It’s that happy time of the year where, if you’re lucky, leftover Halloween candy rains down upon your head. I don’t get many trick-or-treaters to my city apartment; in fact I get zero; so I don’t really have to deal with the conundrum of figuring out exactly how much candy to buy every year. So many unknown factors build up to one big question: how many kids? Weather factors in, certainly, and that can be very unpredictable in some parts. Neighborhoods also age – what might have been an endless stream of kids one year, can turn into a trickle as those kids grow up and become too cool to knock on doors for candy. The struggle is real, my friends because god forbid you run out of candy.
While many people buy the same amount every year and turn off their lights when it’s gone, this would have horrified my mother. Running out of candy is simply not acceptable in her eyes. She has always loved the sight of a gigantic bowl of good candy and got a kick out of the kids faces when they saw it. You know what I mean by the good stuff too, right? None of those weird orange and black wrapped taffy things. No sesame candy. And certainly no pennies! Or toothbrushes! What’s up with that? One year when I was a kid I came home with a thing of dental floss. Please! I threw it over my shoulder and continued to dig through my stash with wild abaondon. The post trick-or-treating frenzy is not the time to worry about dental hygiene, trust me.
So I’m going propose a radical idea here. Take a page from my mother’s book and only buy candy that you like. Who wants crappy candy lying around? There’s plenty of that in your kids Halloween stashes as others may not follow this principle. Yeah, yeah, I know. Who wants an extra candy lying around? Well, some of us do and some of us would like to possibly manage what ends up in the house. If this is you, then you are my people. But here’s what you need to do: have a plan. Maybe even buy your Halloween candy with a plan in mind. Maybe these cookies can be your plan.
True to form, I had a few boxes of malt balls lying around, leftover from a project. Rather than just eat them, I turned them into cookies. A rich, chocolate malt dough, with crushed malt balls throughout and the added bonus of a few spoonfuls of malt powder in the dough. They are thin with crispy edges and chewy, fudgy centers and a pinch of flaky salt on top takes them over the edge.They are also use up quite a few of those malt balls. Like I said … have a plan.
STRESS THERAPY BAKING FACTOR: SMARTY PANTS. Take that candy, or better yet, raid the kids stash, pick out all the Whoppers and make these cookies pronto. They are like chewy chocolate malts. How could you not want that? Send a stack in the school lunch or toss a few in your backpack. You’ll be glad you did. I can personally attest to the fact that they are perfect for stress eating, satisfyingly chewy and crunchy at the same time. I went through maybe a dozen watching game 5 of the World Series while I wrote this post. Feel great!
Seven years ago: Cucumber Kimchi
Six years ago: Chicken Pot Pies
Five years ago: Simple Apple Cake
Four years ago: Kale & Squash Salad
Three years ago: Pickled Green Cherry Tomatoes
Two years ago: Sherry Candied Walnut Salad
Last year: Thai Peanut Butter
CHOCOLATE MALT COOKIES
Makes about 3 dozen
¼ pound milk chocolate, finely chopped (4 ounces/¾ cup) (note the additional chocolate below)
½ cup unsalted butter (4 ounces/1 stick)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup malt powder (such as Ovaltine, chocolate flavor preferred if you have it)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 pound milk chocolate, roughly chopped into ¼” chunks or chips (2 ounces/1/3 cup)
¾ cup crushed malted milk balls (such as Whoppers) (3 ounces)
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or chocolate extract if you have it)
½ teaspoon large flake sea salt, like Maldon (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325°F and line 2-3 sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Melt the first ¼ pound of finely chopped chocolate with the butter. You have two options: Double boiler method: in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, stirring until fully melted. Microwave method: in a microwave safe bowl, 45 second bursts at 50% power, stirring between bursts until fully melted. (My preference.)
- Let the chocolate cool slightly while you whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, malt powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Transfer the melted chocolate to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and on medium, add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour/cocoa mixture.
- Add the chocolate chunks/chips and stir on low until just combined. Note: the dough can be frozen up to two months at this point. Easiest is to shape into balls, freeze on a sheet plan then transfer to a Ziploc once frozen. Frozen cookie balls can go right from the freezer to the oven, just add a minute or two to the baking time.
- With a small ice cream scoop (1”) or a spoon, scoop Tablespoon size balls of dough and space cookies 2” apart on prepared sheet pans. They spread quite a bit during baking.
- Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt on top of each cookie.
- Bake 12-14 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking – top to bottom and front to back. The cookies will be quite soft coming out of the oven – once cool, they should be just crisp on the edges with set but slightly puffy centers. Adjust baking time if necessary.
- Let cool on pans then carefully remove and place on serving tray.
- Cookies will keep for several days, tightly wrapped.