Gingerbread Scones

 
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Good Morning Y’all! Happy Monday!

It’s always crazy to me how quickly December comes every year. I basically beg for the year to hurry up so that December 1st will be here so I can start my chocolate advent calendar (yes, I’m a child), display all of our Nutcrackers, watch FAR too many YouTuber’s Vlogmas (not-so-secret obsession), and basically just radiate Christmas for 25 days. And now it’s already December 4th.

WHAT?!

Yeah, it’s a shock to me, too. That means there’s 3 weeks until Christmas…4 weeks until the New Year…insert every panic sound, face, reaction that you can.

Enough of the fear, and let’s get back to this wonderful holiday season that’s upon us!!

With that, I decided to change-up my little gingerbread obsession! Fun fact: every year growing up, my brothers and I would build gingerbread houses. My mom would make everything from scratch, build them all herself—sometimes I would help—and, while the houses would sometimes have a crooked roof or a falling-in wall, they were always amazing, delicious, the perfect vehicle for gummy bears. My brothers and I, and in later years our nieces and nephews joined in, would cover our houses with chocolates, cereal, candy canes, every sugary candy, sprinkles, you name it! Yeah, I’d eat about ½ of the decorations, but totally worth it!

Now, with those great memories coming up again, I am just craving everything gingerbread and spiced. And, because I’m not my mom with her patience and skill, I’ve decided to throw my need for molasses into an amazing breakfast pastry—scones!

More recently, I’ve realized that scones are probably one of my favorite pastries. At the bakery I work at, we make some of the most delicious—ginger apricot, everything, bacon cheddar—ugh I love them all. They’re slightly sweet, has some dryness, very dense and filling, oh man just give it all to me!! These Gingerbread Scones are no different! It’s basically a gingerbread cookie, minus the adorable man-shape and icing all over, with a bit more moisture and it’s acceptable to eat for breakfast! These scones are filled with lots of spices, some warm brown sugar, and a nice turbinado sugar crunch on top!

I’ve been enjoying them daily with a cup of coffee, and you can’t get any better than that! I mean, maybe put on your holiday tunes, light up that tree, wear your warm cozy onesie and you’ve got yourself a wild start to your day or night! 

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ingredients

Butter—4 oz, or ½ C

AP Flour—14 oz, or 2 ½ C

Brown Sugar—2.25 oz, or ¼ C

Cinnamon—1 tsp

Ground Ginger—1 tsp

Ground Clovers—½ tsp

Baking Powder—1 TBL

Salt—1 tsp

Eggs—2

Molasses—5.5 oz, or 1/3 C + 2 TBL

Milk—2.75 oz, or 1/3 C

Turbinado/Coarse Sugar—to sprinkle

 

process

Cut the butter into small cubes and put into freezer to keep cold.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, spices and baking powder.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs, molasses and milk.

Work the cold butter into the dry with either your hands or a pastry cutter. Rub the butter into the dry until the butter is about pea-sized, and this entire mixture is homogenous.

Add in the wet, mix until just combined.

Now, you can either shape the scone dough into a large circle and cut into pie-like slices, or, like shown, use a small scoop for your scones.

*Note: These scones do grow in size a bit, so when putting them onto the sheet pan, make sure to give enough space between them!*

After you cut/shape your scones, put them all on your sheet pan, sprinkle with turbinado sugar and put into the freezer to firm up before you bake them! You can do this while you preheat the oven!

Preheat your oven to 425˚ F.

Bake your scones for ~15 minutes, until the bottoms have browned slightly.

Allow to cool (if you can resist!) before enjoying!

 

Bon Appétit!

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Crispy Chocolate Molasses Cookie Crust

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HAPPY BEST MONDAY OF THE NEXT 2 MONTHS!!

Why, you ask?—you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy..

Hmm, maybe because Thanksgiving is this week?! And that means for the next 5 weeks it’s basically a holiday celebration every. single. day. Y’all know how much I love the holidays, my husband groans when September/October comes around because I’m just going crazy with my urge to start decorating! No, no, I don’t put a tree up that early (although I do beg!), and I don’t put any Christmas lights up until November 1st, no holiday music until the middle of November…I’m not that bad!

