Work ended early today due to the great blizzard of 2014…the one that came after the other four great blizzards of 2014. I’m losing track. I arrived home mid-afternoon and kicked into gear, juggling work emails, doing laundry, and warming up the kitchen with a few treats.
In case you miraculously missed the metallic red hearts hanging from the holiday aisle at your nearest drug store, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I don’t know the origins, I don’t know how much of the celebration is attributed to Hallmark, and frankly I don’t care. It’s an excuse to do something out of the ordinary. Eat a good meal, send a sweet note to your loved ones, and most importantly: bake something indulgent.
Thanks to my city savvy friend, I found myself facing a rainbow wall of sprinkles last Saturday at the ultimate of baking stores. She grabbed a few boxes, I grabbed a few boxes…let’s just say for someone who isn’t too keen on the color pink, my kitchen creations are looking quite festive tonight. Enjoy the recipes below (one for chocolate dipped pretzels and another for double chocolate cookies)!
Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
6 oz mini pretzels
1 cup of semi-sweet baking chips
Spread the sprinkles flat on a plate or pour into a cereal bowl. Line a counter surface with wax or parchment paper.
Chocolate can be fussy when microwaved but a double boiler will ensure that your chips melt smoothly and remain light and milky as you dip.Create a double boiler on your stove top: fill a pot about a third of the way with water and place another, larger pot (or saute pan) on top. Turn the stove on until the water begins to simmer.
Pour the chocolate chips into the top section of the double boiler.
Using a spoon, stir constantly until chips are completely melted (about 4 minutes).
Take each pretzel and dip into the chocolate at an angle.
Using the same side of the pretzel (with the chocolate), dip it into the sprinkles.
Lay flat on wax paper and continue dipping the rest of the pretzels. When all pretzels have been laid out, allow to cool completely until chocolate has hardened and enjoy!
Double Chocolate Dipped Cookies (adapted from Martha Stewart)
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
4 oz of semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 stick of butter, sliced into bricks
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
Use a large bowl and a whisk to combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside dry mix.
Using a double boiler (see directions in recipe above for chocolate dipped pretzels), melt together butter, chocolate chips, and brown sugar.
Stir often until all three ingredients have combined as one. Remove from heat and let cool for 6 minutes.
Crack an egg into the wet mix (chocolate/butter/brown sugar) and whisk until fully blended. Slowly pour the dry mixture into the chocolate and mix with a spoon until dough forms and all flour has been dissolved. Set aside.
Cover the counter top with two sheets of wax or parchment paper and divide the dough into two even balls. Roll each ball out until it is flat and about 1/4 inch thick (my dough was too gooey to use a rolling pin so I used my fingers to flatten–hence the weird marks in the photo).
Carefully transfer the wax paper (with flattened dough on top) to cookie sheets. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the cookie sheets from the freezer. Flip the wax paper face down onto a clean counter surface carefully (so that the dough remains in one sheet).
Use a cookie cutter* to cut the frozen dough into shapes and space evenly (about 1/2 inch apart) on a cookie sheet. TRY not to eat the dough scraps. Just try.
*The scraps of unused shapes from the cookie cutter taste JUST as good, so don’t throw them out! Make sure to bake them too.
Bake for 10 minutes and remove from the oven. LET COOKIES COOL. My cookies were very delicate and I tried transferring them too soon, only to have a few crumble.
After my cookies cooled, I re-heated the melted chocolate from the pretzels and used a knife to spread in sections on each cookie. I sprinkled a few sprinkles over the frosted sections…and voila!