31 January 2010

Memories of Saturdays at the Mall

Well the wait is over, and tonight is the Artists' Gala at the new Alberta Art Gallery.  Tomorrow morning VIPs and government officials will cut the ribbon and Edmontonians collective culture level will go up a couple of notches.  For my friend, she will finally be able to catch up on some badly needed sleep.  I've volunteered to help out tonight, so I've decided to bake her another little treat I think she will enjoy;  Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops, from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home To Yours"

This is a fairly new recipe for me - I tried it out a couple of weeks ago, but discovered I was very low on malt powder, so I had to settle for only 1/2 a batch.  They were good.  They have that nice, smooth taste that you get with malted chocolate, and it reminded me of Saturdays as a child...

Every Saturday, as far back as I can remember, mom, my sister and I would pick Grandma up from the hairdressers and head for the mall.  We would spend the entire day there, window shopping with or without purpose.  We didn't always buy something, but it was part of our week - a day for just us girls, occasionally joined by my aunt and three cousins for a bit.  For my sister and I, we knew which treats we could look forward to having, depending on the mall we were headed to.  The best fries and gravy in the entire world from the dive-y cafeteria across from Sears (7- & 12-year-olds don't exactly have the most refined palates) or a chocolate malt from the bright orange malt spot near the bowling alley.  Mid-afternoon, no mater what the time of year, that icy-cold malt was the best treat for us to enjoy while mom and grandma rested their feet for a few minutes.  We're all grown up now, and sadly, our beloved Grandma has passed.  Saturdays at the mall don't happen as often as the used to, but I still enjoy a day hanging out with my mom in retail heaven when we get the chance.  The malt stops are all gone now, as is that dumpy cafeteria, but the memories are as fresh as ever for me.

So sis - if you're feeling a tad nostalgic, you should give these ones a try.  I can still hear the sound of plastic spoons scraping up the last bits of malt from waxed-paper cups... :-)

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops
excerpted from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home To Yours"
makes about 30 cookies

1 3/4 Cups (248 g) all-purpose flour
1 Cup (140 g) malt powder (or Ovaltine, regular or chocolate-flavoured)
1/4 Cup (23 g) coca powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1stick + 3 Tbsp (157 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 Cup (134 g) sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 Cup (60 ml) whole milk
2 Cups (200 g) Whoppers or Maltesers (coarsley chopped)
1 Cup (172 g) chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 350F (325F is what I used), placing rack in the centre of oven.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (*highly recommended*  this cookie dough tends to be a bit sticky)

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, malt powder, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer & a very large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes).  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla (don't be concerned if the mixture looks a little curdled, it will even out when the dry ingredients are added).  With mixer on low speed, add hlaf of the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear into the batter.  Mix in the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.  The batter will look more like fudge frosting than cookie dough, but that's the way this one should look.  Using a rubber spatula, mix Whoppers & chocolate chips into the batter by hand.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls (or using #70 disher) onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2-inches between scoops.  Bake for 11-13 minutes.  When done, cookies will be puffed and set but slightly soft to the touch.  Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.  Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets completely between batches.


Shannon said...

I'm not sure which I like more - having been the inspiration for you trying this recipe or getting to eat the cookies! The Artists' Party is over (happily!) and the cookies are now gone (sadly!). One of the two I would be happy to do over again. Guess which one?

vI said...

As a 6-year old I preferred the fries from the cafeteria in the Sears or the Bay. I'm flashing back to the vinyl banquettes right now. My older siblings had fish & chips - way too sophisicated for a 6 year old. My biggest dilemma with the Malt Stop was choosing between a malted or popcorn. Then I figured out that if I convinced my younger sister to get popcorn, she would share with me. I love working the angles of being a middle child!