What do I do that’s over-the-top? I light every single wintery smelling candle, I put far too many warm spices into our coffee, I break out all of the cozy sweaters and blankets, and I START BAKING ALL THINGS HOLIDAY THEMED!! How much is too much molasses to eat every single day?

So here you go, a little bit of my September-December obsession for you!

It all started when Roberto and I agreed to host Thanksgiving this year in Atlanta. The savory side of the meal doesn’t really stress me out—I can manage some sides, rolls, salad, while I throw all of the other stuff on my husband (…like the 17# turkey…). It’s the desserts that I was obviously pumped about but also got a little bit of the sweats when planning it all out. The Big 3 had to be in there: Apple, Pumpkin and Pecan. But then I’m like HAH I’m not making your typical pies, that’s ridiculous! Sooooo, yes, I have been over planning on pies this year. Ginger and bourbon apple pie—check. Caramel pumpkin pie—absolutely. And, finally, a chocolate ganache pecan pie with a chocolate molasses cookie crust.

I always love to change-up the crusts that I do for my pies, whether it’s your typical pie dough, a sweet dough crust or, like this below, a chocolate gingerbread cookie ground up into crumbs, mixed with melted butter, then pressed into the tart pan! To me, a pecan pie is just a little bit on the sweet side, so I cut the syrupy filling and swapped it with my chocolate ganache tart filling (added toasted pecans, of course!). With this change, naturally, I had to do something a bit more fun for the crust. A gingerbread crust would have been amazing, but then I was like uhhh a gingerbread cocoa crust?  YES PLEASE!

This crust is spiced like a gingerbread cookie would be, not super, super sweet like a you’d think a cookie crust would be, and then it’s got some yummy dark chocolate cocoa powder mixed in—a win in every category if you’re asking holiday-obsessed Katie!

Here you have it, a little game changer in your Thanksgiving (or holiday!) menu! It’ll definitely be something that will wow your guests, especially if you accidentally cook a dry turkey, under salt your mashed potatoes or only set the table for 9 instead of 10! So, as Thanksgiving can be a little hectic, very loud, maybe some people had more than their share of wine, and others just fall asleep before dinner is even served—this pie will always be a win!

Best enjoyed the morning of, the day after, the next 5 weeks of holiday fun, with great company, a nice deep red, and most likely your stretchiest of pants!

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ingredients

Butter—10 oz, or 1¼C

Sugar—7.25 oz, or 1C

Eggs—1

Molasses—2.5 oz, or ¼C

Honey—2 tsp

Flour—9.5 oz, or 2C

Cocoa Powder—1.5 oz, or ½C

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Cinnamon—2 tsp

Cloves—½ tsp

Ginger—1½ tsp

Nutmeg—1 tsp

Turmeric—½ tsp

Salt—1 tsp

 

Butter, melted—2 oz, or 4 TBL

Cookies, ground—6 oz, or 1.5C

Pecans, toasted—4 oz, or 1C

 

process

Sift together all of your dry ingredients—flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric and salt.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Once creamed, add in your egg, molasses and vanilla.

When all incorporated, slowly add in your dry ingredients until just combined.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge before baking.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

Roll the cookie dough into balls about 2TBL’s in size—if you’re using them for the crust, this won’t be as important because you’ll be grinding them up!

Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until no longer ‘wet’-looking.

Allow to cool completely before grinding.

Toast your pecans in a 350˚F oven for about 8 minutes, until toasted. Cool.

When you’re ready to make your crust and tart, combine ground cookies with the melted butter.

Press crust into your tart pan, making sure that it’s about ¼” thick and even on the bottom as well as up the sides.

Bake in a 350˚F oven for about 12-15 minutes, until the crust has baked and is set.

Put all of your toasted pecans in the bottom of your cookie crust.

Make your chocolate ganache filling (found here!).

Pour into your crust and place into the refrigerator to set up for at least 6 hours.

