Homemade Nutella

You’re probably thinking to yourself “Really? Homemade Nutella? Are you the crazy kind of person that makes everything from scratch like even your ketchup and mustard?” Well, yes and no, not really. There’s nothing wrong with buying those things from the store. It’s so easy to just grab that jar off the shelf and your done. No extra work, no headaches about whether it will taste all right. But really, did you ever read the ingredients that go into those jars?

Thanks to my sister Becky, we now no longer buy Nutella. :( Yeah, I know, you can cry for me…and that’s because of the bad ingredients they put in it, one of them being palm oil.

Anyways, we saw a recipe for homemade Nutella on Pinterest, but never actually got down to doing it (you know, some things you pin just never get done) :)

We were excited when our uncle gave us a whole bag of hazelnuts! My sisters quickly tackled the task of making the homemade Nutella.

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It was no easy work I tell you! First they had to take the hazelnuts out of the shell…

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which had to be hammered out, and that took awhile

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You may think that once you’ve got your little gems taken out, you’re close to done…not even! :)

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Then the hard part begins. Roasting, and boiling them in water and baking soda to take their skins off! Whew! That is a whole process in itself, but then you’re finally able to mix these with all the other ingredients.

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At last, you end up with this glorious hazelnut spread that we all know and love, and call Nutella! :)

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Yes, it’s a bit of work (okay, maybe a little more), but it’s SO worth making! Oh the taste! It’s just like the real thing!

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We left ours a little on the chunky side, but you can blend it in your food processor until you reach a creamy paste.

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And the best thing about this is eating it on homemade bread! Divine!

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My mom made this French Bread just in time for us to try it with out Nutella

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Let me know if you want this French Bread recipe and I’ll post it

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We’ve tried it twice now, and both times it was gone really fast. :)

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So make yourself some homemade Nutella. Protect yourself from all those harmful ingredients and enjoy something delicious! :)

You can also give these as gifts (if you don’t eat it yourself faster than you can give it to someone else :) )

And in case you’re interested in my sister’s side of the story, click here :)

Homemade Nutella
makes for 3 jars
 
200 g Hazelnuts
1 can Condensed Milk
255 g Chocolate – the darker the better
1/2 cup hot Milk
 
If you are starting with hazelnuts that are not yet shelled, you will have to follow the process of cracking the shell with a hammer. Then you boil the hazelnuts in baking soda and water for a few minutes and immerse them in cold water before you peel the skins away. Roast the hazelnuts for about 10-15 minutes either in the oven or in a dry pan over the heat. When the nuts are ready put them on a tray or a magazine and let them cool down a little. Once they are not hot anymore, place them in the food processor and start processing them. It will be quite a while, if you don’t have a very professional machine, like me. The hazelnuts will become Hazelnut butter and will look like this. When you’re done with this, start bringing water to a boil. Place a big bowl over the water and melt the chocolate.

When the chocolate has melted, pour the condensed milk in.  Mix them together. Then get ready to add the mixture to the hazelnut butter and process it some more. Add the hot milk if you find it too dense, I did. But if you like it thick, then you can leave the milk out. 

When it is creamy enough, Nutella has been created! Congrats! Brace yourself for some battle with yourself, it will be VERY hard not to eat a lot :)

Enjoy!

Jessica the Baker

The Recipe: Cinnamon Rolls

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For those of you who commented (I love receiving comments btw! :) ) here is the cinnamon roll recipe. I use a sour cream glaze which is different than the cream cheese glaze that the original recipe called for. I just think it gives it a lighter taste, and I don’t always have cream cheese on hand as much as I do sour cream. :)

Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 packages Active Dry Yeast, 0.25 Ounce Packets
  • 8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Reserved) All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp.  Salt
  • Plenty Of Melted Butter (about 1 stick)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup White Sugar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
  • _____
  • GLAZE:
  • 1 cup softened butter
    1/2 cup sour cream
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    A generous pinch of salt
    Powder sugar to taste and consistency, about 2-3 cups

Preparation Instructions

For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.

Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.

