There’s No Such Thing As Too Many Cookies – Almond Kisses Cookie Bliss From Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen Mystery Series

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Almonds and chocolate and sprinkles, oh my!  I had myself a fun and relaxing cookie baking and decorating party recently (if you consider running back and forth from the oven to the kitchen table with 4 baking sheets of cookies relaxing!), testing out a recipe for Almond Kisses from Joanne Fluke’s Lemon Meringue Pie Murder from the Hannah Swensen foodie murder mystery series (if you don’t know about these books and how much I love this series, you need to jump on the bandwagon, PRONTO!).

I love baking out of these books so much and it had been awhile since the last time I tried out something new from one of them so I jumped on the opportunity one Saturday morning to make these amazing almond cookies.  The original recipe uses Hershey’s Kisses for the cookie middles but unfortunately, I didn’t have any of my favourite cookies ‘n cream ones or the yummy milk and white chocolate swirly ones so I settled on testing out the base almond cookie recipe first and jazzing up a batch with chocolate chips mixed in and another batch dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with sprinkles!

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I had the best time making these cookies and they turned out perfect!  And oh  my goodness they taste fantastically delicious.  Trust me when I say that they test the most delicious straight out of the oven.  I know you have to let them cool to dip them in chocolate if you want to follow my lead, but I really just mean within the first day or so.  They taste totally fine even a week after (providing you store them in a sealed container of course), but to really get the full food orgasmic effect, you need to taste them soon after they’re baked because they are just divine.  Like marzipan on cloud nine.  This is the type of recipe that can spawn 10 others simply because it’s so simple and versatile.  You can mix in chocolate chips (regular, white, butterscotch, whatever you like!), small sprinkles and shredded coconut, dip them in melted chocolate, or glaze them.  Or just leave them plain.

I was beaming with pride looking at all my cookies when I had the most bizarre and ridiculous exchange with my dad though.  Me: *wearing oven mitts, beaming* “Look how cute these cookies turned out!  They’re sooo good!”  Dad: “You didn’t make enough cookies.”  Me: “What do you mean I didn’t make enough cookies?!  I made 54!  Well, 52.  Dan and I just ate one each.”  Dad: “Yeah, but you’re giving away two dozen.”  Me: “Which leaves us with 28 still!”  Dad: “Exactly.  That’s not enough.”

I was so offended.  Hmph.  IT’S NOT MY FAULT THEY’RE SO YUMMY THEY DISAPPEAR LIKE CRAZY!

Anyway.

This is a must-try recipe, everyone, enjoy!

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Recipe for Almond Kisses (yields approx. 4 dozen small cookies)

Ingredients (*Deb’s Note: the recipe below was actually cut in half.  The original recipe uses double the amounts)

  • 3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (*Deb’s Note: if you prefer to follow the original recipe’s ingredient list, substitute the brown sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses and increase the granulated sugar to 1 cup.  If you wish to follow the original recipe in its entirety, double the ingredients.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • your choice of add-in should you wish to use it!

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Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°F (*Deb’s Note: because my oven runs hot, I lowered mine to 325°F).  
  • Melt butter in microwave in mixing bowl.  Add sugars, vanilla extract and almond extract (Deb’s Note: if you are not using brown sugar and instead using molasses (see note in ingredient list), add the molasses after the adding the almond extract); mix with electric mixer until blended.  Add baking soda, baking powder and salt; mix well.  Add ground almonds; mix well.
  • Pour in beaten egg; mix until blended.  Add flour, 1 cup at a time; mix until just blended after each addition.  (Do not over mix).  (*Deb’s Note: If you are using add-ins like chocolate chips, add them after adding and mixing in the flour.  Mix them in gently with your hands so you’re not overworking the dough.)
  • Chill cookie dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Roll dough into small, walnut-sized balls.  Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 15 dough balls to a sheet.  Flatten dough balls slightly using the palm of your hand.  Use the tines on a fork to make an indentation if you wish to jazz up the tops.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes (Deb’s Note: I baked mine for 8 minutes).  Cool on baking sheets for several minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Proceed to stuff your face with delicious fresh baked cookies.  Go the extra step and decorate using melted chocolate and sprinkles – like me!  Rinse and repeat.

