And you KNOW it’s going to be a good one because malted chocolate chip cookie bars exist in this world and no one can take that away from us.
There is so much to love about these bars – a chewy chocolate chip cookie base with hints of caramel malt flavor from malted milk powder, big pools of melty chocolate, and a flaky sea salt sprinkle make up these show stopping sweet and salty treats. Remy and I made them together for our weekend treat and she was singing their praises for days afterward. Considering that this girl only likes brownies and ice cream, that is a big compliment coming from her!
Another great thing about these is that they come together super easily and require absolutely no chilling or scooping steps. The cookie bar dough can be mixed together in about ten minutes, after which point it gets spread into a greased and lined 9×13-inch pan and popped into the oven to bake for around 40 minutes. It’s pretty much as uncomplicated as it gets!
To make these malted chocolate chip cookie bars, you’ll need some pretty standard baking ingredients along with malted milk powder. This is usually found in the dried milk section of most grocery stores and shouldn’t be too difficult to locate.
Malted milk powder is typically thought of as a flavoring for milkshakes or associated with Whopper candies but it is the perfect secret ingredient for adding an almost caramel-y flavor to baked goods, such as cookies and cakes. It also has a hint of saltiness to it that makes the creamy sweet milk flavors of baked goods really pop.
This recipe calls for vanilla malted milk powder, but if unavailable chocolate malted milk powder (aka Ovaltine) will work in a pinch. It will just add more of a chocolate-y essence to the bars.
Of course, you also can’t have chocolate chip cookie bars without chocolate chips!
I used Guittard Super Cookie Chips for these and they really made for the perfect pools of melted chocolate. If you’ve never used these chips in your cookies before then you NEED to try them. They come in all sorts of chunky, irregular shapes so that you get a good amount of chocolate in each bite.
Chopped up chocolate feves will yield a similar effect but tend to be more expensive. Regular chocolate chips will work here also, you just won’t get as many of those huge chocolate puddles.
The recipe for these bars comes from Jesse Szewczyk’s Cookies: The New Classics book. I’ve only made a few recipes from the book, but can’t stop paging through it to ogle all of the unique cookie flavor pairings. There are so many classics with a twist, like brown butter bourbon snickerdoodles, lavender chocolate chunk cookies, pretzels and stout cookie bars, and black and white tahini cookies to name a few.
The only change I made to Szewczyk’s recipe was to add a little bit more salt than he calls for based on some general feedback I’ve seen about the recipes in the cookbook. Otherwise, I stayed true to the original with fabulous results.
- 2 cups (256 g) all purpose flour
- ¾ cup (84 g) malted milk powder
- 1¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 16 tbsp (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups (300 g) packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1½ cups (255 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
- Heat oven to 325F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving some overhang. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, malted milk powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- Combine the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined, about 2 minutes.
- Decrease the mixer speed to low and add in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle the top with the sugar and sea salt.
- Bake until the top is lightly browned and the edges are set, but the center is still soft, about 40 minutes.