How to Make the Perfect Chocolate Malt, According to Sweet Moses

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The chocolate malt has been a staple of the American ice cream scene for decades- just over nine decades, in fact.

This deliciously creamy concoction consisting of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, milk, and malt powder, was first invented in the early 1920s by Ivar "Pop" Coulson, an employee of the pharmacy mega-chain Walgreens, as a wholesome, refreshing snack for hot summer days.

Since Coulson's time, the malted milkshake recipe has remained largely unchanged (though we'd bet our Maraschino cherry that these bad boys aren't as nutritionally sound as first thought). Yet, it is one soda fountain menu item that consistently lives in the shadow of its more notorious older brother, the classic chocolate milkshake.


That's because many young Americans simply don't know the difference between the two mixed ice cream treats, Jeffery Moreau, from Cleveland's own old school Soda Fountain and Treat Shop, Sweet Moses, said. 

The difference, he told us, comes down to one key ingredient: malt powder, the sweet stuff used to flavor malted milk balls. "It has a very distinct flavor, a very distinct sweetness," he said.

We caught up with Moreau recently at his sweets shop in the Gordon Square Arts District. He gave us the scoop on what it takes to make the perfect chocolate malt.

Never made a malt before? Don't worry, Moreau says. Even the mistakes don't taste that bad.


Step 1: Choose Your Ice Cream

The ice cream is where any good chocolate malt begins. Moreau recommends using a premium brand ice cream, one that's high in density and low in air. Not sure what this means? Moreau says try the weight test next time you're out grocery shopping. Choose two brands that say they have the same volume, then take home the one that feels heavier in your hand. 

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For a traditional chocolate malt, Moreau says to always, always use a vanilla ice cream. "Most people think it's chocolate, but you actually want to start out with a vanilla ice cream and then add a chocolate syrup to it," he said. Got that? Vanilla ice cream.
 
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Moreau puts in two full scoops of vanilla ice cream- but note, these are Sweet Moses-sized scoops.

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We'd say put in about four normal people-sized scoops. Whichever way you're counting, just don't be stingy.

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Step 2: Add Your Chocolate Syrup

Add approximately 1.5 ounces of premium chocolate syrup to your ice cream (we should also probably take a note from Sweet Moses and keep a back up chocolate syrup supply for those unpredictable chocolate syrup emergencies).

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Moreau says when choosing your syrup, you traditionally want one with a higher cocoa count, but he's also found that a Hershey's syrup usually works just as well.

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Step 3: Add the Milk

Select a high-grade whole milk (you skinny minis, don't even think about grabbing a skim or two percent here). Moreau uses Hartzler's. Like with anything, he says, "when quality ingredients go in, a quality product comes out."

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Add milk until the ice cream is totally surrounded, but still uncovered on top.

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It should look like a little ice cream berg, he says. 

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Step 4: Add the Malt Powder

Add approximately one ounce of malt powder to the mix. While you probably won't be able to find this ingredient at your local grocery store, Sweet Moses sells small packages, or you can order it online.

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For a traditional malt, there's no real substitute for malt powder, Moreau says. Instant malted milk or liquid malt flavoring, both of which you can typically find at the store, just won't cut it.

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Step 5: Mix

Moreau uses a traditional spindle milkshake mixer, which mixes a little differently than your regular ol' blender. If you're a serious malt connoisseur, Moreau says, this piece is worth the investment because it simultaneously mixes and aerates the ingredients. 
 
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If you are using a blender, it's important to alternate between pulsing the blades and hand mixing with a spoon to maintain a thick, balanced consistency. Mix for about one minute total. 

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Step 6: Coax Your Mixture into a Glass

Your mixture should need a little help sliding into the glass, Moreau says. If it pours out too easily, you've over-mixed your malt.
 
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Step 7: Add the Final Touches

Add a healthy dose of whipped cream to your malt.

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Top with a cherry.

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Serve with a spoon and a straw- you'll def need both.

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And enjoy! You've just created the perfect chocolate malt.

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You can find this particular item on the menu at Sweet Moses. It costs $5.50.

Now see: How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich, According to Melt Bar and Grilled
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