 

Bon Appétit! 

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Berry Filled Tea Cake

Happy Spring, y’all!

I hope that it has been as warm, beautiful, and blooming where you are as it has been in Atlanta! While I am still not used to this 80˚F weather in April and now even warmer in May, I must say that I kind of love all of the life it has brought! Cherry blossoms, hydrangeas, gardenias, the list of stunning flowers that are right outside of our little apartment goes on and on. Even beyond that, the farmer’s market season is in full swing, everyone seems to be outside running, walking, and biking, the wonderful months of grilling and margaritas have arrived—ahh can you tell I’m so excited?!

With this just incredible time of the year upon us, I wanted to give you a recipe that is just as light, refreshing, bright and simply sweet to enjoy during these warmer days ahead of us!

This cake recipe below is truly perfect for Mother’s Day, summer brunches, showers, BBQ’s—and that’s all because it is not overwhelmingly sweet. I don’t know about you, but when it’s 85˚ outside with about 90% humidity, there’s nothing I want less than a heavy dessert, which is where this idea came about. I’ve replaced any white sugar or brown sugar with honey and maple syrup, giving it a little bit more of a floral and earthy taste to the cake. From there, I used one of my current favorite teas—Ginger Turmeric—and steeped that in a honey simple syrup for a slight twist and a little kick. Lastly, the “barely-there” cream cheese flavor in the buttercream, combined with some lemon extract gives you that pop of citrus that we all crave in the summer, especially with en entire orange worth of zest in the cake! I took this one step farther and chopped up some fresh strawberries for the filling of this cake, because why wouldn’t you want that?!

Et voilà!

This cake is, to me, as lovely and stunning as all of those amazing flowers outside! It adds a nice fresh touch to any party, brunch, heck, even an afternoon snack if you’re me! With a summer that is sure to be filled with lots of dog snuggles, outdoor adventures, weekend getaways and possibly Sunday mornings when you wake your husband up too early for a “beat the sun” run…this berry filled, tea soaked cake, is exactly what you’ll be craving!

cake ingredients

Milk—4 oz, of ½ C

Canola Oil—3 oz, or ½ C

Honey—4 oz, or 1/3 C

Maple Syrup—3 oz, or ¼ C

Eggs—2

Vanilla Extract—1 ½ tsp

Flour—11 oz, or 2 C

Baking Powder—2 tsp

Baking Soda—½ tsp

Salt—½ tsp

Orange Zest—1 orange

 

process

Preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Whisk together all of your dry ingredients—the milk, oil, honey, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the orange zest

Combine the wet and dry, whisking together until just combined.

Prep 2-6” cake pans by spraying with nonstick spray, and then either covering the bottom with a light dusting of flour, or some parchment paper.

Add half of the cake batter to each pan, which should only fill each about halfway.

Put in your preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, rotating, then another 10.

When fully baked, the center of the center of the cake should spring back nicely when pressed.

Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack until you are ready to assemble the cake.

 

syrup ingredients

Water—6 oz, or ¾ C

Honey—8 oz, or ¾ C

Tea Bags—4

Salt—small pinch

 

process

In a small saucepot, combine the water and honey; bring to a light boil, just so that the honey dissolves into the water.

Remove from the heat and steep your tea bags anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on how intense you want this honey-tea syrup to be!

*Note: I used a Ginger Turmeric tea for this recipe—it is quite subtle but adds a great warmth and spice to the sweet syrup, but the options are endless!*

Once you remove the tea bags, add the salt.

Allow to cool completely before using it on your cake!

 

buttercream ingredients

Butter (room temperature)—10 oz, or 1 ¼

Cream Cheese—4 oz, or ½ C

Vanilla Extract—1 TBL

Lemon Extract—1 tsp

Milk—1 oz, or 2 TBL

Confectioner’s Sugar—27 oz, or 5 ¼ C

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, using the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese until verrryyyy smooth and creamy—this should take you a good 5-10 minutes depending on the consistency of the butter.

Once smooth, slowly add in the sifted confectioner’s sugar, scraping down after about every cup added.

