When you’ve just had what might have been the best week of your life, what in the world could you possibly bake?
Something that has only unusually wonderful things in it. Deep brown sugar. Chocolate chips. Sinkingly crunchy walnuts.
And of course: things that are malted. Malt powder, of course. But also malted milk balls, freshly made no less, from City Market in Milwaukee.
And to get more specific, a mix of milk chocolate and “ultimate” malted milk balls. What is ultimate? Just look at that picture. That’s what they are. That. Right there. I know: wow.
By the way, did you notice that backdrop this time around? It’s a beautiful hand-printed tea towel by my friend Kim Weiss! The bird goes pretty well with malted blondies, no?
As I snack on these, I’m becoming somewhat disturbed by the fact that I don’t really need a lot of excuses to bake myself something decadent. A rough day could mean ridiculous cookies, just as an amazing week could mean these crazy malted blondie bars. I probably shouldn’t bother analyzing this and instead just keep baking, justified reasons or not.
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
Makes 40 square bars
3/4 cup malted milk balls, preferably locally sourced (Milwaukeeans: see City Market), or Whoppers
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons malted milk powder
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Coarsely chop walnuts and malted milk balls, and gently combine in a bowl with dark chocolate chips. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and malted milk powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together until completely combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in two batches, beating until just combined each time and scraping down the bowl. Add the walnuts, malted milk balls, and chocolate chips and beat on lowest speed until just incorporated. The mixture will be extremely thick.
Turn it out into the prepared pan and use your hands or a spatula to spread evenly to sides. Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking at 25 minutes, until darkly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Keeps for 3 days, covered tightly.