Malted Chocolate brownies with flor de sal, Horlicks re-invented.

Stuck in a nostalgia trap or gravitating toward things that remind us of less stressful times?  Perhaps nostalgia only extends to things that we cared passionately about as kids, like Nutella. Or maybe we just don’t like being reminded of the period in our lives when we had no choice over what time we wanted to go to bed and only had a hot drink as consolation. Many adults my age will remember drinking either Ovaltine or Horlicks as a child, usually served hot at bedtime. For post war generations these malted milk drinks were believed to be a surefire way of putting even the most rambunctious kids to sleep, which of course made them popular with parents.
Neither of these proprietary beverages had any ingredients that actually caused sleepiness, but the combination of the hot milk warming your stomach and the velvety mouthfeel of the malt definitely contributed to a sense of contentment and drowsiness. Getting me to sleep as a child was an entire process. It started with a warm bath, book reading time, make believe story time and the last sure-to-work trick: a warm mug of Horlicks.It was that moment of weightlessness before nodding off that tasted like the creamy vanilla-wheat flavour of Horlicks.
The reputation that both drinks have for inducing sleep is ironic when you consider that both drinks were originally conceived as fortifying energy drinks meant to provide extra nutrition for children, the elderly, and sick people. Horlicks was included in the food rations of polar expeditions and given to soldiers during the first World War. Ovaltine was served to athletes during the 1932 Olympic Games and taken along Edmund Hillary’s expedition up Mount Everest.
Horlicks had a head start on Ovaltine,when in 1873 two English immigrants, brothers William and James Horlick, set up a factory in Chicago to produce a nutritional supplement called Diastoid. It was so successful that in the 1880s they created a powdered drink version and called it Horlicks, promoting it as a nutritional drink for “infants, invalids, the aged and travellers.”
They were soon followed by Ovaltine, which was invented in 1904 in a Swiss laboratory by chemist Dr. Georg Wander and his son, Albert. They developed a drink using barley malt and named it Ovomaltine, whose name is a blend of “ovo” (from the Latin word “ovum”) and “malt.” However, a misspelling in a trademark application for the United Kingdom caused Ovomaltine to become Ovaltine, which is how the drink is mostly known outside of Switzerland.
Unlike Horlicks, which was sold widely from the start, Ovaltine was originally only available in pharmacies as an energy booster for fatigued people and was mostly consumed by the upper and middle classes. However, the drink grew so popular that it was eventually exported overseas and made more accessible to a wider range of people.
Most people’s preferences for either Horlicks or Ovaltine seem to depend on what they were used to drinking in childhood. I came to Ovaltine later in life, and I initially found the chocolate flavour off-putting. I was expecting something closer to hot cocoa, and Ovaltine tasted slightly chalky to me at first, despite the creaminess of the malt. Conversely, people I know who were regular Ovaltine drinkers have expressed their disgust at Horlicks.In the 1970´s and 1980´s the expression `make a horlick´s of something´,meaning ´make a mess of it´, enjoyed some currency in upper class slang.In this context Horlick´s might have represented a euphemistic substitution for bollocks.
New thinking has informed us that these malted drinks are great when added to desserts, and there is a proliferation of cookie and brownie recipes on the internet featuring Ovaltine or Horlicks as a key ingredient.I don’t drink Horlicks on its own anymore, but
having recently discovered the Horlicks social cook book I will now be adding spoonfuls to recipes for that familiar malt taste.
Horlicks has figured this out as well—its website offers suggestions on incorporating the malted powder into some unexpected dishes, including spaghetti carbonara and roast sausages. Maybe, like other objects with a strong nostalgia factor, Ovaltine and Horlicks simply need another medium in which they can be consumed.
 Malted Chocolate Brownies with flor de sal
Adapted from the Horlicks cook book,the malted element to these brownies add another dimension, making them even more indulgent and irresistibly gooey than usual. Serve with a scoop of ice cream for a decadent dessert or for your own personal enjoyment. I don´t know about you,but I´m ready for bed.funny that.
dark chocolate 200g, broken into chunks
milk chocolate 100g, broken into chunks
butter 250g
soft light brown sugar 325g
malted milk powder or Horlicks 5 tbsp
eggs 4 large
plain flour 150g
cocoa powder 50g
sea salt flakes a couple of pinches
Heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4 and line a 20 × 30cm baking tin with baking parchment. Put the chocolate, butter, sugar and malt powder in a saucepan and gently melt together, stirring occasionally. Lift off the heat and leave for 5 minutes before the next stage.
Beat the eggs, one by one, into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon. Sieve over the flour and cocoa and stir in. Scrape into the tin and scatter with a couple of pinches of sea salt flakes – just a little. Bake for 30 minutes on a middle shelf, then cool completely before cutting into squares, or chill overnight for slightly firmer brownies. Serve with a scoop of ice cream.


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