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*****

Recipe adapted from Joanne Fluke’s Lemon Meringue Pie Murder.  New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2003.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on page 55.

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The 2nd Time’s the Charm – Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies & Holiday Cookie Baking Fun

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I have eaten an absurd amount of cookies this past week.  One of my vendors gave me a gorgeous jar stuffed with 6 different kinds of homemade cookies (chocolate crackles, shortbread, cranberry biscotti, Italian walnut cookies, iced snowflake sugar cookies and adorable chocolate chip minis) last Wednesday, one of my coworkers happily fed me a smiling gingerbread man shortbread sandwich cookie filled with cream cheese candy cane frosting for dessert during lunch today, and I have eaten at least half a dozen of my own cookies between Sunday afternoon and today.  I’m surprised I haven’t turned INTO a cookie!

The smell of cookies is just intoxicating though and truly one of the happiest, yummiest things to have in your home.  Cookies have always given me a run for my money since I started to seriously bake in 2011 (as you will soon read below), working out only half the time and either burning or tasting blah the other half.  But I love cookies to pieces (eating, baking, photographing and scrapbooking about them) and there’s nothing like the sound of cracking eggs and a whirring mixer, the smell of chocolate, the feeling of cookie dough delicious enough to eat all on its own between your hands and the feeling of mastering a cookie recipe and being rewarded with fresh cookies that are perfect and tasty to boot!

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We are knee-deep into the holiday baking blitz and this is the first of hopefully a handful of new recipes that I’ll be posting in the next little while.  What I have for all of you today: CHOCOLATE SNICKERDOODLES!  A classic cookie (snickerdoodle = cinnamon sugar cookie) made that more more awesome with the addition of chocolate!  While the recipe isn’t exactly brand new (it’s from Food & Wine’s November 2011 issue), it’s a recipe that definitely deserves to be kept in the holiday cookie recipe vault.  It’s gorgeous, it’s delicious and best of all, it uses the most basic of ingredients.  No need to schlep out into the snow to pick up some hard-to-find, expensive ingredient that you’ll only end up using once.  I was so grateful for this when the cookies didn’t work out for me the first time 2 weekends ago.

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I don’t know what it is about my oven.  I can bake cake.  I can bake quick breads.  I can bake muffins and bars and squares without so much as a lick of trouble.  But cookies?  It’s like my oven has a freakin’ mind of its own.  Half the time my cookies work and half the time they don’t and I’m constantly having to course correct as I go.  Which in and of itself is fine!  Baking and cooking are learning experiences and you won’t become a better baker or cook unless you flub up and learn from your mistakes.

But!  It’s so frustrating for me when it doesn’t work because I don’t get to bake all the time.  The whole point is for me to take photos and share recipes that I’ve tried with you all and to post about them, which completely eliminates workdays and weeknights and weekend nights (too dark to take photos).  Add to that the days when I’m out and about gathering content for Ate by Ate and not actually at home.  So my window of time is limited and when a recipe doesn’t work, I have to wait a whole week just to be able to try it out again.  Which I did for this one because I refused to admit defeat and I refused to believe that the recipe was bad.

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What happened the first time was that the bottoms of the cookies burned.  To a crisp.  Black as hockey pucks burnt.  My mom had to frantically shut the oven off earlier than the stated bake time so smoke wouldn’t start billowing out for real.  And I stood there looking at them completely befuddled because I had followed the recipe to a tee.  My heart sunk.  I had promised my dad and brother chocolate cookies and now I had to tell them that they had burned and that they’d have to wait a week before I could try again.  We sadly chucked them all in the green bin garbage and while I sat at the dinner table fuming, I thought about how I was going to change the recipe to make it work: lower the temperature, decrease bake time, and double pan my baking sheet.

