The Cookies That The Cookie Fanatic Loves – A Spotlight on My Market Bakery’s Mocha Tea Cookies

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I love to bake cookies.  You all know that.  I love baking them more than I love baking any other sweet thing and I can’t stop thinking of new flavour combinations and new cookie recipes to try.  I have a lemon white chocolate almond one in the works, a frosted coconut cream one, and strawberry shortcake and Black Forest cookie recipes I’m putting together in my head.  I ponder about them out loud while my brother is playing video games and while he’s eating his lunch.  And just recently, I sounded ridiculous when I got all up in arms about seeing my grandma and grandpa for the upcoming Chinese New Year, not because I was necessarily excited about Chinese New Year (sorry, year of the dragon) but because I’ll be bringing them a few new batches of cookies to try.  My grandma told my mum that my grandpa loved the last one and ate them all (oh ,wait, maybe that’s not such a good thing…).

So, which cookies does a cookie monster like myself love when she goes out for them?  Mocha tea cookies!  These little morsels of chocolatey cocoa mocha madness light up my cookie life.  They are my absolute favourites from My Market Bakery in Kensington Market and some of my all-time favourite cookies ever.  Forget the sugar cookies, forget the shortbread even.  The mocha tea cookies are my holy grail cookies from here and I literally make a beeline for the cookie display case the second I walk into the bakery to see if they’re there.  They are cookie coins (much bigger than a toonie but just a tiny bit smaller than an Oreo) with swirls of thick and creamy vanilla frosting on top and a rich and dense fudgy flavour.  My Market Bakery doesn’t always have them because they’re popular and they sell out fast on some days, but if you see them there in the morning or if you’re lucky enough to see them later in the afternoon, you can pick them up for $0.55 a piece or 10 cookies for $5.

In case you were wondering, this box of 10 was actually not mine but my sweetheart’s.  He loves them just as much as I do.  I gushed and told him to try one many moons ago and he’s been in love ever since (with the cookie, not me.  He fell in love with me eons before this delight entered the scene).  Maybe a little too in love.  He came back with a big square white box and my eyes widened as I incredously asked, “how many did you buy?!” to which he replied, “I bought 10”.  Oh have mercy.  A mocha tea cookie monster I have created indeed.

*****

My Market Bakery is located at 184 Baldwin St. in Kensington Market.  The bakery is located west of Spadina Ave. and south of Nassau St.

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Not Just a Pipe Dream – Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate Ganache Piping Fun at Le Dolci! Part I

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The Fall Harvest series is far from over, but after a full solid week of apple muffin recipes, fall farmers’ markets, and yummy fall sweets and breakfast comfort foods, I’m ready to take a small break before diving straight back in.  It’s time to get some frosting and cupcake fun back in the mix, Le Dolci style!  I’m so happy you were all so supportive and excited about my internship here at the studio when I posted about my first day and since then, I’ve been bouncing off the walls and soaking up every minute of it. 

I’ve learned so much and I’m really lucky I have Lisa and Miya to help guide me along.  It feels awesome knowing I’m helping Lisa and her business and being given all sorts of responsibilities and things to do.  Every time there’s something different, whether it’s mixing and baking a gazillion batches of vanilla cupcakes (minis and regulars) for orders, making fondant decorations, baking cake for cake pops, writing blog posts for the website, doing some photographh for the website and soon-to-be online store, and frosting and piping the afternoon away!

The fun and creativity that goes on during Le Dolci classes!

When I said I was learning a lot, I wasn’t kidding.  Let it be known that not only were my fondant olives my first foray into the sugary, squishy world of fondant, but that piping frosting was also completely unchartered territory.  But, wait, I bake cookies and cupcakes of my own!  How can I not have piped frosting before??  My family (or rather, my parents) don’t prefer frosting.  I know.  If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought I was adopted.  I lick frosting off the spoon.  THE FROSTING IS THE BEST PART.  And yet, all this time, I’ve been denied when it comes to my own homemade cupcakes.  Do I have fancy piping nozzles and tips?  Yup.  Have I used them?  Nope.  Those babies are being saved for when I eventually move out and won’t have to see my parents wrinkle their nose at the sight of icing sugar and butter.  I’m being dramatic – it really isn’t that bad!  You can understand why piping frosting would provoke such jubiliance on my part then, when for others it’s just part of the every day grind.

My first frosting piping project at Le Dolci was for a set of minis!  Cute little vanilla cupcake minis with pink vanilla buttercream frosting in the shaped of frosting “flowers”.  I’ll be honest, my first piping job was awkward.  As I was doing it, I was confused as to why it didn’t feel natural.  I know, it was my first time, so of course it wasn’t going to look perfect.  But this awkwardness was more than just my perfectionist personality screaming for mercy; this just felt…somewhat wrong.  