To make the filling, pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter mixed with the vanilla, over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Mix the sugars and sprinkle it evenly over the butter. Generously sprinkle ground cinnamon over the sugars. Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal.

Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls are going to be divine. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.

Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable foil cake pans and swirl to coat. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd.

Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.

While the rolls are baking, make the icing: Whip all of the ingredients in a bowl, adding powder sugar until the icing is the consistency you like.  The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.

Remove pans from the oven. Immediately drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing’s moisture and flavor. They only get better with time… not that they last for more than a few seconds.

Enjoy! 

Jessica the Baker

Cinnamon Rolls

It smelled like Christmas in July…it was the hottest day of the week, and we were baking cinnamon rolls. :) We had a friend over and we wanted to bake together, so we decided to make cinnamon rolls!

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I probably should have waited until Christmastime to post this…but I saw that I never posted my cinnamon roll recipe on this blog!

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For years my sisters and I were looking for the perfect cinnamon roll recipe, only to end up with dry cinnamon rolls. The filling would ooze out and burn the pan

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4 years ago, I saw Pioneer Women’s cinnamon roll recipe. It looked so good I decided to give it a try

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I was scared when I first tried this recipe…I was new to the world of baking and was mostly used to chocolate chip cookies and brownies (you know, easy recipes). The hardest thing I was baking at the time was donuts, so trying yet another cinnamon roll recipe seemed daunting.

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When that first batch of rolls came out of the oven and I slathered them with icing, I took a bite into what tasted like the most delicious homemade cinnamon rolls we’ve ever made! I still make them to this day!

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My taste buds wanted more, the softness was too irresistible!

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Oh the cinnamon flavor, the delicious icing! It’s like I bit into a cinnamon-sugar cloud!

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You HAVE to make these! I don’t need to go to a fancy bakery to get a delicious cinnamon roll now. All I need to do is get in the kitchen and make as many cinnamon rolls as my heart desires whenever I want. Even in July if I feel like it! :)

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And since extra icing never hurt anyone, I’m just going to add a little more

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I like my cinnamon rolls dripping with icing!

The recipe is yours, all it takes is one little comment telling me that you want it! ;)

Jessica the Baker

Raspberry Chocolate Whipped Cream Brownies

To wrap up this cake series I bring you yet another raspberry chocolate cake! This is actually a brownie. If you really love brownies and you want to bring it up 10 notches, try layering it with chocolate and raspberry whipping cream.

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This was one of those improvise-on-the-spot recipes that always turns out the best! I wasn’t even planning to take pictures, this is my sister’s piece. :)

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Just look at all those layers and colors!

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But wait, as if it wasn’t decadent enough, I added raspberry syrup on top

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Like I said, this was impromptu so this might not look as neat and picture-perfect as I would’ve wanted it to look, but sometimes you just gotta share these things anyway because it was SO delicious!!

1 quart of whipping cream should be enough to mix part of it with cocoa powder, and part with fresh raspberries. I’m sure everyone has their favorite brownie recipe (you can also check out my recipe if you want) that they can use, so I don’t think there’s really a recipe needed. It’s really a dessert that you can adjust to your own taste. Maybe you want strawberry and chocolate. You decide! :)

Jessica the Baker

2014 Flag Cake

I know, 4th of July past over a month ago, but I didn’t get to share with you this year’s flag cake. I’ve been doing a flag cake for the past few years (with the exception of last year). It seems like each year the cake is a little different. As I mentioned earlier, we had our chocolate-loving friends over for the 4th of July and my sister made the same Chocolate Raspberry Cake. This time though she decorated it as a flag since it was Independence Day.

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Since it was a raspberry chocolate cake, we used raspberries for the top. I think it looks nice with both strawberries and raspberries, depends what cake you make

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It was amazingly  delicious!

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And as if the cake isn’t rich/sweet enough, we ate it with the apple pie our friends brought! So good!

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Yes, we also had some healthy dessert too! ;) I saw this idea on Pinterest and I thought it would be neat to try it!

