Malted Milk Sandwich Cookies

March 14, 2011

I have a wonderful friend and neighbor whose name is Julie.  Her house is almost exactly the same as mine, just everything is flip flopped.  (They were built by the same person.)  She is a foodie extraordinaire.  She is totally up on all the new restaurants in our city and beyond.  She does incredible amounts of research when she travels and is the type of person who will go way out of her way to find the perfect baguette in Paris.  (I am the same way.)  Julie is an enthusiastic and tremendous cook.  Our kitchens complement each other well.  It seems that whatever I don’t have, she does and vice versa.  Our texts to each other are not, “Can I borrow a cup of sugar?” but “Do you have an extra mini muffin pan?” or “What size pastry tips do you have?”

On top of all that fun stuff, Julie is a very kind and generous person.  She is incredibly quick to offer her help whether it is with cooking classes, catering, or just getting Graham off the bus now and then.  I deeply deeply appreciate her.  A few months ago, she borrowed my Baked cookbook and found a lot of inspiration there.  As a thank you to her for help with a recent party, I bought her the new one, Baked Explorations.  Very soon after, she made these malted cookies.  She brought a few over for us to try one morning.  I left them on the counter, went about my day, and came home only to find that my husband had eaten them.  All of them.  And then he had the nerve to rave about them.  They have been on my mind ever since.

I have a good relationship with the flavor of malt.  When I was a kid my mom would sometimes make us a chocolate malted in the blender.  I loved them.  To this day, the smell that comes from my blender, even if I am puréeing soup, reminds me of those malteds.  (Side note: What is that smell and why does the same smell come from every blender?)  One of my very favorite candies, the one I cannot resist, is the candy coated chocolate malt balls that the Easter bunny brings.

So, you would think I would have made these Malted Milk Sandwich Cookies the very next day.  But theses are roll-out-and-cut cookies which are not my favorite.  Just the added fuss of pulling out the rolling pin, flouring the board, refrigerating the dough can feel like too much in my already busy kitchen.  I am happy to tell you that this dough is very well behaved and the cookies are super easy to make.  The dough is quite sticky, even after a good rest in the refrigerator, but with enough flour I was able to shape these easily.  Much more so than Christmas cookies.

One Year Ago:  Pizza Bianca
Two Years Ago:  Tropical Gazpacho

Malted Milk Sandwich Cookies
Baked Explorations
Makes about 30 sandwich cookies

For the cookies
4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup malt powder
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the vanilla filling
5 ounces vegetable shortening, at room temperature
4 tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks, at room temperature
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. light rum

Make the cookies
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, malt, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at at time, beating until each is incorporated.  Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until just incorporated.  Add half of the dry ingredients all at once and beat for 15 seconds.  Again scrape down the bowl, then add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated.  The mixture should come together almost in a ball.

Loosely shape the dough into two balls, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide each dough ball in half, to make four portions.  Place on portion on a lightly flour-dusted work surface and return the other three to the refrigerator.

Roll out the dough so that it is ¼-inch thick.  The dough will be sticky, so you may have to flip and lightly flour it a few times while you work.  Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to create the sandwich tops and bottoms, and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch of space around each cookie.  Extra dough scraps can be refrigerated and rerolled once more, if desired.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are just slightly browned.  Place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes.  use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely.  While the cookies cool, prepare the filling.

Make the vanilla filling
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening and butter until lump free and smooth.  Add the sugar in three parts, mixing each part until just combined.  Add the salt, vanilla, and rum and beat again for 10 seconds.  The filling should be thick but spreadable (like the inside of an Oreo).  If it is too thick, add a drop or two of water as needed.  Keep adding water to reach desired consistency, but do not add too much or the filling will be too thin.

Alternatively, if the mixture is too thin, add a few tablespoons of confectioners sugar.

