Today was just one of those days. I spent most of my day outside, doing concession at the first ever marathon in the Mad River Valley. That part wasn’t so bad actually, except perhaps, for the 85 degree sun shining down on me in the middle of field from a cloudless sky, turning my shoulders a nice dusky red with a most perfect and crisp impression of my tank top left behind. If it was only sunburn, I could have dealt. Even the splattering of oil from the grill, which left me a few tiny blisters where the hot oil singed my skin, would have been deal-able.
But then, my day over and on my way home, I pulled out of the little covered bridge that I drive through every day on my homeward journey, only to be collided into by another car who failed to yield before barreling into the bridge from the opposite direction. My tire deflated and my front end bashed in, I got out of the car to find a trembling 17-year-old girl. Fortunately she had a burly boyfriend who kindly offered to help me take my wheel off and put on the spare, and after exchanging insurance info and consoling her that no, her parents would not kill her and that yes, life would all go on just fine, I drove home to deal with insurance bureaucracy.
That was when I found the half dead baby possum in the kitchen, left, no doubt, as a little present from the cats – who were now bored of their prey that it could no longer move. This was the last straw. The poor thing was intermittently screeching, trying so hard to drag itself across the floor with its one undamaged front paw. I’ll save you the details of what occurred then, but suffice it to say, I added possum murder to my list of achievements for the day.
So, yes, it’s been a day. It’s a day that requires something extra good, I’d say, to make up for all the bad. Now, being the sugar-aholic that I am, my first thought is always something sinfully indulgent – a fat slice of chocolate cake, a heaping mound of ice cream floating in a swimming pool of chocolate. But I have grown enough to realize that such indulgence, after an initial moment of most sublime bliss, ends up making one feel far worse than when they started. So, I have learned to figure out what I want, and then create a slightly less evil version of it.
Today I wanted a malt. My Mom used to make malts for us as kids. She even had an old-fashioned malt maker with the tall silver cup – a relic to take her back to her soda fountain days of childhood in the 50s. I’d watch excitedly as she scooped the ice cream into the tall silver mixing cup, adding a heaping scoop of malt powder and an extra long drizzle of chocolate syrup. The machine would explode into a harmonious whir and then she’d pour the glorious concoction into a real malt glass with a huge straw that had a spoon attached to the end (I need some of those come to think of it). The metal cup would be set between my brother and I who would then race through our malts in attempts to beat the other to those delicious extra metal cup dregs (and subsequently contract severe but momentary ice-cream headaches).
So yes, I wanted a malt. A nice cool, chocolaty malt to sip in the shade while nursing my sunburns with lavender and aloe. Yesterday, we went berry picking and came home with a glut of black raspberries, and as I was fantasizing about malts I got a clever idea. Black raspberry chocolate malts! Yes. Yes please.
So, if you’ve had a day, or even if you haven’t, this is just the ticket. Frozen berries of any kind can be used, and provide that satisfying cold, creaminess without the use of sugar laden icecream and with the added benefit of providing a glutton of anti-oxidant bioflavanoids (perfect for counteracting the damage of say, a sunburn). Barley malt sugar, used for that lovely malty flavor, is actually a quite nutritious sweetener, with a fair amount of vitamins and minerals and, as it’s composed primarily of maltose, it doesn’t impact blood sugar levels nearly as dramatically as other forms of sweeteners do. And for the chocolate, a few tablespoons of raw, organic cocoa powder – chocked full of more of those lovely anti-oxidant polyphenols.
Black Raspberry Malts
Use any berry you have on hand – but they must be frozen in order to get that true ice-cream feel. Regular raspberries would be delicious, as would blueberries or even cherries. Serves two, but you might have to fight each other for the dregs.
1 1/4 cup milk of choice (I use raw, organic cow’s milk)
2 cup frozen berries
3 tablespoons barley malt syrup
2-4 tablespoons raw, organic cocoa powder (2 gives you a mild chocolate flavor, 4 takes you into that dark bittersweet realm)
Place all ingredients into a blender, whir until combined, and pour into two glasses. Serve with a long spoon (or straw with a spoon on the end if you have such a thing) for scooping out the thicker parts.
Black berry chocolate malts just make everything better!