What have you been baking lately? I’m interested to hear your latest experiment/experience in the kitchen! :)

Jessica the Baker

Raspberry Chocolate Cake

Ok, so I didn’t actually make this cake…but it was for me! :) As a baker I’m usually the one making a dessert or cake for someone whether it’s their birthday, a special occasion, a friends gathering, or simply because my family members want something sweet.  If you remember, I even baked my own birthday cake last year. So this year for my birthday, my sister Abby offered to bake me a cake. It’s been a while since I’ve had someone bake something for me, so I totally let her do it and make it however she wanted.

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She got a chocolate cake recipe off the back of the cocoa powder box from Trader Joe’s. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I tend not to trust those kinds of recipes too much, but then again that’s how I got our chocolate chip cookie recipe (of course I tweaked a few things).

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After all,  they called it “The Greatest and Easiest Chocolate Cake” so it couldn’t be that bad. :) Plus it had buttermilk in it so it sounded like a moist cake

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Abby chose to make this chocolate cake and fill it with raspberry frosting

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I had a beach picnic/celebration with one of my friends who also had her birthday two days after mine. So this cake was for both of us and Abby really wanted to make it special, especially when she saw this idea of piping roses on cake from Pinterest.

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Almost up until we left for the beach, Abby was meticulously piping each rose on the cake, sometimes even redoing some. She definitely has more patience than I do. Although I’ve never tried piping roses before, I don’t think I would have the patience to stay that long if I would ever try it. But it actually paid off because it turned out a beautiful cake! And mind you, this is the first time she made a cake by herself!

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The recipe actually yielded 2 cakes, but since she ran out of time, we only had one with roses and the other one was just covered in the chocolate frosting

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So we used this one as our cake (as you can see 2 candles for two birthday girls) and kept the other one for extra pieces in case there wasn’t enough.

I had so much fun celebrating my birthday with my friend, and it was nice to have a cake done especially for me! The cake came out absolutely delicious and our friends loved it! They love chocolate so this was the perfect cake for them. They actually loved it so much that we made it again for the 4th of July when they came over. :)

Thank you Abby for such a great cake for my birthday!!

Raspberry Chocolate Cake:

(The Greatest and Easiest Chocolate Cake from the Trader Joe’s cocoa powder)

Ingredients:

3 1/3 cups flour
1 1/3 cups cocoa powder
3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. butter
3 cups buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
5 eggs

For the Frosting:
2 Stick of Unsalted Butter, softened
1 cup Raspberry Preserves
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 16oz Box of Powdered Sugar
1/2 of a lemon juice

Extra frosting for the top

1 sticks butter
8 oz. powder sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9” round baking pans or line cupcake cupcake cups with paper liners. Place all ingredients in electric mixer bowl and beat on high speed for 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl once during mixing. Pour into prepared pans or cupcake cups. Bake cakes for about 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean, or bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes.

To make the frosting, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until everything in incorporated (about 1 min.). Divide the frosting in 2. Cut each cake in half and spread half of the frosting in the middle. Place the tops of the cakes on each cake and cover them with either chocolate or vanilla frosting. It’s really up to you if you want to cover the cake in chocolate frosting or vanilla frosting. Or you can do what we did and do a combination of both.

Enjoy! 

Jessica the Baker

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

I’m sorry to interrupt the cake series, but I was reminded by WordPress that my blog just turned 3 years old!!!

So, to honor this little blog of mine, I’m going to bring you something a little different! I was thrilled to receive one of Pioneer Woman’s cookbook for my birthday this year!!!

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As you probably all know, I don’t cook very often…I mostly bake. Whenever I do cook a little, it’s usually to help my mom.

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So when I got this cookbook I was excited to try some of the recipes by myself! : )

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One of the first recipes that caught my eye was this pasta with tomato cream sauce. It looked really good and really easy, so I gave it a try

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Let me tell you, it is like the red version of Fettuccine Alfredo!  It’s extremely delicious, and will impress anyone you make it for! The creamy sauce is well blended and balanced with the onion, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Add some chopped fresh basil on top and you bring all the flavors to a whole new level of goodness!

