malted “forever” brownies

We’ve made it to bake number 44 from Claire Saffitz’s Dessert Person. The latest recipe we tackled from the Bars & Cookies chapter of the book was a super decadent one—the Malted “Forever” Brownies.

Lauren’s Take

Hello hello! Finally we make it to the highly anticipated malted “forever” brownies!

Ever since Claire released the video of her making this recipe, I (as well as many other people in my life) have been excited for this recipe to come up. I’m not a huge chocolate fan, as you already know…but there’s something about a fudge-y, chewy brownie alongside a big glass a milk that I can get behind.

This is a very simple recipe—but takes a bit of time to get everything to cool as Claire instructs. Otherwise, it is a “throw everything into a bowl, mix it up, and bake” kind of recipe. The biggest challenge was finding this elusive malted milk powder. I had never heard of it before. My only experience with the word malt is beside the word liquor, but I knew that couldn’t be it. After many texts with Julia and some Googling, I discovered/was told that Ovaltine is malted milk, and my local grocery store had the specific non-chocolate flavoured, malted milk one! I was so excited when I got home from the store with this massive jar of malted milk…I became less excited when I realized we only need 2 tablespoons for the recipe. If anyone in the Ottawa region loves malted milk and would like a massive jar of Ovaltine, hit me up.

Anyways, in terms of the recipe, you mix cocoa powder with hot water, then add vegetable oil, butter, and semi-sweet chocolate, whisking until smooth. Then the brown and white sugars are added, along with eggs and vanilla. This makes a super smooth and shiny batter. Then the dry ingredients of flour, salt, and least we forget, malted milk powder are whisked in until combined. The rest of the chocolate is now mixed in. I used milk chocolate chips, rather than cutting up a bar.

The mixture is poured into a foil covered 8×8 metal pan and baked in the oven until the mixture is dry but still soft to the touch. After over-baking my cookies slightly last week, I was really nervous about doing the same with the brownies. After 25 minutes, the top felt dry but still looked a tad wet, so I left it for another minute or so and then took them out.

I did as instructed; I let them cool for 1 hour at room temperature in the pan, and then placed the pan in the fridge to cool for another hour. When I removed them the dough still felt quite soft and there were pieces in the centre that seemed really gooey. So I do think that I did under-bake them slightly. Either that, or I didn’t allow the brownies to cool long enough to allow the chocolate chip pieces to re-solidify? Not sure. Either way, after cutting I placed all the brownies back in the fridge overnight to firm up even more.

The next day, the brownies had some together better. They are SO chewy and fudge-y (which may be because they are undercooked but yolo). I added flaky salt on top, which I find really helps to balance the rich chocolate flavour. I don’t know if I taste malted milk per say, but I do think it adds to the creamy quality of the brownies for sure. Pretty solid brownie recipe I gotta say. If I do make them again though, I’d bake for longer. 4 stars!

Julia’s Take

I don’t think you’d find many people out there who say they don’t enjoy a good brownie. Although they aren’t in my regular rotation of baked goods, sometimes nothing hits better than a super chocolatey, decadent brownie. Claire calls these “forever” brownies because she claims they are the only brownie you’ll ever want to eat ever again. With this kind of hype, you can bet I was excited to give them a try.

Although Claire offers a few variations in the book (mint, nuts, whole grain), the original recipe is “malted” because it calls for the addition of malted milk powder. Apparently this is not as common or easy to find in Canada as it is in the US, and after searching high and low for this ingredient (grocery stores: nothing; bulk food stores: nothing; online: unavailable or ridiculously expensive), I came up empty handed. I’d heard from some fellow dessert people that Ovaltine can work as a decent substitute since there is malt in the ingredients; the recipe only called for 2 tablespoons’ worth so I figured for just that, Ovaltine should work just fine.

The batter comes together easily and quickly—such a nice turn of events with this chapter after a laborious summer making pies and tarts. The ingredients are what you’d expect—cocoa powder, but bloomed first with boiling water (apparently this makes the chocolate flavour really come through), butter, oil, semisweet chocolate, egg, vanilla, brown and granulated sugar, and then eventually AP flour, the Ovaltine in my case, and a touch of salt. Once the batter is whisked together, Claire calls for some roughly chopped pieces of milk chocolate to be folded in. I decided to use Maltesers instead of regular milk chocolate to ramp up the malt flavour.

The batter is poured in to an 8×8 baking dish lined with foil and the brownies bake for just under 30 minutes. Besides the addition of malt, the other distinguishing factor in Claire’s recipe is the rest time—1 hour in the pan and another hour in the fridge. She says this helps create a chewier texture.

These brownies were SO good and absolutely lived up to the hype. I definitely veer more towards a chewier vs. cakier brownie, so these were right up my ally. They are fudgy without being overwhelmingly sweet, and the Maltesers were absolutely the right call—you get that extra little hit of chocolate in every bite with a hit of that special malt flavour. I can see why you’d never want to have another brownie ever again. 5 stars for me again this week!