Assemble the Malted Milk Sandwich Cookies
Use a pastry bag or a small spoon to apply about 2 tablespoons of filling to the flat side of a cookie.  Place another cookie, flat side down, on top.  Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookie.  Repeat until all the sandwich cookies are made.  Let them set up for about 15 minutes before serving.  Store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


  1. I rarely see malt powder here in Vancouver, though Ovaltine is easy to come by (but somehow I don’t think it’s the same thing). I will have to do a search for it because I do love malt and I LOVE those malted easter eggs too, though more than a couple has my mouth aching from the sugar. You’re so lucky to have a great neighbour – mine just moved away to New Zealand, so I’m a little sad about it.

    Comment by kickpleat — March 14, 2011 @ 6:32 am

  2. Is it that slightly burnt mechanical smell that you are talking about from the blender? That is the one that I remember from various blenders. The cookies look beautiful!

    Comment by Anna — March 14, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  3. I only recently discovered malt powder and became addicted immediately. These cookies look perfect!

    Comment by Helena — March 14, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  4. I have a feeling that blender smell is the gears burning. Mine smells like that too but unfortunately I don’t have positive malted associations with it…just ones of fire sprouting all around me. Maybe that’s a sign that I need to make more malteds.

    These cookies sound absolutely delicious! that malt flavor must give them the extra oomph that they need to set them apart from all the OTHER sandwich cookies out there!

    Comment by Joanne — March 14, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

  5. Dana!! What an incredibly sweet post! We are a neighbor-match made in heaven! LOVE! :)

    Comment by Julie — March 14, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

  6. I would love a neighbor like that! And my husband is a huge malt fan, he would be very happy if I made these cookies for him! They look delicious!

    Comment by susie — March 14, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

  7. ooooh, yum! I seriously love malt!! I’ve never actually had it in my kitchen, though. These cookies look like such a great excuse to buy some malt powder, plus Kevin loves malt too!

    Comment by elizabeth / sophisticated pie — March 14, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

  8. I love a foodie friend! Those are so necessary in life. These cookies look amazing, but unfortunately I won’t be making them anytime soon. I will be looking your site though for recipes and guidance across the next 3 weeks as I embark on a vegan/ gluten free cleanse. I love your methods for cooking tofu!

    Comment by Clara — March 14, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

  9. Dana, how funny that we both made cookies from the cover of Baked at the same time! What a nice post and tribute to your neighbor. I so agree with you on the fussy factor–was about to throw in the towel on them, thinking how good could they be? Thankfully I didn’t – they were so worth it!

    Comment by Nina — March 15, 2011 @ 2:34 am

  10. I LOVE malt.

    Good neighbours are worth their weight in gold. Especially ones who love to cook and eat! We have a very good friend/fellow teacher in our building and we often have random get-togethers over dinner, wine, cups of tea, dessert…

    Comment by Hilary — March 15, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

  11. how much butter in the batter??? “mix sugars and butter”… ack!

    Comment by anna — March 15, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

  12. Two sticks of butter! Sorry, important detail now fixed.

    Comment by dana — March 15, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

  13. this sounds so lovely and it looks amazing:) i need to stock up on some malted powder and make some already!

    Comment by blackbookkitchendiaries — March 15, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

  14. These pastries look so dainty and lovely; I am not too familiar with malt but would love to try it at the next opportunity!

    Comment by tasteofbeirut — March 16, 2011 @ 1:57 am

  15. Oh, wow… These cookies sound phenomenal! What fun to have a foodie neighbor, too… I’m totally jealous. Judging by their recycling bins (and yes, I am apparently the kind of person to judge someone by the contents of their recycling bin), my neighbors ideas of cooking are pretty much pre-packaged microwave dinners. Turns out you can learn a lot about someone by the contents of their recycling bin. And now no one will ever want to be my neighbor ever again. ;)

    Comment by Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — March 16, 2011 @ 2:36 am

  16. [...] that’s a lie. I would have also needed a batch of Dana’s malted milk sandwich cookies. But THEN I would have been able to entertain myself just fine. For about an hour. Anyway. The [...]

    Pingback by Baked Tofu via Terry Waters & Dana Treat — March 24, 2011 @ 6:19 am

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