So like Pioneer Woman says, try it in the next five minutes! Seriously, it’s a great dish to serve alongside a nice salad, or pretty much any meat.

Stay tuned for more cooking posts, now that I’ve got the cookbook I have a whole list of recipes that I want to try (and yes, some are desserts :) ) Also be sure to check out Pioneer Woman’s blog where you’ll find hundreds of other great recipes!

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce:

recipe take from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from my frontier

Ingredients:

12 oz. fettuccine or other pasta
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 med. onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Two 15-oz. cans tomato sauce or marinara sauce
Salt and black pepper to taste
Dash of sugar, or more to taste (personally I didn’t add any sugar and it was just fine)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, or more to taste
chopped fresh basil

Directions:

Cook the fettuccine according to package directions, reserving a little hot pasta water for later. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Pour in the tomato sauce. Add the salt, pepper, and sugar, then stir it around and cook until warm. Next comes the heavy cream. Go ahead. Everybody’s doing it. Stir in the cream…and watch it slowly turn from a red-and-white mess to a light orange pan of heaven. Now drain the pasta…dump some grated Parmesan into the sauce…and dump the hop pasta right on top. Toss the pasta and sauce together and splash in some hot pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Just before serving, toss in a little more Parmesan and chopped fresh basil. Serve it immediately!

Enjoy! 

Jessica the Baker

Vanilla Cake with Homemade Chocolate Pudding Filling

I wasn’t sure what to call this cake because I totally “invented” it. :) It was my sister Anna’s birthday, and we had already celebrated with our friends at the beach a few days before so we didn’t plan another cake on her actual birthday. However, my cousin’s little girl was at our place and her birthday was just coming up in a few days, so we decided to do a double celebration and have cake for both girls. :)

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We’ll never turn down an occasion to make cake or eat some cake..would you? : )

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I was in quite a hurry decorating this cake so it’s not as perfect as I would’ve liked it to be.  I didn’t have too many ingredients on hand, but I had chocolate chips so that’s what I used to decorate the cake with. It was perfect because all kids love chocolate chips!  :)

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And they love those chocolate jimmies!

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Since I didn’t have much time, I just made a regular vanilla cake, layered it with homemade chocolate pudding, and covered it with whipped cream. It was easy and didn’t require a lot of time.

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The combination was actually very delicious! And it’s definitely a cake I might try again in the future.

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All the girlies enjoyed the cake…

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a lot! :)

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It didn’t have time to sit in the fridge and set, so cutting it was a bit messy but we managed! :)

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Here’s how it looked on the inside. You can see the pudding coming out, but it was oh-so-good! Having homemade chocolate pudding brought the cake 10 notches up, instead if I would’ve used store-bought pudding! Make it for yourself and you’ll see. :)

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Pudding Filling

Ingredients:

For the Cake

9 eggs (separated)
3 Tbsp. Oil
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Flour (sifted)

For the Chocolate Pudding

6 large egg yolks
9 tablespoons granulated white sugar
6 tablespoons arrowroot powder (it can also be substituted with corn startch, but it’s not recommended)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cup whole (full fat) milk
1 1/2 tablespoon  unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tbsp. dutch processed cocoa powder

1 quart whipping cream (sweetened as desired)

Directions:

Separate the eggs from the whites (making sure you place 3 egg yolks in a bowl separate from the other six egg yolks). Mix the 3 egg yolks with the oil (adding the oil slowly) and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the 9 egg whites until they become frothy, and then slowly add the sugar. Beat egg whites until you have stiff peaks. Fold in the egg yolk mixture, and afterwards gently fold in the flour. Grease and lightly flour a 9 in. round cake pan. Bake for about 1 hr. at 300 degrees or until lightly golden.

While the cake is baking, make the chocolate pudding. In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Add the arrowroot powder and salt and mix until you have a smooth paste. Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk just to boiling (the milk starts to foam up.) Remove from heat and slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling (pour through strainer if necessary). Pour the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, keep whisking the mixture for another 30 – 60 seconds or until it becomes thick. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the butter and vanilla extract, and cocoa powder. Pour into a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until firm.

