These vanilla malted cookies are flavored with cream cheese and malted milk powder. The cookies have crispy edges and chewy centers.
What is malted milk?
Malted milk is a powdered product made from malted barley, dry milk powder, and flour.
It is mixed into milkshakes, smoothies, and a variety of baked goods. It can also simply be mixed into a glass of milk to make malted milk.
Malt powder gives baked goods a certain zing. I call it the dessert equivalent of umami in savory foods. You can’t put your finger on the exact flavor, but it leaves you craving more.
Malted Milk Cookies
These are very simple, no fuss cookies. While they may look plain on the outside, they’re one tasty and addicting little treat.
They remain fresh in an airtight container for up to 5 days. This makes them perfect for holiday cookie gift boxes!
All the recipe ingredients are beat together in a stand mixer. You may also use an electric hand mixer.
I don’t suggest mixing this dough together by hand. The dough is a bit stiff.
How to Fill Pastry Bag with Batter
To make filling piping bags (or pastry bags) easier, gather the following items:
- pastry bag
- piping tip
- tall deli container, drinking glass, or something similar
- Start by inserting piping tip down into pastry bag. Use the scissors to snip off the bottom of the pastry bag, exposing half of the piping tip.
- Fold the top of piping bag down over a tall deli container (as shown in the photo above). Alternatively, use a tall drinking glass or cup the piping bag in your hand.
- Transfer cookie batter into the piping bag using a sturdy spatula. Use sides of the deli container to help scrape the cookie batter off the spatula.
- Fill the piping bag only half to two-thirds full of batter. Overfilling will make the piping bag difficult to manage.
Once the piping bag is filled with cookie dough, you’re ready to start piping!
Recommended piping tip and piping bag:
I use this large open star piping tip (ateco #826). It has a 1/2-inch opening. This piping tip is paired with an 18-inch piping bag. I recommend these disposable bags or this reusable decorating bag.
Note: The star piping is great size tip to have on hand. It can be used for making churros or cruller donuts.
How to pipe cookie rosettes
- Keep the piping bag in a vertical position. Hover piping tip a few centimeters off the parchment paper. Squeeze out a little batter until a star forms onto the parchment paper.
- Using constant, continuous pressure, drag the piping tip in a circular motion, going around the initial star.
- Let pressure go once you return to the original starting point of your rosette. Pull piping bag in the same direction of circle to quickly release dough and close off the rosette.
Other Piped Cookie Shape Options
Not a fan of rosettes? Pipe the cookie dough into easier shapes like strips and circles.
If you don’t have a piping bag and piping tip, you may also use a cookie press to portion out the dough.
What other recipes use malted milk powder?
- Ideal for parties and celebrations, this chocolate malt sheet cake is easy to make. The flavorful chocolate cake is topped with chocolate malt buttercream.
- These birthday madeleines have a touch of malted milk which provide a nice, creamy flavor!
- Three layers of vanilla malt cake studded with fresh berries and frosted with chocolate malt buttercream. This chocolate malt berry cake is rich yet balanced cake
Vanilla Malted Cookies
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup malted milk powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, milk powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add in sugar. Mix until combined. Add vanilla paste and egg. Mix on medium speed until combined. Add flour mixture ½ cup at a time on low speed.
- Transfer batter to a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe rosettes (or strips, circles) onto parchment lined baking sheets. Space cookies at least 1-inch apart. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating sheet midway through baking. Bake until edges are lightly golden brown. Let cool in tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
Reader Questions and Reviews
Wow. I love the picture with the milk; I also love malted milk! Definitely trying these out. Thanks for the post!
Thanks! Please let me know how they turn out!
Your cookies look so delicious, I love the shape of them! Gorgeous pictures with the milk and cookies too! I would love to go back in time and visit the 1950s as well :)
Thanks, Rosie! The book I am currently reading deals with time travel and I’m totally obsessed right now.
I can’t wait to try making these! I’m partial to strawberry malts though…maybe I’ll sandwich them with strawberry cream.
That’s a great idea, Sarah!
These look so good! I’m with you on the simplicity of the 50s – how is there no time machine yet??
Thanks, Hannah! I have no idea?! Let’s make one!
These cookies are absolutely beautiful! You have great piping skills – I can’t pipe to save my life. :)
Thank you so much, Patricia! Piping just comes with a lot of practice :)
They look beautiful! If only I weren’t in the middle of my finals I would make them right now!