Next week, we’ll be baking up the Pistachio Pinwheels. See you then!

flourless chocolate wave cake

Welcome back friends! This week is our 12th bake from Claire Saffitz’s Dessert Person as we continue to make our way through the Loaf Cakes and Single Layer Cakes chapter of the book. This section has been packed full of incredible and unique flavours and textures, and this week’s Flourless Chocolate Wave Cake was yet another delicious bake to add to that list!

Lauren’s Take

Hello hello! We’ve reached our dirty dozen bake and we’ve slid into it with the Flourless Chocolate Wave Cake! I saw many examples and heard praise of this cake before making it, so it was one I was looking forward to attempting to bake, especially with the challenge of making something without flour. However, as someone who isn’t a very big fan of chocolate desserts, I wasn’t too too excited about eating this week’s cake. I find a cake that is just chocolate is too heavy and I’m left searching for other flavours that aren’t there.

Making this cake was fun since it introduced some new and technical steps that we haven’t had to do too much in the previous bakes. You need a dece amount of chocolate (10 ounces) and you melt it over a double broiler with some rum (delish) and water. Once that has cooled, you add some egg yolks and almond flour. I was so glad this recipe called for almond flour ‘cause I have a massive bag from Costco that I bought during my macaron making phase that has been sitting dormant for many moons.

You then make a meringue by beating egg whites and sugar; now here is where I always psych myself out…is this a stiff peak? What is truly the difference between glossy and matte? Does this seem under-whipped? Did I just over-whip? Making meringues for me is like having a tedious and insecure mental monologue where I keep doubting. In this case, I do think I over-whipped the egg whites; when I went to fold in (insert Schitt’s Creek meme here) the meringue, it wasn’t incorporating very well with the chocolate mixture and was leaving large globs throughout. I ended up leaving quite a few streaks because I didn’t want to over-mix.

You then top the cake with sugar and let it bake! Watching this cake bake was potentially more fun than eating it. The cake gets so much height on the top layer with the sugar and looks like a little mushroom top floating above the rest of the cake. Once the cake is done baking and you leave it to cool, it starts to fall and create all these pits and peaks throughout the cake which look so gorgeous.

This cake is, in a word, FUDGE-Y. To me, it tasted as if a brownie and a chocolate pudding had a love child. It is airy, moist, delicate, and has a super soft and interesting texture. And the top sugar layer adds a really fun and needed crunch to the cake. As I mentioned at the beginning, my classic qualm with chocolate desserts was present with this cake too—I just found that it was too much chocolate and nothing to break it up, but I do give mad props for the texture. I shared this cake with some chocolate lovers though who did not have the same concerns as me. With all that said, I’d give this cake a solid 4 stars—a delicious and rich chocolate cake that’s gluten-free friendly is a win.

Julia’s Take

I’d been really looking forward to making this cake for a while for a few different reasons: I LOVE chocolate; I’d seen so many of our fellow Dessert People make this one already and everyone had raved about it; and our other sister, who lives in the same city as me, is gluten intolerant and I was happy to finally have a bake that I could share with her!

For those that don’t already know, I teach Language & Communications courses at a college here in Ontario, and this past week was exam week for my students. That means hundreds of tests and final research reports coming my way, and sitting in front of my computer screen for hours reading through work (no multiple choice or scantron sheets for this girl!). It was so nice to get to bust out of my marking bubble, slow down for a beat, and enjoy the process of making this cake.

The ingredient list was pretty simple for this bake compared to some of the others we’ve made so far: just some good quality chocolate, salt, sugar, oil, lots of eggs, and a little almond flour. Claire also calls for some rum or amaretto which gets added in to the melted chocolate. I used amaretto in mine, which made for a really nice flavour. This bake was similar to last week’s in the sense that the batter comes together in a few different steps: melting down the chocolate, whisking in egg yolks, flour, and other ingredients, then making the meringue and slowly folding that in. Watching egg whites and sugar come together to create something smooth, beautifully glossy, and magically stiff yet soft has to be one of the great simple pleasures in life. Anyone else share this sentiment? Just me? This is what grading hundreds of papers can do to a person…

The other thing that made this cake similar to last week’s was that it gets quite a bit of height while it’s baking, but then gradually sinks down after it comes out of the oven, which is so satisfying to watch. Because of the sugar that gets sprinkled on top of the cake before it bakes, you also get this crackly, crunchy top which adds some delicious, much-needed texture and also creates the “wave” affect that gives this recipe its name.

The taste and texture of this cake was SO delicious. The rich, fudgy flavour of the semisweet chocolate absolutely shines through, so if you’re a chocolate lover like me, you won’t be disappointed. This recipe is basically a variation on a chocolate soufflé; considering how rich it is, it’s also insanely airy and soft which just brings it up to a whole new level and makes it distinct from your average chocolate cake. My taste-testers loved it as much as I did. This is another 5-star bake for me!

Next week, we’re taking a slight deviation to bake up something extra special. Be sure to check back on Sunday!