Malted Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookie
This one is full of gluten, but with a few tweaks, it can be made gluten-free
I cannot say no to anything chocolate (ok, I can say no to chocolate covered bacon. That is just silly). When I wanted to come up with my idea of the ultimate chocolate cookie, I didn’t just want to do a chocolate chip. I wanted to do all chocolate, from top to bottom.
First of all, there are a lot of opinions about what makes the perfect cookie. Some people like thick, cake-like cookies. Others like the big, thin, crispy ones. For me, I love a thin, chewy cookie that is a little salty and sweet. When you have the perfect ratio of chewy, crispy and salty; oh man. It is like a bite of heaven.
I tend to get obsessive when it comes to getting a recipe just right. This one took my many tries and is some amalgamation of recipes I found across the internet and in some of my favorite cookbooks. There are 3 very important ingredients that you need to get it just right.
That famous cookie recipe from the yellow bag of chocolate chips has you cream butter with the sugars. When you do this, you are whipping air into the mixture, which will in turn give you a lighter, more cake-like cookie. Now, I have nothing against that kind of cookie, but you won’t get that chew. When you melt butter, there is less air so you don’t get that aerated cookie dough. If you want to go the extra mile, brown your butter.
In a small saucepan, on medium heat, melt your butter, stirring constantly. Continue stirring it for 4 to 5 minutes until you smell a nutty, toasted aroma and start to see brown speck in your butter. These specks are the milk solids in butter browning and will lead to a deeper, nuttier flavor in your cookie. Once your butter is browned, transfer it into a heatproof bowl and let it cool for about 20 minutes before adding your other ingredients.
Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
The type of cocoa powder you use is very important because it will tell you what type of leavening agent you need to use (baking soda or baking powder). I always use dutch-processed cocoa powder. This means that the raw cocoa powder has been neutralized (that makes it sound like it is an alien), meaning it is no longer acidic so you will need to use baking powder (which has acid in it) to leaven your cookies.
I personally like ‘dutched’ cocoa because it has a darker color and in my opinion a better flavor. I know that this sounds really silly, but remember, baking is chemistry, so you need to get the chemistry right to get the best result. If you want to read more about it, Joy the Baker has a great explanation.
This is the cocoa powder I use: Whole Foods 365 brand organic cocoa powder.
Malted Milk Powder
You know malted milk balls? That salty, savory sweetness? That is malted milk. I had never thought of putting malted milk or powdered milk in cookies until I read Christina Tosi’s recipe for chocolate chip cookies. If you have ever had a Milk Bar cookie, you know just how good they are. When I lived in Brooklyn, I would go to the Milk Bar in Carrol Gardens every Sunday morning to get a cookie. The best part: the chewy middle of every cookie. And that comes from the milk powder. She used non-fat milk powder, which I can tell you is delicious but malted milk powder is oh so much better. Malted milk is a mixture of malted barley extracts, dry milk, sodium bicarbonate, wheat flour and salt (so definitely not gluten-free). It is hard to describe the flavor that it gives to the finished cookies. It does add some saltiness, but it is more like an umami, slightly savory.
But we want the malted milk powder for the chewiness it gives to the cookies. If you need to make these gluten-free, use Bob’s Red Mill Nonfat Dry Milk Powder to get the chewy texture and add an extra pinch of flaky sea salt and half a teaspoon of ground coriander. You can buy malt flavoring, but use it sparingly. It is very potent.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsps malted milk powder
1 tsp espresso powder (optional)
1/2 cup chopped milk chocolate
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
1 tbsp flaky sea salt (for topping the cookies)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, malted milk powder, salt and espresso powder (if using it). Set aside
In a large, heatproof bowl, melt the butter. I use the trusty microwave, melting in 30 second increments until just melted. Let cool for about 15 minutes. After the butter is slightly cooled, add both sugars and whisk until it forms a smooth paste.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk vigorously for about 4 minutes (it’s a bit of a workout). You want the mixture to become lighter in color and form ribbons when you lift the whisk out of the bowl.
Add half of the dry ingredients, folding until mostly mixed (it’s ok if some flour is still unmixed). Add the rest of the flour mix along with the chopped chocolate. Fold together until just combined.
Cover the dough and chill for 1 hour. While the dough is chilling, line one large baking sheet with parchment paper. After the dough is chilled, using a cookie scoop or your hands to roll 1 tbsp sized balls of dough. Place them on the lined baking sheet. Freeze the dough balls overnight. This is a very important step. Letting the dough rest overnight enhances the flavors and lets the gluten in the dough relax. You can bake them after the initial chill, but I would recommend waiting. It is worth it.
Preheat your oven to 375F. Take the baking sheet and dough out of the freezer, sprinkle the top of each dough ball with flaky sea salt and directly into the oven. Bake for 11 minutes, take the tray out and give it a good tap on the kitchen counter. This deflates the cookies so you get a flat, chewy cookie. Bake for an additional 2-3 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and then eat away.
Note: Gluten-free adaptation
You can make this gluten free by using an all purpose, measure-for-measure gluten free flour mixture instead of regular flour. You will need to use a gluten-free vanilla extract. For the malted milk powder, use 2 tbsps nonfat dry milk powder, 1/2 tsp ground coriander and an additional 1/2 tsp sea salt.