When all the sugar has been added and the bowl has been scraped down, add in the vanilla and 1 TBL of the milk.

Mix and scrape.

Add in the second TBL of milk.

Turn your mixer on about medium-high so that your buttercream becomes nice and fluffy.

Now it can be used to finish your cake!

 

assembly

When your cake has completely cooled, trim the tops off of both cakes so that they are flat.

Using the syrup that you made earlier, brush a healthy amount on each cake layer, specifically the side that you just trimmed off—this will keep it nice and moist the longer that it sits!

Using either a plate or a cake turntable, evenly spread on your buttercream—I do about ½” for the center.

*Optional: you may put fresh fruit in the center for even more flavor—I have used strawberries here!*

If you opt to put fruit in the middle, press it down to make sure that it is in place, and you may even want to add more buttercream over the fruit to secure it even more.

Now place the other cake layer, syruped side down, on top of the fruit, buttercreamy center you just created.

Place a good dollop of the buttercream on top and spread a thin, even layer. Do the same with the sides—this doesn’t have to be perfect, and it may have crumbs in it, it is just a base coat!

Place this “crumb-coated” cake in the fridge to firm up for about 20-30 minutes.

Once your outside layer has set just a bit, it’ll be easier to spread on more buttercream, this time there will be no crumbs that get in your beautiful frosting job!

When you have applied the second coating of buttercream and are satisfied with how absolutely beautiful and yummy it looks, decorating it however you wish—I used some dried orange peel that I had kicking around—you may cut into it and enjoy!

At this point, like me, you may have almost forgotten about the surprise of fresh fruit inside—and this, plus the syrup keeps the cake tasting extremely moist!

 

Bon Appétit!

Orange Cornmeal Cakes with PB Chocolate Buttercream

After a much needed break (AKA my job was basically forcing me to take daily afternoon naps…ask Roberto, he’s come home to me asleep more times than I can count), KBB is back in action!

While I knew that this incredible baking job that I started back in November would be hella rewarding, I did not think that would still be struggling this bad with the 2:30am wake-up time! We allllll know that this girl LOVES the morning, I mean, I was waking up to do marathon training runs at 4am last summer, but to actually think at 4am is a totally different ballgame!

Anyways! No one really needs to hear me rambling on and on and on…

I hope that everyone had an eventful few months—even though January-March have never been my favorite of the year, at least they’re just about over and we can focus on the best ¾ of the year!!

Hi Spring! Hi Summer! Hi Fall!

So, as we get into the most lovely, colorful, fully in bloom months, I have learned that here, in Atlanta, Spring isn’t exactly what I’m used to. To me, it’s rain, then SO MANY FLOWERS, cool mornings, mild days…but oh no, it was 85˚ this week…it’s still March. Ahh, at least there’s already beautiful tulips all over! Another plus to this wildly early summertime weather? Farmer’s Markets! They all begin April 1st! What?! YES!

The bakery I work at is all about dem markets, meaning 3 days a week you can see us Lil’ Tarts representin’ our baked goodies around the city! Woo! Bring on busy season from April-December, I’m ready—insert muscle emoji here.

Oh…but this isn’t just a blog where I chit chat for 3 pages, it’s actually about baking. And recipes. And slightly interesting content. So, while I mayyyyy have been MIA (or asleep) for that past few months, at least I came out of hibernation with this bomb recipe—a not-too-sweet cake with a surprise filling and an irresistible frosting!

As (I hope) you all know, my cornbread is amazing. I’m not one to toot my own horn, but, like, it’s so good that I normally eat about half of it, mainly sneaking bites so that I don’t get that girl, are you going to leave me any?!?! look from my darling husband! Now this may be the next best idea I’ve had aside to my cornbread—turning it into CUPCAKES! Whaattttt. Dessert cornbread you say?!