The result one week later?  PERFECT Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies!  Score one for team Cookie Bitch.

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Recipe for Chocolate Snickerdoodles (taken from November 2011 issue of Food & Wine magazine)

Makes 36 small cookies or 24 medium cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons), softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided (*Deb’s Note: you really don’t need this much, 1-1/4 cups is enough)
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted, cooled (*Deb’s Note: I didn’t have unsweetened so I just used Baker’s Bittersweet)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

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Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (*Deb’s Note: to make this recipe work for me, I lowered it to 375°F the first time since I knew my oven ran hot.  When that still didn’t work, I lowered it to 350°F for the 2nd time)
  • In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • In another bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with 1 cup of the sugar until creamy (*Deb’s Note: seriously, beat the heck out of it.  Don’t stop beating until it’s literally almost white).  Add the melted chocolate and the egg and beat until smooth.  (*Deb’s Note: because it’s winter and it’s cold, I found it was better to melt the chocolate after creaming the butter and sugar and just stirring until slightly cooled.  I melted it before creaming the butter and sugar the first time and by the time I was ready to use it, it had hardened again).  Beat in the dry ingredients until incorporated.
  • In a shallow bowl, mix the remaining sugar with the cinnamon.  Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar.  Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets and flatten to 2-inch rounds (*Deb’s Note: I did this the first time and didn’t like the way they turned out so what I did the 2nd time was roll them into balls, place them on the baking sheet, flatten them with my palm, THEN dip one side in the cinnamon sugar, placing them back on the baking sheets with the sugar side facing up.  I found that rolling them and then flattening them removed some of the sugar as it stuck to my palm and just made a mess out of the baking sheets)
  • Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and cracked (*Deb’s Note: I decreased the bake time for mine by a lot.  Mine were perfect and done in 8 minutes).  Transfer to racks and let cool.

Sweet Summer Indulgences – Lemon Meringue Ice Cream & Birthday Cookie Sandwiches at Bakerbots, Part II!

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Power on…initiating dessert assembly…all sweet systems go.  Brace yourself because Bakerbots is set to invade and take over your heart and sweet tooth!  Cakes, pies, tarts, macarons, cupcakes, biscotti, cookies, ice cream, ice cream cookie sandwiches; THIS is the place to eat your weight in sugar!  I have wanted to make a Bakerbots post for so long but I wanted to wait until I had something a little more substantial than a bowl of burnt marshmallow ice cream to show you all!  I honestly don’t even remember how I found out about Bakerbots.  All I remember is, I found about this glorious dessert haven soon after it opened a little more than a year ago at the beginning of last summer and was living vicariously through my friend Wini who had already been there several times before I had even made my first visit! 

When Bakerbots first opened its bakery doors last year in 2011 in Bloorcourt Village on Delaware Ave., their hours were strictly weekends only and evening hours during the latter part of the week.  And given how my schedule at the time still followed a very regimented daytime weekday routine, I never got around to trying any of their amazing desserts until many months later.  Now that my schedule has done a complete 180 (weekdays are pretty much a write-off now!), I can skip on over to Bakerbots whenever I want and it feels amazing! 

There is so much to love about Bakerbots Baking: their selection, their quality of desserts, their aesthetic, and their niche.  First off, I think Bakerbots fills a much-needed void in our city.  We have cupcakeries.  We have ice cream parlours.  Heck, we even have some teahouses and dessert sit-down spots.  But aside from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky and Sweet Bliss Baking Company, there aren’t very many spots that offer this type of homemade, from-scratch selection. 

Sometimes you just feel like a slice of pie.  Or a piece of cake with some ice cream.  Sometimes you just want to go to a place where you know there’s going to be something to suit your every mood, your every craving.  A place where you don’t have to dine-in and have a server wait on you.  A place that has a little picnic table out front and a little bench and a table inside in case you do want to stay and enjoy your treat.  A place that’s sunny and bright and fun and happy.  And while they don’t focus on things like donuts or truffles, they cover such a wide spectrum of dessert you don’t even have the heart to care, not when the sweets are as good as theirs and not when the menu and selection are constantly evolving, keeping things fresh and interesting all the time.  