Thanks, Annie! Good luck with finals!
Your recipe is perfect. I always scan the recipes that interest me and find ways to modify them for the better but…no. Yours truly hits it home. The only thing I would do, more an addition than a modification, is fill two cookies with whipped dark chocolate ganache. Ohhh yeah. Bookmarked! <3
Thanks, Anjo! I think adding the chocolate would make these cookies heavenly.
Love the cookies, but as a historian, I must point out that the 1950’s idyllic lifestyle was existent for a minute portion of the population. The rest were too busy fighting for their lives in Korea, fighting for their homes and rights in the United States, hiding from abusive spouses and gender opression and building bomb shelters and practising bomb drills in case of nuclear war.
The cookies are grand. The 1950’s was not.
I agree. Every moment in history has its good and bad.
Where I live, two local dairies make home deliveries. In glass bottles.
Oh, and I love the swirl on the cookies!
That is so awesome! I may have to move there one day.
Wonderful looking cookies: so airy and light! Love the swirls. Pinned!
I was born in 1960 here in Canada, and I’m sure that for my mom the 50’s were the best time in her life. I know she was so happy from the photos I have of her, she had everything going for her and she looked so happy. I love the music of that time, and imagine her listening to that same music in her kitchen when she baked as I do now sometimes. I can’t wait to make these cookies, but I’ve tried piping shortbread before and it was incredibly hard to squeeze dough through the large star tip. Doe the butter and cream cheese have to be really softened (almost liquid), or do you add a little liquid if it’s too hard? Thanks for these, and the memories.
My dad also grew up in the 50s and he remembers that time fondly. I LOVE the music and dance/sing along while I’m baking.
I left the butter and cream cheese out at room temperature for a couple of hours before mixing. The butter doesn’t need to be melted or liquid, just as long as it is soft to the touch. The dough wasn’t very hard, it was more like a firm buttercream. Squeezing the pastry bag can strain your hand and wrists. I suggest making the pastry bag work for you. Tie a rubber band around the end of the filled pastry bag. Instead of squeeze the bag with your hands, twist the bag until there is enough pressure for the dough to come out on its own. If the dough is still too tough or hard to pipe, try warming by placing the palms of your hands on both sides of the bag and letting your body heat soften the dough. I haven’t tried with this recipe, but a cookie press might also work.
I am with you on the time machine to the 50s! I have always loved the fashion of the 50s along with other aspects. These cookies look amazing, and I love your pictures! The milk jar is adorable.
Thanks, Jenn! I love the cakes on your blog!
I just made these, I did not get to eat a single cookie. I made the mistake of going out to talk to a neighbor and left them unattended in the kitchen. The sleepover crowd declared them AWESOME! I have to say thank you for this recipe, I was staring down a large jar of malted milk powder, not wanting to throw it away and not wanting to ship it back to the states when we move in a few weeks. If I make a few more batches the jar will be used up and I might even get to taste one.
That is wonderful to hear! I’m so glad everyone enjoyed them!
I just made these tonight and they are incredible. I am obsessed wtih the flavor of malt but all baked goods I’ve made with it have never had a detectable malt flavor, until these! I worked from my Martha Stewart Cookies book but used your adaptations and I’m so glad I did!
Malt is delicious! So happy to hear you liked the cookies :)
I will be making these..love malt flavoring. I remember the 50’s with fondness..i was a child in those years. We lived a nice life…and sugar was not bad for you then! ha ha ha…wondering where to find these cute little milk bottles..everyday after recess we had milk in similar bottles housed in aluminum milk crates.
Hi Jullian! I’d love to live in a time when sugar was not bad for you! I actually found these milk bottles at a local craft store. I think Anthropologie sells a similar one online.
How big should you pipe out these cookies?
Pipe the cookies about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. They will spread a little bit in the oven.
Love the cookies! And your comments. Although I love the simple lifestyle of the past, I appreciate that I was born in the 80’s. I feel like we are the last generation to have had anything close to a simple upbringing.
Def need to try these cookies!
I love the way these cookies look, and I didn’t have trouble with the pipping, even though it was the first time I tried. However, my cookies didn’t hold their shape as well as the ones you pictured. The ridges and valleys from the piping blurred together more than yours did. I sifted the flour before measuring it (old 1950s baking habit), so possibly that contributed to this problem by slightly reducing the amount of flour. What do you think? Did anyone else have this problem?
