Make A Dough Nation

Edible cookie dough?

That's a cookie that never crumbles.

There's a new kid on the block in downtown Tampa, and it's name is DOUGH NATION. With it comes an innovative approach to your favorite childhood dessert, pink polka dotted walls and an innuendo our community can appreciate. 

Dough Nation is a Metropolitan Ministries Enterprise, meaning that every scoop sold helps feed the hungry in Tampa Bay. What's even sweeter? The location is being used as a platform to train participants in Metropolitan Ministries' Culinary program, which assists with their transition from homelessness to hopeful. The concept truly makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside - in more ways than one. 

Splashes of baby pink swirled with pastel sprinkle decals create a dreamy vibe that smells like freshly (almost) baked cookies. If you're curious about heaven, just step inside Dough Nation and inhale the candy coated air. You won't be disappointed.

Just like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, there's a world of sweetness to explore. I tiptoed up to the glass case in a serious effort to retain my excitement, and despite being the world's worst ballerina, I'm pretty sure it was obvious.  

The first thing to meet your eyes is a line up of colorful ice creams. Flavors like Chocolate Fantasia, Butter Pecan and Raspberry Truffle are patiently waiting to be scooped and savored, any way you desire. If you're craving a combination of Dough and ice cream, splurge on a Sundae. I did!

Drooling yet? You're looking at a darling scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream sitting on a mountain of edible Chocolate Chip Cookie dough. I'm not sure if anyone's finalized the recipe for dreams yet, but I'm 99.7% sure this is what they're made of.

If you can make it passed the ice cream without placing an order, the next stop reveals the moment you've all been waiting for... the dough. Imagine swoon-worthy vats of Peanut Butter Fluff, Oatmeal Craisin and Vegan Coconut Macaroon laid before you like buried treasure. 

Before digging into this smorgasbord of sweetness, the question might pop into your head: is it safe to eat raw cookie dough? Luckily for you, the answer is YES. Here's why.

Every batch of edible cookie dough is made using toasted flour, which as you may have guessed, is heated (at 350F degrees) prior to finding its way into the mixing bowl. This process kills all of the harmful bacteria, deeming the dough safe to eat! There's also no raw eggs in the recipe - so fear not. 

I scored a triple scoop of Sugar Cookie dough (gluten-free option!), paired with Double Chocolate Oreo. The texture is exactly what you would expect from a traditional cookie dough. It's sugary, dazzlingly sweet and highly shareable! The best part is, you're actually encouraged to lick the spoon.

Aside from sundaes and cookie dough cones, you can treat your taste buds to a variety of ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes and Hope's Cheesecake. I have a ridiculous affinity for milkshakes, so of course, I couldn't leave without one. I blame the 16-year-old in me, who spent Summers working at ice cream shops throughout high school. You know what they say, work hard, eat harder.

One day I'm going to write a book and title it, "Falling in Love at a Cookie Dough Shop," because that's basically the story of my life. This milkshake is hand spun with Raspberry Truffle ice cream and Sugar Cookie dough, then topped with a swirl of whipped cream. The Dough Nation team finishes every shake with a rainbow of "magic dust." Suddenly, I'm feeling like Peter Pan.

As if the ending couldn't be any happier, all of Dough Nation's dough can be brought home and baked! So, don't worry if your heart says yes and your stomach is begging you to save it for later. It stays fresh in the fridge up to two weeks, and can be frozen up to two months!

Well, what are you waiting for? Check out the menu here, and get your Dough Nation on.

Happy eating!