Bakerbots is the place to be if you want to throw caution to the wind and have yourself a dessert meal.  Have you ever blown off the usual savoury lunch or dinner in favour of a dessert meal?  You know, instead of having soup and sandwiches or pasta and veggies or meat and potatoes, you go out and opt for a nice big ice cream sundae or a plate of dessert crepes and waffles or a slice of cake with ice cream and treat it as your meal.  I have and it is always SO MUCH FUN when I do.  As much as I love the idea of it though, I don’t do it often.  I want to, but I just don’t because it’s just not healthy on a regular basis!  But when I do go for it maybe once or twice a year?  Bakerbots is what I would want at my beck and call. 

Their prices are reasonable (very typical for both small and large desserts, coming at around $1.50-$3 for smaller items like single giant cookies and cupcakes, and $3-$5 for larger items like their giant ice cream cookie sandwiches, cake and pie slices, and more), their portions are big (monstrous is the only word that is adequate enough to describe their ice cream cookie sandwiches), and there are so many different flavours of everything!

Their ice cream is courtesy of Ed’s Real Scoop and they rotate what they have on hand on a regular basis, based on the types of desserts they bake every day, seasonal flavours, and the types of flavours that mesh really well together.  The big ticket at Bakerbots is the giant ice cream cookie sandwiches ($4-$6 based on whether you get a half or a whole) and on their big menu chalkboard, they always list the ice cream flavours that are available for the day (espresso,dark chocolate, French mint, cinnamon, burnt marshmallow, raspberry, sweet cream, burnt toffee, and lemon meringue just to rattle off a handful!), the types of cookies that are figuratively in the cookie jar (The Evertything Birthday, ginger molasses, peanut butter, fudgy cocoa), and the pairings that the staff thinks would kick butt. 

  The great thing about the ice cream cookie sandwiches at Bakerbots is that you can either have a whole one or a half and you can also choose a staff-pick combination or go all out and combine whatever ice cream you want with whatever cookie you want!  I opted for a half (and no, I wasn’t being a dessert wimp – I was here after weekend brunch!) using an Everything Birthday cookie (nothing wrong with continuing the birthday festivities in my book!) with lemon meringue-a-tang ice cream!              

Holy mother of pearl.  I now know why everyone goes bat apeing crazy over Bakerbots’ ice cream cookie sandwiches; they are beyond huge and they are fantastic!  My half sandwich was the size of a brick, it was so super thick, and it was so, so yummy.  The lemon meringue ice cream is so fruity and citrusy and creamy with a hint of vanilla with lots of punchy lemon flavour and the Evertything Birthday is such a fun cookie.  It’s sweet like warm vanilla and it’s exactly what you would expect of an aweome chewy sugar cookie with sprinkles!

And the other amazing thing about the ice cream cookie sandwich?  It doesn’t melt into a goopy mess!  I mean, yes, it’s ice cream and it does melt eventually, but it’s made in such a way that it stays frozen for a good portion of time so that you can actually enjoy the body of it and the taste of cookie with ice cream without having to rush through it for fear of it melting all over the place.  The cookies, while chewy, are so nice and sturdy so you don’t have to worry about it crumbling or getting soggy because of the ice cream.  It’s remarkable!  And this is only the beginning, everyone.  I have a scrapbook layout all planned out for Bakerbots, I’m already looking forward to my next visit, and we’ll see how many different types of dessert I’ll have posted from here by the end of the year! 

