Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chocolate Malted In Your Mouth Cupcakes

When I hear, or rather see in this case, the word malted I think of malted milk balls, known to most in the general population as Whoppers. I don't love malted milk balls, but I also don't hate them. They are made of chocolate after all. Therefore when I saw that the next recipe up for baking was chocolate malted cupcakes (Martha has not provided this particular recipe on her website, but if you'd like it let me know) I immediately thought of the previously mentioned candy. That candy is not in these cupcakes. They're almost your standard chocolate cupcake with just a subtle difference. The untrained palette not knowing any better (mine) would think it to be a regular chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing. Not knowing anything about the secret ingredient (shout out to Iron Chef America!)... malted milk powder!

I bet you're asking yourself the same questions I did. What is malted milk powder and where can I find it? I did do some Google research about malted milk powder, but I didn't retain any of the knowledge I gained to share with you. To be truthful, I didn't and still don't care what's in it, I just wanted to know where I could find it. On my weekly trip to the grocery store I carefully scanned the baking aisle to see if I could find it there. No luck. I didn't give up hope, thinking maybe I would find it in the aisle where the sweetened condensed milk and other powdery drink substances live. No luck there either. I probably could have widened my search to other grocery stores, but I wasn't in the mood to go on a malted milk powder mission. As a result of my Googling I knew there was a website where I could order the powder if I couldn't find it at the store. Personally, I find sitting in front of my computer in my sweats a lot more appealing than driving around to a bunch of different stores looking for something I probably won't find anyway.

I ordered the powder from I had heard of this company before. I've actually used their cake flour in other recipes and some of their products, such as cake flour, are sold in Stop N Shop (my supermarket of choice because it's less than 5 minutes from my house). I knew I liked the products and the company is also based in Vermont (close to where I live in Connecticut) so I knew standard shipping time should only be a couple days and I wouldn't have to wait impatiently for a week or more for it to arrive. The malted milk powder was $7.95 plus shipping for a 16 ounce package, and the total came to $13.95. Being the frugal person that I am I Googled a coupon code for King Arthur Flour and found one that would save me a whopping 10 percent! Score! Kid all you want, 80 cents saved is 80 cents in my pocket that I can spend on something else. The grand total came to $13.15 and my malted milk powder showed up about 2 days later.

The malted milk powder wasn't quite what I expected it to be. I thought it would be more like a flour or confectioner's sugar but it was closer to a cornmeal in consistency and had an interesting odor. It also didn't look great when I mixed it in with the milk and waited for it to dissolve. When I combined the milk-malted milk powder mixture with the dry ingredients that batter was very think, almost sticky, but the addition of the eggs and sour cream thinned it out to more of a consistency that I was expecting and am used to for a cupcake batter.

Martha said to fill the cupcake liners halfway and turn once halfway through the 20-minute baking process. In all the previous recipes that I can remember the cupcake liners were supposed to be filled two-thirds or three-quarters of the way full, so I was assuming the malted milk powder was going to make these cupcakes puff up more than normal therefore I followed the halfway-filling instructions for the first go-round. The baking time was perfect, but the size of the cupcakes was not, at least not by my preferences. I like a rounded cupcake that peaks out above the liner a little, not one that just skims across the top. So, for the remaining two rounds of baking I filled them a little fuller to get the result I wanted. I ended up with 28 cupcakes, just like Martha said I would. But, had I filled the liners a little fuller for the first batch, I probably would have come up with an even 2 dozen.

The fluffy vanilla frosting that I used for the yellow buttermilk cupcakes was as easy to make the second time as it was the first... and just as delicious. I used my mini Pyrex rubber spatula to frost the cupcakes and added some chocolate sprinkles (or jimmies if you prefer) for fun, and because Martha did, and had myself 28 good looking (and tasty) cupcakes. During the entire baking process I was wondering what the cupcakes would taste like. Since I had just made a chocolate cupcake, I was hoping they would be a little different, and not just another chocolate cupcake. In addition to the difference in color, these were a lighter brown, there was a slight difference in taste, which I'm assuming can be attributed to the malted milk powder. These cupcakes were almost creamy, not really in the texture of the cake, but in taste if that makes any sense. Kind of like the after taste (yes, I know that sounds disgusting) of a cream soda. It wasn't bold, but just a subtle little zing. Just enough so that I didn't feel like I made the same cupcakes 2 weeks in a row.