Sometimes you just need a little something comfortable and familiar. I’m still getting used to living in Tel Aviv, which is in some ways a cosmopolitan city, and in other ways, the Wild Wild (Middle East)West. I’m still trying to figure out where to find some of my basic baking ingredients, as mentioned in my last post. The larger-grain sugar that is sold here has fortunately thus far not been a problem. Flour, on the other hand, is still very confusing because there are so many kinds, and they do not seem consistent across brands. Complicating matters is that different branches of the same supermarket chain don’t necessarily carry the same exact items. WHY CAN’T A GIRL JUST BUY FLOUR.
But! I bought a mixer. My kitchen looked so barren and sad without one, so I bought a second-hand unit, without which it’s difficult to make thick batters like this. Little pieces falling into place. 🙂
Despite several frustrating grocery adventures, I was thrilled to be making Brewer’s Blondies for this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings recipe. This is one of BAKED’s best-ever and most-beloved recipes from the original masterpiece, BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking. Chock-full of brown sugar, chocolate chips, crushed malt balls, and toasty walnuts, this is one of their first recipes that I ever made/fell in love with, and it’s been ages since I last made them. In the chaos of settling into my new surroundings, these were a welcome bit of tasty, malty, nostalgic goodness.
Which brings me to malt balls. I’m soooo glad that I shipped most of my favorite baking ingredients, including malted milk powder and a container of Whoppers candy for just this occasion. Sadly, the latter arrived melted and deformed. I figured I could still use them since I was going to crush them anyway, but their texture and flavor were pretty chalky after two months of languishing in undisclosed storage facilities, so in the trash they went. I had already seen Maltesers here a few times, so I wasn’t concerned about finding malt balls… until I had to actually remember where I’d seen them! I spent the better part of an afternoon hunting in store after store for them, with no luck. Feeling defeated, I popped into the tiny convenience store by my apartment on a whim, just on the off-chance, and there they were! They were definitely much better than the mangled American ones, so I’m glad I persisted.
Furthermore, regarding malt powder: When I used to bake these blondies back in the day, I tried to get fancier malt powder because the recipe intro talks about the brewer’s yeast that is used in the bakery version. I used to order King Arthur Flour Non-Diastatic Malt Powder (although now that I look at the description, I don’t even think that was the right product??), but I stopped buying it because it would clump up and harden very quickly every single time I opened a bag, rendering it trash-bound after one or two uses. So I simply starting buying the regular ol’ Carnation Malted Milk Powder, which keeps much better. That’s what I used here, and I was so pleased that the blondies burst with malt flavor– there is no need for anything fancy (though I did bump up the quantity to 3 tablespoons).
Not only are the blondies magnificent to stuff in your face, they are also easy to make. I love things with lots of mix-ins, and these fall squarely in that category! You’ll start by creaming together the butter and dark brown sugar, then add eggs and vanilla, followed by the pre-mixed dry ingredients (flour, malted milk powder, baking powder, salt). At this point the batter is still fairly soft and “whipped” looking. But once you add the chocolate chips, crushed malt balls, and toasted walnuts, it will thicken considerably. Also it will be verrrry delicious.
Pro tip (okay, not that pro, but very useful): Do use an offset spatula to smooth the top of the dough– it works much better and faster than a regular spatula. (I tried to save myself another item to wash, but it really is more effective!)
I baked my blondies for 27 minutes, at which point the slab of dough had turned deeply golden on top. I was worried about over/under baking them, but they came out just lovely with a perfect chewy texture. The malty richness set against the brown sugar, chocolate, and toasted nuts leaves you wanting for nothing– biting into these is pure joy.
This was the first treat that I brought to my new coworkers, and everyone raved! It’s settled, blondies and malt make a great first impression. 😉
You should probably, definitely, absolutely run out and make these right away. The recipe for Brewer’s Blondies can be found at Baked Sunday Mornings, and please check out the other bakers’ blondies too. I cannot think of an occasion where these wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms and mouths. 🙂
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2018.