It wasn’t until I was on the streetcar after I left that I finally figured out what was wrong: I had used the wrong hand to pipe!  I’m right-handed and for whatever reason, I had started piping with my left!  I don’t know about you guys, but I do not have two fully-functioning hands.  I mean, my left hand isn’t impaired (I’m typing, aren’t I?), but aside from holding things, lifting it up to wave hello, and lifting things, my left hand is, well, kind of useless.  Hence why the first piping gig was less than stellar.

Enter frosting fun day #2.  After realizing my mistake, I was raring to go and this time, the results were MUCH better 😀  I piped bright, gorgeous yellow vanilla frosting “flowers” onto mini cupcakes again and dusted them with some edible sparkly glitter.  OOOO, FAIRY DUST!!  I had the mini cupcakes out on a cooling rack, I flipped the piping bag inside out to attach the tip and kept the top of the bag flipped down to fill the bag with frosting using a spatula.  Flipping the top of the piping bag back up, I twisted it tight, kept it taut with my left hand, and gently applied pressure with my right hand to pipe.  After frosting the minis, I dipped a paintbrush into the sparkly glitter and, doing what Lisa showed me, tapped the handle of the brush to gently glitter and dust the cupcakes.  Operation frosting was a success!

Did I help myself to one?  Pft, do cows go moo?  Of course I did!  Only I didn’t bother piping the frosting.  I just grabbed a mini and slapped some creamy frosting on it with a knife.  With cupcakes, there’s never any regrets or inhibitions 😉

*****

Le Dolci is a private studio located at 75 Portland St., just east of Bathurst near King St. West.  The studio hosts cupcake decorating classes and handles catering for both corporate and personal events.  For more information on classes, schedules, rates, and more, visit their official website here and their Facebook page here.

The Keys to My Heart – Prepare to Drool: The Famous Vegan Chocolate Chip Creamie From Bunner’s Bake Shop

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My heart is doing pirouettes as I write this.  Just look at this beautiful masterpiece that I have put before us.  I know your mouth is gaping open at the sight of it.  If it’s not, then it must be swallowing saliva because this vegan dessert is a thing of beauty.  This is the famous chocolate chip creamie sandwich from Bunner’s Bake Shop, located in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood on Dundas St. West.  I am not exaggerating when I say that this cookie sandwich is so effing delicious it makes me want to bus, sub, and run over to the west end bake shop EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this is quite possibly my most favourite dessert EVER.  I know, the unthinkable has happened: my favourite sweets are on the verge of being dethroned.  It stomps over ice cream.  It squeezes past cake.  And cupcakes?  Oh, my beloved cupcakes.  It pains me to say this, but you are no longer my one and only.  You must now share the spotlight – and my heart – with the amazing creamie sandwich.

The chocolate chip creamie is not your ordinary cream-filled cookie sandwich.  And the chocolate chip cookies and vanilla frosting are not your ordinary cookies and frosting.  This creamie is mondo big and is literally pillow soft, light-as-air, melt-in-your-mouth delightfulness.  The chocolate chip cookies look, feel, and taste like a fusion of soft chocolate chip cookies with gingerbread, molasses, cookie dough, and graham cracker crumble all mixed together.

The texture of these cookies is amazing because in appearance they remind you of the delicious crystal-like grittiness of gingerbread and molasses cookies, but in taste they are smooth, soft, and rich.  Chewy isn’t even the right word, because they’re not.  They are simply SO SOFT.  They pull apart amazingly.  You can either stuff your face and chomp on this thing in its entirety, or you can revel in its texture like me and break the creamie apart in half (or in thirds or quarters, whatever floats your boat).  You can literally SEE the richness and softness of the frosting and cookies as you gently break it in half.

Like I mentioned before in my Bunner’s post during Veggielicious, their frosting is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.  The vanilla frosting is simaltaneously airy and thick, and so full of full-bodied vanilla flavour.  So to all cream-filled cookie sandwiches in the world: my apologies, but you’ve been served.

Ashley from Bunner’s was really nice in taking the time to answer my questions about what makes the creamie vegan, specifically.  Instead of butter, the cookies are made with coconut oil and a number of vegetable fats, organic sugar, and premium vanilla are used to whip up the delicious frosting.  The creamie comes in two forms: chocolate chip (what you see here) and the double chocolate chip (what you see in the first photo here) and are $4.25 each.  Although my boyfriend has had the double chocolate chip one twice, I’ve only ever eaten the chocolate chip creamie myself.  When I get around to eating the double chocolate one I promise you there will be mouth-watering photos here too 😉  In the meantime…wipe the drool off from your chin and grab yourself one of these!

*****

Bunner’s Bake Shop is a vegan, gluten-free bakery that also offers a number of soy-free options.  They are committed to using fair trade, organic, and local ingredients as often as possible in their baked goods.  They are located in The Junction at 3054 Dundas Street West, 3 blocks from the intersection of Keele and Dundas West.  Bunner’s is just west of High Park Ave.  They are open from Monday to Saturday from 10am-7pm, and 12pm-5pm on Sundays.