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.
Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
The type of cocoa powder you use is very important for two reasons: flavor and leavening. 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 a richer chocolate 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.
Who knew there were so many types of cocoa powder, right? If you want my opinion, use Valrhona Cocoa Powder. It’s a little pricey, but worth it for the flavor.
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). If you have ever had Ovaltine, you have had malted milk (but don’t use Ovaltine in this recipe). 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 undertone that balances out the rich chocolate and sweetness.
Now, malted milk isn’t gluten-free. 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 to the batter. You won’t get the exact malted flavor, but you will still get a seriously rich chocolate cookie. You can buy malt flavoring, but I don’t love how it tastes; it’s obviously artificial.
Now, let’s make some cookies.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cold large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder (I use Droste or Valrhona brand 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, combine the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Get a medium sized saucepan and fill with about 1 inch of water and set on the stove. Bring that water to a simmer (not a boil) and place your bowl of buttah and sugah on top of the saucepan. Just make sure the bottom of your bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water. Let the heat from the simmering water do its thing to melt the butter, this will take about 10 minutes. When most of the butter is melted, use a whisk to break up any remaining butter and stir the sugars and butter. Once all the butter is melted, remove from the heat, add the vanilla extract and let cool for about 15 minutes.
Add the cold egg and whisk vigorously for about 4 minutes (it’s a good arm workout). You want the mixture to become lighter in color. When you pick your whisk up out of the mixture, as the mix drops from the whisk back into the bowl it will stay on the surface for a few seconds before disappearing into the mixture.
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. Keep folding until all the flour is mixed in; it can take a little arm muscle, but no one likes a flour pocket in their cookie.
Cover the dough and chill for at least 2 hours, but ideally overnight. I recommend not skipping this step. Letting the dough rest means the gluten relaxes and the flavors intensify.
The next day, pull the dough out of the fridge and let warm up for 15 to 20 minutes. Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop or your hands to roll 2 tbsp sized balls of dough. Place them on the lined baking sheet. You can also freeze the dough balls. Roll the dough balls, place on a parchment lined sheet and freeze overnight then place the dough in an airtight container or plastic bag. They’ll keep for 3 months (cookies in demand!)
Preheat your oven to 350F. 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 13 minutes, take the tray out and give it a good tap on the kitchen counter. This deflates the cookies so you get a flatter, more chewy cookie. Bake for an additional 1-2 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and then eat away.