As it warms up, my sweet tooth goes down ever so slightly just because I’m too hot to consume anything that’s not butter lettuce, a green smoothie, popsicles and cold, cold pizza. Okay, sort of exaggerating but you get the idea, right? I came up with this subtly sweet dessert for moments just like described above, and it helps that it’s packed with orange zest to give a refreshing element to it! Hmm, how can we make it even better? Adding a Maine blueberry jam to the center? OKAY! Last, but not least, I had to add something chocolate, because, come on, it’s me…who are we kidding, right?! So all of this goodness is topped with a chocolate peanut butter buttercream…excuse me while I go scarf one down.

So, as I came up with this ingenious idea to turn my cornbread slightly sweeter and force it to become a cake, I’ve also accepted the fact that it’s going to be a bit hotter than I’m used to for a lot longer than I thought possible, but, hey! Give me a box of popsicles, maybe a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s and these cupcakes that are bursting with citrus, jam and chocolate, and I think I’m on board!

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

cornmeal cake ingredients

Brown Sugar—4.25 oz, or ½ C

White Granulated Sugar—2 oz, or ¼ C

Flour—4 oz, or ¾ C

Cornmeal—2 oz, or ¼ C + 2 TBL

Salt—1 tsp

Baking Powder—1½ tsp

Cinnamon—1 tsp

Orange Zest—1 TBL, or 1 large orange

Eggs—1

Milk—4 oz, or ½ C

Olive Oil—2.25 oz, or ¼ C

 

process

Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

In a large bowl, combine both sugars, the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, olive oil and orange zest.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until just combined.

Like a 12-count cupcake pan with liners.

Fill each up about 2/3 of the way.

Optional: sprinkle with coarse turbinado sugar for a nice crunch/texture before you bake.

Put in your preheated over for 12 minutes, rotate, then another 15 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before frosting them!

 

peanut butter chocolate buttercream ingredients

Peanut Butter—2.25 oz, or ¼ C

Butter (room temperature)—2.5 oz, or 5 TBL

Confectioner’s Sugar (sifted)—6.25 oz, or 1 ¼ C

Cocoa Powder (sifted)—1.25 oz, or ½ C

Milk—2 TBL

Orange Extract—½ tsp

Vanilla Extract—1 tsp

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and peanut butter until very smooth.

While this is creaming, sift together the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder.

In another measuring cup, combine the milk and both extracts.

Once your butters are nice and smooth, slowly add half of your sifted ingredients.

Scrape down the sides of your bowl.

Add in half of your wet ingredients.

Add the final amount of confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder, then the remaining milk/extracts.

Scrape down the bowl.

Turn your mixer up to about medium speed and allow to whip for a good 10 seconds, making your buttercream smooth and fluffy.

Once your cupcakes have cooled completely, you may use this to frost with!

 

assembly

As this first step you may omit, I highly recommend that you don’t!

First, using a paring knife, cut out small little cones out of the center of each cake.

Fill them with jam—I have used a Maine blueberry jam, but any kind will work! I find that orange + blueberry complement each other oh so well!

Once each center has been filled, use either just an offset spatula or piping on a nice dollop of buttercream using a round tip, to both completely cover the jam as well as add a good 2 TBL of it on top!

This can be as messy or as clean as you’d like—all depending on your technique and preference!

I have used a medium-sized round tip in my pastry bag to cover the jam with the buttercream, and then also to put enough on before spreading out with the offset.

Finish with any type of sprinkle or sugar that you’d like, or just leave plain as is!

 

Bon Appétit!

Whole Wheat Cookies Stuffed with Dulce de Leche

Happy New Year!

How were everyone’s holidays?!

I hope that they full of lots of family, friends, love, excitement—now let’s make 2017 even better than last!

Ohh 2016, you were quite a sassy little thing weren’t you, so moody, yet so wonderful. While there were many ups and downs, full of pounds of butter and sugar and chocolate chips, some loss, lots of growth and gain, quite a few running blisters, a wedding, a move, a new puppy, some really tough moments, followed by many unbelievably beautiful ones…I’d say 2016 is a year that will never be forgotten.

But the obvious question here: are y’all big New Year Resolution people?!