Hi Jane. Yes, sifting the flour does change the texture of the finished product. You’ll end up with a different amount if you sift the flour before measuring.
These cookies look great! However, I have a few questions, if I may ask. Does most grocery stores carry malted milk powder and vanilla bean paste? Or do you have to buy them at a gourmet shop, or something? Also, I don’t have a piping bag, so I was wondering if they would work in a cookie press? I just bought one, again., with all the stainless steel shapes to go with it Cookie baking season is upon us, so I hope to see a reply soon. Thanks a bunch!!!
Hi! Yes, grocery stores should carry malted milk. It’s in the same aisle instant hot chocolate powder. Look for Nestle Carnation Malted Milk. Vanilla bean paste may be a little more difficult to find at your regular grocery store. It’s available at speciality stores like Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods. It’s also widely available on Jet.com and Amazon.com. I haven’t tested this recipe in a cookie press, but it should work. Hope that helps. Happy baking!
I don’t have any malted milk powder, but I do have malt syrup and malt extract powder- can either of these be used as a substitute?
Hi Jessica, no those cannot be used as substitute. Malted milk powder is made from malted barley and evaporated milk. You can easily find it online and in many supermarkets.
Can these cookies be made without cream cheese?
No, the cream cheese is vital to this recipe.
Hey, how are ya?! I would really like to make these yummy cookies! Do I really need a stand mixer? So many recipes call for one….do I really need to use one?
You can also use an electric hand mixer.
I made these cookies and they are the best butter cookies I have tried!!The malted milk powder and cream cheese really put them over the top. Thanks for the recipe!!
Hi Debby! Thanks for trying out the recipe. I’m so glad you enjoyed them!
Hi, Maryanne! I made these cookies last year and I loved the flavor, but I had a lot of difficulty piping the dough. It was very tough and made a few of them less-than-pretty due to the muscle I had to put into it.
I do not own a stand mixer, so I had to mix by hand. Maybe that had something to do with it? Any advice you may have would be great – I’d love to make them again with even better results!
Hi Ryan! I’ve only made this recipe using a hand mixer and stand mixer. However, I’ll test it out this weekend mixing by hand and let you know the results!
Thank you! I may have used a hand mixer, but I don’t recall…
If using a hand mixer, what attachment would you use? Mind didn’t come with a paddle.
Really delicious! I used a cookie press and made daisies for spring.
Thanks for trying out the recipe! The cookie press is a great idea!
Hi Maryanne. Just made these using a star tip to pipe and they’ve completely flattened in the oven! I even tried chilling the next tray before baking, and still puddles. Any ideas what I’m doing wrong? Thanks so much
Hi, I’m making the cookies tonight. I’m curious about a chocolate malt version- do you think I could substitute some of the flour for cocoa powder? Maybe 1/3 cup? Thoughts? Thanks in advance.
A chocolate malt version would be wonderful! I suggest keeping the flour measurements the same and use 3/4 cup malted milk powder and 3-4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder.
I made these just now and they are delicious! Question though: I piped them into beautiful rosettes, but when they baked, they lost their definition. There is a very subtle swirl but not as 3D as yours were. Any ideas why? Thanks.
Thank you for trying out the recipe!
Use a star tip with sharp, well-defined edges. Perhaps the dough was too warm when it placed in the oven? You can try letting the piped cookies chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before baking.
Nestle Carnation Malted Milk Powder. You can find it at any Target or Walmart for under $3.00
okay. The prep for this cookies was very easy. Piping this cookie was a mess. It seems no matter what size I piped it lost its design and turned into a giant blob.It also took an additional 5 to 10 minutes to bale.This cookie needed way more flavor…I added a ton of vanilla. You can smell the malt but it does not taste like it. I will not be making these again
I’m sorry to hear that. The dough is supposed to be quite firm. Perhaps the butter was too warm?
I suggest using pure vanilla paste (or scraped vanilla bean) to flavor the cookie. Vanilla extract or imitation vanilla extract will not taste as good.
Big disappointment. I am a monumental malt and vanilla lover. So I figured these would be heaven. They tasted like an off flavored sugar cookie. They baked up flat as a pancake after fussing with the pastry bag. Back to ginger molasses. Maybe I just expected too much.