 To assemble, cut the cake in three layers and evenly divide the pudding between each layer. Cover the whole cake with whipping cream. Garnish as desired.

Enjoy! 

Jessica the Baker

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake + Sugar Cookie Teabags

The first cake in this cake series is Laura Vitale’s no-bake chocolate cheesecake! I made this for my mom’s birthday and I came up with the idea to add some extra special touches to it.

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My sisters and I were actually scrambling to finish a nice birthday celebration the night of our mom’s birthday. Each girl was busy with a different task as the hour was getting late. So I apologize in advance that the pictures aren’t the best quality…florescent lights aren’t the best for pictures, but since these are the only pictures I have I’ll just use these.

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Imagine opening your fridge and seeing open books with chocolate butterflies in them. :) Pinterest has been a great help and I can’t tell you how many of our birthdays now have Pinterest-inspired decorations and gifts! Does anyone else identify!? ;)

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Your old college textbooks come in handy for these kinds of projects…although I doubt that you can learn anything from them about chocolate butterflies…lol! If you’re interested in making your own chocolate butterflies I found them on this great blog. Check it out!

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I just loved the way they turned out! They added such a special touch to the cake!

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The table is almost ready as presents and cards are brought out to be given to mom!

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The table is all ready!

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Here is another Pinterest story. While my sister Abby was making the butterflies, my other sister Becky was working on the paper teacups. Becky made a template for me to cut out the teabag cookies. Now I’m not a person of much patience and artistic meticulous ability, so cutting the cookies in this shape was pretty painful! :) After making about two cookie sheets full of them, I took out my handy dandy little heart cookie cutter and sped up the process by 100 mph. ;) Instead of making “one cookie an hour” I was now making “100 cookies in an hour”. JK! But, you get the point! :)

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In the end it turned out very nice! Worth the patience and work, but definitely not something I plan on doing on a regular basis. :) The heart-shaped cookies turned out to be perfect as well because we were able to write a special note to mom with them (see above picture). Now I can add some pins to my “pins I tried board”! :) Make sure you follow me on Pinterest!  

As we called mom to see our surprise, my 3-year-old sister Caroline said “mom you’re going to be like, shocked!” :) And she was!

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Recipe from Laura Vitale

Ingredients:
1 Prepared 9” Chocolate Crumb Crust
8 oz of Semisweet Chocolate Chips, melted
2 8oz Blocks of Cream Cheese at Room Temperature
½ cup of Brown Sugar
½ cup of Regular Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp of Milk
1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
½ tsp of Instant Espresso Powder
Chocolate Chips, for topping

Process,

In a large bowl add the cream cheese, both sugars, milk, espresso powder and vanilla extract. Whip with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Add the melted chocolate and mix for another 2 minutes.

Pour into the crust and sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Enjoy!

 

Note: If you want to make teabag cookies, cut a template out of paper. Recently I just saw a teabag cookie cutter online, if you want to spare yourself the pain buy one! :) Also go here if you want the directions for the paper teacups.

Cutout Sugar Cookies

recipe from Laura Vitale

Makes a few dozen

Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients:
3 cups of All Purpose flour
1/2 tsp of Baking Powder
1/4 tsp of Salt
3/4 cup of Unsalted Butter at room temperature
1 cup of Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp of Vanilla Extract

Chocolate Ganache

4 ounces of Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/3 cup of Heavy Cream

Process,

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, add the eggs and vanilla and continue to whisk for about 1 minute.
Add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix it all in until its all combined. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for about an hour. Take the dough out of the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick, cut out any design you like with your cookie cutter(s) and place them a couple inches apart on your lined baking sheet.  Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges and allow them to cool completely.

Heat the cream in a small pan over medium heat until just below boiling point. Pour cream over chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute. Whisk the whole thing together until the chocolate has fully melted. Use to dip your teabag cookies halfway. 

Enjoy! 

Jessica the Baker