*****

Bakerbots is located at 205 Delaware Ave by Ossington subway station, nearest major intersection being Bloor Street West and Ossington Ave. in Bloorcourt Village.  Bakerbots specializes in all things sweet with desserts and baked goods being churned out by the truckload!  They are part bakery, part design studio, part ice cream parlour, and full on dessert emporium!  Their hours of operation: Tuesday-Thursday, 6pm-10pm (ice cream treats only); Friday, 4pm-11pm; Saturday, 11am-11pm; Sunday, 11am-10pm.  You can visit their site HERE.

The Cupcakes, Cookies, & Cakes in the Hat – A Photo Spotlight on Dessert Oasis, Bakerbots, in Bloorcourt Village, Part I!

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*****

Bakerbots is located at 205 Delaware Ave by Ossington subway station, nearest major intersection being Bloor Street West and Ossington Ave. in Bloorcourt Village.  Bakerbots specializes in all things sweet with desserts and baked goods being churned out by the truckload!  They are part bakery, part design studio, part ice cream parlour, and full on dessert emporium!  Their hours of operation: Tuesday-Thursday, 6pm-10pm (ice cream treats only); Friday, 4pm-11pm; Saturday, 11am-11pm; Sunday, 11am-10pm.  You can visit their site HERE.  Part II full write-up post coming tomorrow!

Home Sweet “Cupcake” Home – Whoopie Pies & Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes at Sweet Bliss Baking Company, Part II

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Sweet Bliss Baking Company is one of the cutest, sweetest, most adorable country chic bake shops in the city.  Each time I visit a new cupcake bakery, I think I’ve seen it all.  But as soon as I skip on over to the next cupcake shop on the master cupcake list (or just whichever new bakery that just happens to be in the vicinity), I’m met with an entirely different atmosphere and feel.  Some cupcakeries go sweet and colourful, some go haute couture cupcake style, and others keep it low maintenance and simple. 

Sweet Bliss Baking Company?  As warm and fuzzy as it gets.  It feels just like a cottage country, hometown bakery with its numerous shelves of homemade jams and preserves, wooden crates and accents, decorative mason jars, sweet daisies, and homey country decor.  It fits so perfectly in the Leslieville neighbourhood and as one of many cupcake and bakeshops on the Queen Street East, it totally holds it own and sets itself apart.  As well, Sweet Bliss is a great little shop to pick up cute gifts such as vintage trinkets and cinnamon bun candles!  Come for a sweet treat and come for some gift shopping!  I love it.  I love the soft colour palette, I love the happy, sunshiney outlook the shop has, and of course, I love the mountains of delicious desserts!  Sweet Bliss caters to every sweet tooth with their assortment of cupcakes, tarts (butter and lwild blueberries from Nova Scotia), cake loaves and squares (got lemon?), brownies, cookies, pies, scones, cinnamon buns (tooted as the best in the city by some!), whoopie pies, and cheesecake bars, in addition to savoury tarts (spinach) and coffee and tea drinks. 

While they do sell much of their product in single servings, they sell many of their of their products in what I like to call, “sweet and hungry packs”.  They have baskets full of multi-cookie bags such as raspberry jam-filled cookies, brownie bliss cookies, and ginger cookies among others.  Their prices for baked dessert items range from $1.90 to $$6.95, with “sweet and hungry packs” coming in at the latter price.  Cupcakes, specifically, are priced at $2.50 each which is phenomenal because there are very few cupcakeries now that have stuck with the $2.50 price point.  Most have either bumped it up to $2.65 or $2.85 for the most part, so Sweet Bliss earns extra brownie points for keeping things affordable!  As much as I wanted to inhale a juicy tart lemon bar or blueberry cheesecake tart, I held off on getting one and opted to stick with what I came into the shop for: the reigning cupcake.

