Do you have some guilty pleasures? I will assume you do. I will also assume that along with reality t.v. shows, Colin Firth movie marathons, and trashy magazines, there might be a few guilty pleasures associated with food. Or, quite possibly, more than a few? A lot?
I knew it.
I wonder, however, if you actually experience guilt when you eat any of the things that typically fall into this category or engage in any of the aforementioned activities? I might guess you do not. Wouldn’t it be more correct to call these embarrassing pleasures? I think it’s more accurate. I don’t feel a lot of guilt when I buy a package of bright pink peeps and a stack of fashion magazines. I might be feel a little embarrassed. My cheeks might grow hot too. Shame pleasures? That sounds a little raunchy, I suppose. Either way, I think you know what I mean.
I’ve had some time to ponder these things. I was stuck inside my home for days and days. The snow that I discussed with great fondness in my last post disappeared briefly only to return with a vengeance. For nearly a day, it was gorgeous and lovely. The world was blissfully white and wonderful again. We felt really lucky and Maeve gazed out the window most of the first morning. Her wonder was infectious. We all felt a bit dreamy and warm while we watched the snow blanket the streets, lawns, and cars until nothing looked familiar.
However, one can only behold the beauty outside the window so long. A case of true restlessness hit me hard on the second day. I was the sole entertainment for a spirited 1 year old. It’s hard and exhausting work. There were no play dates to be had. There were no cafes with play areas full of vaguely clean toys with which to play. I started to grow a bit batty. By day 3, my all day variety show really fizzled and I started searching my cupboards for things to bake. I needed to occupy us all with new activities and something sweet. Baking seemed like a good idea.
Of course, I was forced to bake within the constraints of my pantry offerings. No matter. I love a good challenge and when I found my secret stash of malt balls, I knew I had stumbled across a beautiful thing. Oh, and yes, you heard me correctly. I said malt balls. They are, indeed, my embarrassing pleasure. Maybe they are yours too?
The moment I found those glorious malted milk balls I knew I needed to bake cookies. What could be more perfect for a snow day? And, quite honestly, the malted milk balls called out to me in a way that chocolate chips never have. And so the recipe was born. It’s a good one. Delicious and chewy with a touch of that salty malt flavor, you will love these cookies. Maybe we should have a couple more snow days so I can really sort through my pantry and secret stashes of guilty pleasures?
After all, isn’t there a saying about necessity and invention? Yes, I think I heard something like that.
Malted Milk Ball Cookies
1 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tblsp. granulated sugar
6 tblsp. (packed) brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 and 1/2 crushed malted milk balls (see above photos)
Preheat the over to 375 degrees. Light grease 2 baking sheets.
Stir flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl.
Combine both sugars, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until light. Beat in the egg. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating until smooth. Stir in the malt balls.
Drop the batter by rounded spoonful onto the cookie sheets. Bake 5 minutes. Remove the sheets from the oven. Rap the cookies twice on the counter or stove top. Return them to the oven. Bake until the cookies are dry on top and golden. About 4 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.