how it used to turn out for me, while the inside is moist, rich and fudgy. My love for brownies has just been rekindled with this very experiment.

Classic Brownies
adapted from Baking from my home to yours (by Dorie Greenspan)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces milk chocolate
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional, but recommended)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup all purpose flour


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8" square baking pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.

2. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl, top with the chopped chocolates and stir occasionally until the ingredients are just melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.

3. With a whisk, stir in the sugar. The mixture will turn grainy. Then add the eggs, one at a time and stir till well incorporated. Add the vanilla and give the ingredients a vigorous whisk before gently stirring in the espresso. Slowly incorporate the salt and flour and mix till just incorporated.

4. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

5. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes or until the top is dull and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the brownies to room temperature.

6. When the brownies are completely cool, turn out onto a rack, peel away the foil and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares, each about 2 inches wide.

Yields 16 brownies.


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