Sweet Bliss has a variety of flavours to choose from including a pretty pink frosted vanilla, a carrot cake, a red velvet, a double chocolate, two types of coconut, and several others, and they keep their cupcakes cool in their sliding fridge along with their monstrously huge chocolate whoopie pies which are priced at $3 each.  They’re actually one of the very few bakeries I know of that keep their cupcakes cool in a fridge.  Aside from Miss Cora’s Kitchen in Kensington Market, nobody else does that and I have to say, given how we’ve had some ridiculous heat in the city so far this summer, it’s something I really appreciate it.  I know some people think refrigerating cupcakes is a sin, but we’re not talking about putting them into the deep freeze, we’re just talking about keeping them cool and keeping them from melting right off the bat. 

Their chocolate coconut cupcake looked amazing so I snagged one of those as well as a giant chocolate whoopie pie with pale blue marshmallow cream filling.  They looked too delicious to pass up!  And I mean it when I say that their whoopie pies are huuuuge.  The whoopie pie was almost the size of my entire hand!  And I know I don’t have the biggest hands in the world, but still!  Not only was it big and fat and round, but it was also stuffed with the yummiest looking pale blue marshmallow cream frosting.  The chocolate whoopie pies are SO fudgy (seriously, you have chocolate fudginess stuck to your fingers while you’re eating) and the marshmallow cream is so smooth, light, and airy with the delicious taste of vanilla cream.  It was wonderful because the lightness and airiness didn’t translate into thinness; the marshmallow filling was creamy with just the right amount of thickness and density to keep it from being runny or mushy.  It was delightful and so worth it.   

And the cupcake!  OH.MY.GOD.  You would also think that after all these cupcakes I’ve eaten, I’d feel nonchalant towards flavours that are relatively common.  Chocolate and coconut are flavours we see all the time on and in cupcakes but that certainly didn’t stop me from salivating it over the chocolate coconut cupcakes when I saw them through the glass door.  This chocolate coconut cupcake is NOT your average cupcake.  The chocolate cake was cocoa-y and fudgy, yes, but what makes this cupcake ridiculously amazing and delicious is the frosting and shredded coconut on top.  You’re used to having buttercream on a cupcake in either the soft, whippy state or in the thick, sweet, and creamy one.  Sometimes you even get some with the swiss meringue or ganache dip.  How many chocolate coconut cupcakes do you know of that have CREAM CHEESE FROSTING ON TOP?!  Holy mother of pearl!  This cupcake was like a fudgy chocolate creamy coconut cheesecake!  The cream cheese frosting on chocolate with shredded coconut was unbelievably delicious and every bite was like heaven.   

Two amazing sweets from one very fabulous bake shop and worth every penny for the wonderful quality, and not to mention, size!  Sweet Bliss has terrific product, a sweet shop with so much character, and incredibly nice people working in it.  It took me awhile to finally check it off my master cupcake shop list, and it lived up to all my sweet expectations, and then some.  I can’t wait for all the follow-up trips I plan on making in the future.

*****

Sweet Bliss Baking Company is located at 1304 Queen Street East in Leslieville, two blocks east of Leslie St.  Sweet Bliss Baking Company offers an assortment of sweet treats including cupcakes, tarts, cookies, and brownies, as well as coffee drinks, gifts, and more.  Hours and days of operation to be posted!

Country Sweet Chic – Jams, Cupcakes, Tarts, Whoopie Pies and More at Sweet Bliss Baking Company, Part I

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*****

Sweet Bliss Baking Company is located at 1304 Queen Street East in Leslieville, two blocks east of Leslie St.  Sweet Bliss Baking Company offers an assortment of sweet treats including cupcakes, tarts, cookies, and brownies, as well as coffee drinks, gifts, and more.  Hours and days of operation to be posted!

Back to Cupcake Basics With Sweet Chocolate & Vanilla – Scones, Cupcakes, & Desserts at Hammersmith’s, Part II

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Happy 1st Birthday, Hammersmith’s!

