Peanut Butter Waffles, S’Mores, and PB & J Cookie Sandwiches! A Sneak Peek at KRAFT’s Peanut Butter Food Truck!

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Peanut butter and marshmallow creme waffles, peanut butter and chocolate covered baby pretzels, peanut sauce veggie dip, and peanut butter s’mores – can you handle all the smooth, creamy, crunchy, sweet and savoury peanut butter goodness?!  If you’re allergic to nuts, steer clear.  If you’re crazy for cute themed menu items, food trucks, and/or peanut butter, this is a dream come true!  I was in conniptions when I found out about KRAFT’s Peanut Butter Food Truck cross-country tour 2 months ago.  I wrote it down on my calendar.  I saved a jpg. image of the food truck.  I hemmed and hawwed over what I would get off the menu.  And now I’m even more ecstatic after getting the chance to see the adorable food truck up close and in person before its Toronto “debut” at this Saturday’s Buskerfest in St. Lawrence Village!

Now, you’re probably wondering how in the world I got my hands (and tastebuds) on an exclusive TO sneak peek before everybody else.  If we’re friends on my personal Facebook, you most likely know the answer to that as I spilled the beans about my happy news several days ago after having kept it for a secret for over 2 months.  It’s time to come clean: I WORK AT KRAFT FOODS CANADA!!!  I mentioned having my first full-time, permanent job a few weeks ago without specifying where I worked because I wasn’t quite ready to divulge anything, but I feel much more comfortable about it now and am SO excited to share this news with you all!

Without getting too personal or going into too much detail, in a nutshell, I’ve been working at Kraft Foods Canada headquarters here in Toronto for a little over 2  months now and as part of the Kraft Kitchens and consumer relationship marketing team, I manage and maintain a large chunk of the Kraft recipe database (KRL as we like to call it) and am involved in so many different things including the quarterly magazine, What’s Cooking, helping the team with taking test photos of food from recipe development, and of course, being surrounded by food all day long and having recipes come out of my ears!  I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life – and this peanut butter food truck made me so happy and giddy I ran out onto the back patio at 11:30am sharp (okay, so I ran out at 11:10 just to get some photos before the crowds showed up.  You know you’d do the same if you were me!) where the food truck was stationed just so I could get first dibs on photos and peanut butter goodies!  I was thinking about it ALL DAY the day before when I passed by the special bulletin notice tacked up by the elevators.  I thought, “oh my god!  This is my chance!  I can show everyone the truck before it hits Buskerfest!”.  So this is your sneak peek, everyone!  

It was everything I hoped it would be!  Green and cute, emblazened with the famous KRAFT peanut butter teddy bears so many of us have grown up loving since we were tots munching on PBJ sandwiches cut into quarters to fit into our tiny hands.  The KRAFT peanut butter food truck has toured across the country all summer long, making stops in Vancouver, Edmonton, Halifax, and Ottawa, before making its final stop here in Toronto.  Offering sweet and savoury treats and snacks, the food truck and tour is all about getting KRAFT PB fans creative, excited, and involved in sharing stories, memories, recipes, and creative input!  Each stop on the tour has unveiled 2 very special menu items exclusive to the city in addition to the 4 yummies on the menu present at every stop.  These 2 special items were selected from a huuuge outpouring of recipes and creations from fans all over Canada sent in through the site (spreadthefeeling.com) and through Facebook

What’s on the menu?  4 regular items: Peanut Butter Belgain (crunchy peanut butter and Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme sandwiched between two waffles); PB & Pretzels (peanut butter smeared between two chocolate covered baby pretzels); Peanut Butter S’mores (marshmallow creme, smooth peanut butter, and chocolate between two graham crackers); and PB Thai Taster (a veggie dip with a zing of Asian Sesame Dressing mixed with peanut butter to create a yummy dipping sauce!).  The 2 special Toronto menu items are the Chips Ahoy PB & J sandwich (peanut butter and jelly chocolate chip cookie sandwich!), and a Bike Ride Masterpiece of bananas, chocolate chips, and peanut butter rolled up in a tortilla for a sweet and creamy, protein-packed snack!  Buckle up because the cutest teddy bears to have ever graced food packaging are here in town and are ready and raring to go this Saturday for their downtown Toronto debut at Buskerfest 

Ever the indecisive person that I am, I couldn’t decide between the s’mores, the PB & J chocolate chip cookie sandwich, or the PB Belgian.  The waffle craving in me won over though and I stuffed my face with two delightful wedges of waffle sandwich with crunchy peanut butter and sweet marshmallow creme.  Oh my lord, having this makes me want to run out and buy a mini waffle iron, JUST so I can make this myself!  I know, I know, I can always get freezer waffles, but I want to make them from scratch and I can only do that if I have a waffle iron.  So I’m in the market for a mini waffle iron!  We were told that this one sells out the fastest and I can see why!  It’s so cute and yummy and so simple!  Heck, we could even do a PB & J waffle sandwich while we’re at it! 

And you know what else I think would be awesome?  KRAFT teddy bear peanut butter merchandise like stickers and buttons and magnets and stationery and PLUSH!  I would sweep them dry.  I should totally throw it out to the brand team if it hasn’t already been brought up.  I love this food truck so much and I’m so happy I got to get a sneak peek before Saturday.  If you’re heading down to Buskerfest or if you’re just in the area (Front St. East and Jarvis and everything in between!), get your peanut butter on and enjoy it because it won’t be around for long.  We know how much foodies love food trucks!  