I used to be, always the normal “go to the gym more often,” “eat more whole foods,” “be more positive.” But I’ve slowly strayed away from that and moved more into the self-love: respecting yourself and your body, finding happiness, etc. One huge thing that I learned over the last year was that you can’t always control what happens, but you can control how your react to it, which is how I try and stay most centered.

So there. Voilà. My updated life outlook!

Along with that, baking will always be my most relaxing activity…I mean unless you want to include cuddling on the couch the pup and Roberto an activity…

I want this year to include a lot more wild experiments in the kitchen, whether it’s testing a recipe 500 times, or seeing how huge I can make a cookie and what silly thing I can stuff it with next, or how tall I can stack a cake, who knows—there will be no fear this year!

The first recipe of 2017 is a more simple one, slightly healthy (what’s up, whole wheat flour?!), but also packed full of homemade dulce de leche and dipped in chocolate…so nevermind with the H word.

As you know, I get random cravings, then I need to get into the kitchen and just bake until they are satisfied! Remember the caramel corn? All started with my need to go to an amusement park…sometimes I even surprise myself… Anyways! This recipe was exactly that: I wanted something salty dipped in chocolate, and a pretzel or a chip just wouldn’t do! Then it was something like oh, a cookie? But hmm, I bet it would be great stuffed with caramel, so let’s make dulce de leche! But still, hello, where’s the covered-in-chocolate part?! Right, a cookie, with all sorts of chocolate chips, a gooey inside, dipped in milk chocolate, sprinkled with salt, AND SPRINKLES!

Oh. Whole wheat flour for a slightly different taste, texture and maybe added nutrients?! It is the New Year isn’t it?           

It’s always fun to read my ridiculous thoughts, isn’t it? I did happen to bring a test batch of these cookies (that’s 30 of them…) to a relatively intimate NYE party, and they were all eaten! So, if that’s not proof that these are addicting and delicious, go grab a bottle of Champagne, then you’ll definitely be convinced!

 

ingredients

Butter (room temperature)—12 oz, or 3 sticks

Brown Sugar—12 oz, or 1 ½ C

White Sugar—4 oz, or ½ C

Eggs—3

Vanilla—2 tsp

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Salt—2 tsp

Whole Wheat Flour—17.5 oz, or 3 C

AP Flour—10.25 oz, or 2 C

Chocolate Chips—14 oz, or 2 C

Dulce de Leche—recipe here

Milk Chocolate Chips (melted)—2 cups

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.

Scrape down the sides of your bowl.

Add in the eggs and vanilla, mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking soda and salt.

With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients.

Add in your chocolate chips.

Mix until all is combined.

Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and allow to chill for at least an hour or two, until it has firmed up a bit.

While the dough is chilling, you can make your dulce de leche sauce—found here! This will take between 2-3 hours, so it’s a great time to get it done!

 

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚F.

By this time, your dough should have firmed up, and your dulce de leche should be finished and cooled.

Make dough balls that are about 1 oz, which is around a tablespoon—this can be eyeballed!

Flatten them out and make them into little “bowls” so that the filling will have a nice place to sit.

Put about a ½ tsp of dulce de leche in the middle.

Take another ball that is the same size, flatten and make another bowl out of it, this will be the top to your filled bottom cookie bowls.

Cover the filling with this second flattened piece, press the edges so that it seals in the dulce de leche, and then gently roll it in your hands so it makes a completely closed cookie dough ball.

This is one!

Do this with the remainder of your cookie dough and filling.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

It will be hard to tell when they are finished baking due to the color of the whole wheat flour, but they should be completely set on the edges and just slightly underbaked in the centers.

Allow to cool completely before dipping them in chocolate!

 

To make the chocolate for dipping, make a double boiler and melt about 2 cups of chocolate chips.

When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, remove from the heat (make sure to wipe the bottom of the bowl to remove any of the warm water!), and dip each cooled cookie about halfway with chocolate.

Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle with just a little bit of salt and some sprinkles for extra color, crunch and excitement!

Whether or not you allow to chocolate to cool and set entirely…

 

Bon Appétit!