What’s better than a brunch cafe with delicious sandwiches, salads, and breakfast fare?  A brunch cafe with all of those things plus desserts for sweet endings!  I love it when I can plan a meal from beginning to end with either an appetizer and a main or a main and a side, and a dessert to neatly book end the happy experience.  I especially feel this way when I go out for sushi – if there isn’t dessert on the menu, I am one very sad cookie!  While I don’t order appetizers, extra sides, or dessert every time I’m out (I’d say this happens maybe 2 times out of 10 – foreshame!), it’s just nice knowing I can enjoy a variety of sweet and savoury items in one go because it also means an endless amount of mix-and-matching possibilities during future visits.  

Hammersmith’s delivers on all fronts.  Not only does Hammersmith’s do a mean sandwich and salad brunch plate (I could eat their arugula salad with olive oil and razor-thin radish slices endlessly), they also bake homemade baked goods and desserts on site including fresh scones, giant monster chocolate chunk cookies, and fluffy, mouthwatering cupcakes!  Much like their savoury brunch menu, their selection of sweets will change on a regular basis to reflect the season or pure inspiration.  They will always have scones though.  Their scones are available for purchase individually for $1.25 a piece, or as a scone plate for brunch with jam and cream for $5.  You could totally transform this into a lovely morning tea type of meal with a pot of hot loose leaf tea!

Brunch and afternoon tea scones

The frosted cupcake crown jewels

The showcase of desserts!

I truly believe I was blessed with good fortune on this day.  On Canada Day, Hammersmith’s celebrated their 1st anniversary and birthday!  How exciting it was to be a part of their special day!  And can you take a wild guess as to what made the birthday/anniversary festivities even mor jubiliant?  CUPCAKES!  Every patron was given a free cupcake in honour of this occasion and I was absolutely taken aback and shocked – in a good way!  Can you believe it?!  It’s almost as if the foodie gods wanted me to inhale a fresh cupcake over the weekend! 

They had cake stands full of plump cupcakes in different vanilla and chocolate combinations with the sweetest of decorations (rainbow sprinkles!  Chocolate sprinkles!  Pink sugar sparkles!  Crushed chocolate bits!) and they were all so pretty and so inviting.  Choosing my free cupcake (normally priced at $2.85) was like choosing a crown jewel – giddy but really hard to do!  Part of me was dying to snatch up the vanilla with sweet rainbow sprinkle dots and another part of me was yelling to grab the marble cake with marble frosting.  The “all-things-pink-and-pretty” part of me won over though and I chose the sweet chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and pink sugar sparkles.

If you love that fresh cocoa taste combined with moist-out-of-the-oven softness and soft, creamy, whipped buttercream, these are right up your alley.  It’s crazy because even though they’re light, airy, and fluffy in both cake and frosting, their cupcakes are surprisingly filling!  They’re decorated and piped beautifully and they truly have that comfort food, straight from home oven feeling to them and they taste delightful.  They make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside because they really exude that “I was baked with love” glow.  It’s good old fashioned cupcake basics at its finest. 

The chocolate cake was fudgy with all sorts of warm cocoa goodness lurking throughout and the frosting was so soft.  The cake wasn’t so soft that the cupcake toppled over, but it wasn’t stiff and dense either and you could enjoy it the way it was meant to be enjoyed – in one piece in your hand (or in my case, with a dainty fork!) as you take bite after bite of fluffy goodness.  What was fantastic about it was how they compared to other buttercreams.  It didn’t leave a greasy film, it didn’t taste like a mouthtful of butetr, it wasn’t too sweet or bland, and the ratio between cake and frosting was perfect.      

Fluffy and soft like marshmallow cream

Happy 1st birthday to Hammersmith’s and happy cupcaking, cookie noshing, and scone nibbling for all the sweet tooths!  Next up tomorrow: Hammersmith and drinks!

*****

Hammersmith’s is located at 807 Gerrard St. East in Riverdale, at the corner of Gerrard and Logan Ave.  They are a brunch and lunch cafe open from Wednesday to Sunday (10am-3:30pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 9:30am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays), with a price fixe dinner currently available on Thursdays and Fridays for $35.  Currently, for the summer, they are also now open on Mondays from 10am-3pm!  They accept cash and debit only.