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For more information on Scotiabank Buskerfust in support of Epilepsy Toronto, click HERE.  And go peanut butter crazy on KRAFT’s ‘Spread the Feeling’ site HERE!

Dainty, Colourful, and All Sorts of Yummy – The Macarons at Old Firehall Confectionery, Part II

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I feel so blessed having access to so many delicious eats.  I spend a lot of time in the city, but really, I’ve spent most of my life growing up in the suburbs and bouncing back and forth has sometimes made me temporarily forget about the treasures that surround me closest to home.  As you explore you learn that, yes, Toronto has some amazing stuff that you can’t get in the suburbs (case in point: in Markham, the AYCE sushi greatly outnumbers the simple sushi lunch sit-down spots with the regular menu.  AYCE is great for families and gatherings, but not so much for a single person who want to have a quick and inexpensive lunch), but you also learn that there are gems right under your nose that are simply irreplaceable.  For instance, Markham has waaaay more HK style diners and nobody holds a candle to my turkey sandwiches at the Raymerville Deli & Bakery.  Which is way I feel incredibly lucky.  I was born in the east end of Toronto, spent most of my childhood in Scarborough, and have grown up into adulthood in Markham, all the while spending as much of my free time as I could -and can- in the city. 

The Old Firehall Confectionery is located in a neighbourhood very near and dear to my heart: Main Street Unionville.  I love the feeling I get when I spend time here, especially during the fall.  When there’s that awesome nip in the air, everything is just more beautiful, more peaceful.  It’s a beautiful neighbourhood and I don’t think I spend enough time here.  I have SO many wonderful memories of being around this area.  I rememeber doing science projects at Toogood Pond with friends in the 10th grade, spending countless hours at Unionville Library (I wore out their Nancy collection), having lunch at Jake’s Pub & Grille (their halibut melt is amazing), enjoying a little retail therapy at Blossom (quite possibly my most favourite place to blow treat money in Markham), taking pictures of the beautiful fountain behind the library, and strolling through Toogood Pond and park.  And this summer, I found one more reason to love Main Street Unionville even more: the dessert utopia known as Old Firehall Confectionery.

Today’s sweet treat focus: macarons!!  My eyes just lit up when I saw these delicate morsels of yumminess.  So colourful and perfect and gorgeous.  And not over the top expensive either.  At $1.99 a piece, the prices are pretty average and expected in comparison to other patisseries.  Old Firehall has a bounty of different flavours that they rotate through on daily basis.  Their menu is split into two categories: classic and specialty flavours.  Their classic menu includes chocolate, raspberry, green tea, lavender, cassis (black currant), praline, orange, and chocolate mint.  Their specialty flavours are super special, with flavour combos I’ve never seen at other places.  These include strawberry balsamic, lemon thyme, pina colada, mango passion, white sesame, salted caramel, and peanut butter and jelly. 

I tip my hat to all bakers who make macarons because it couldn’t have been easy with the level of humidity we’ve had this summer.  Macarons are supposed to have light, airy, and crispy meringue shells and with the summer we’ve been having, I’m sure there were many a batch that either turned out soggy or just plain collapsed with the dense humidity.

Knowing how indecisive I am, you can imagine how difficult it was to choose just one.  And you can also imagine how excruciating it was to choose which desserts I wanted to eat at Old Firehall.  I mean, holy mother of pearl, there was ice cream, truffles, fudge, cupcakes, cookies drizzled with fudge, and oodles of other things.  I convinced myself to only try two things and then I further convinced myself that those two things would be one macaron and one cupcake.  I exercised a lot of self-restrain; be proud.  I lovingly chose a peanut butter and jelly macaron.  Peanut butter and jelly makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  At the age of 3, 4, and 5, I loved coming home from kindergarten to a little peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into quarters and the combo still earns happy fists from me till this day.

For this macaron, the top and bottom shell mimicked a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a pale cocoa brown top and a fuschia purple-y pink bottom and the filling…oh the filling.  The meringue shells were great, but the filling totally made this macaron with its two layers of sweetness.  One layer was a thick, creamy caramel peanut butter and the other was a sweet, fruity strawberry jam that was absolutely delightful.  The combination of sweet fruitiness with that subtle salty, savouriness from the peanut butter hits you when you bite into and the let flavours hang out on your tastebuds.  I know some people have a tendency to eat fast and gulp stuff down, but with this one, you have to let it melt in your mouth and zing around your tongue to get the full effect and trust me, it is so worth it because it’s SO good.  I was so happy eating this because it tasted EXACTLY like a PBJ sandwich, only much more decadent.

It was so cute getting my little desserts to take away.  My little macaron was put into a little cello baggy and closed with an Old Firehall Confectionery sticker and I was a given a special Old Firehall paper shopping bag for both my cupcake and macaron.  In case you’re wondering, I kept the bag, ha.  I’m so looking forward to trying more flavours (especially the orange, chocolate mint, and a host of the specialty flavours like lemon thyme, pina colada, and mango passion!) and you can look forward to another sweet post tomorrow to end off this 3-part series: cupcakes!

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Old Firehall Confectionery is located at 170 Main Street in the historic Main Street Unionville neighbourhood between Carlton Rd. and Hwy 7.  The dessert haven is located between Carlton Rd. and Fred Varley Drive.  Main Street is located just east of Kennedy Rd.