OLD SCHOOL

Brunch used to be a weekly occurrence for me. Fridays would be spent looking for the next place to check out and Saturdays and Sundays were built around where brunch would be eaten. This all stopped in April this year. I stopped going for brunch in an attempt to be more fiscally responsible (didn’t work) and to enjoy other aspects of living in the city beyond brunch (did work). My last brunch was sometime in April or May; Instagram tells me that it was at the end of April to Bar Buca.

This past Saturday was very exciting for me. It was the first time in approximately 4 months that I went out for a proper brunch. After running a few errands downtown, GC took me for brunch at OLD SCHOOL.

I’ve wanted to try Old School for a while now. It is located where The Huntsman Tavern used to be and I was excited to see what took over from that mess. It is super close to GC’s work, it’s open 24-hours/a day and it is by the same people behind SCHOOL in Liberty Village, which is one of my favourite brunch spots in the city.

We were initially sat at the bar to wait for our table to be cleared. We were seated for all of 2 minutes which seemed unnecessary but gave me enough time to gawk over the bar and the various in-house sodas they make. We were brought through the main area of the restaurant to be seated at a small table that overlooked the large, side patio.

The set-up is your classic, old school diner vibe, but a bit classier. There is no bright red booths and vinyl seating. The table tops aren’t yellowed and chips. Everything is black and white with classy touches of neon in the signs. I know what you are thinking, “Classy neon signs?” Yes, they can exist and do exist at OLD SCHOOL.

IMG_4576You can tell I don’t go for brunch on a regular basis anymore based on the quality of my photos. This is overexposed but for some reason, I really like it.

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Bang Bang Ice Cream

There is a new addition to the Ossington Strip – Bang Bang Ice Cream. Bang Bang Ice Cream is brought to you by the people who are behind Bakerbots. It opened earlier this summer in May. Since it has opened, it has been busy and people can’t stop talking about it so we decided we needed to check it out.

We both ordered a half cookie each, at the price tag of $4.50 each. I got the RoCocoa Dark Sable cookie with Strawberry Ice Cream and GC ordered the Gingerrrrrr Spicy Chewy cookie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

IMG_0810Top: The Gingerrrrrr Spicy Chewy cookie with Barbados molasses and peppered tops.
Bottom: The RoCocoa Dark Sable cookie with cocoa brut, 70% callebaut chocolate, and maldon salt.

These were both delicious! As you can see, the ice cream to cookie ratio is generous and well worth the price. I don’t think I could eat a whole cookie by myself but I am definitely not ruling that out as these are so good! My cookie was rich and decadent. I loved how the chocolatey richness was offset by little salty granules. It was soft, moist and chewy, making it the perfect cookie for an ice cream sandwich. The strawberry ice cream is easily the best strawberry ice cream I have ever had. It tasted like fresh Ontario strawberries: sweet with hints of tartness throughout the luscious ice cream.

GC’s cookie was the best ginger cookie ever. It was soft, moist and perfectly spiced with ginger. There was no cloying sweetness from excessive molasses, just the perfect hints of sugar to balance the blend of spices. The vanilla ice cream was pure and simple, dotted with dainty dark vanilla beans. Yums.

We will definitely be going back. I am mad to try the birthday cake cookie, the avocado ice cream and the ice cream puffs! Happy munching!

 

Canada Day 2014

Oh, Canada! Here is a round up of delicious Canadian-inspired cookies and other treats!

DSC_0220-300x300 Sugar cookies byBrant Cookies.Kodomo Cookies I Kodomo Cookies IIKodomo Cookies IIISugar cookies by by Kodomo Cookies.

Beaver CupcakesBeaver cupcakes from Canadian Living.

Sweet Treats N Healthy EatsSugar cookies by Sweet Treats ‘n Healthy Eats.

maple-bacon-cupcakes-plainMaple bacon cupcakes by Make Fabulous Cakes.

Buffet-decor-image

Red and white tablescape from Savvy Mom.decorations3-canadaParty buffet table from Luxury Homes.party-idea-of-the-month-stylish-canada-day-party-0Canada Day outdoor barbeque from HGTV.

S’mores Cookie Bars

Happy birthday Le Faz!!! Today is officially her birthday and for her birthday I baked her s’mores cookie bars.

photo 5The only problem with s’mores is that they are impossible to make when you are not near a bonfire which is a constant problem of mine. However, these solve that problem. AND they are much tidier and easier to eat. You will not have to worry about melty marshmallow strings all over your face.

photo 3(1)They are the perfect combination of cookie and square. The graham cracker crust bottom is buttery and crumbly, creating a light, delicate base for the heaviness of the cookie to rest on. The cookie is buttery and rich, dotted with marshmallows and chocolate chips. The top has less melted marshmallows and whole chunks of chocolate bar. The chocolate bar is broken up into chunks and then frozen, ensuring that they don’t completely melt into the square; genius.

I love these and will definitely make them again and again. Recipe is below the cut and happy munching!

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Raspberry Cream Sandwich Cookies

0206_msl_raspcream_hdMore cookies! I made these cookies the same weekend I made the snickerdoodles and they were equally as delicious. These cookies are slightly time consumming because you have to make the cookies and then the filling, salve but trust, shop it is worth it.

The cookies have a very subtle but rich vanilla flavour owed to the real vanilla beans that are used. The cookies are soft and chewy. The filling is a combination of raspberry and white chocolate – creamy, rich and decadent. These cookies are the perfect cookie for spring – they are fruity, light and fresh. The perfect thing after a long, cold winter.

Recipe is below the cut – happy munching!

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Snickerdoodles

Names of food can be misleading: sweetbreads are not actually a loaf of sweet, delicious bread that can be topped with butter but rather various glands of a calf. Head cheese is not actually a cheese but rather a terrine made of the meat from the head of an animal. And snickerdoodles are not actually cookies filled with chunks of a Snickers bar but rather a buttery, cinnamon-sugar cookie.

3113075933_3c50948e13_oThe confusion that can come from the name snickerdoodles is not nearly as confusing as sweetbreads or head cheese but it is confusion nonetheless. I was first corrected about snickerdoodles when a coworker brought in these delicious treats a few months ago.

I made my own version a few weeks ago for a Family Day brunch my parents hosted (yes, we are one of those families who actually get together on Family Day). I used Martha Stewart’s recipe and of course, they turned out brilliantly. They are buttery, soft, and moist and dusted with the perfect combination of cinnamon and sugar. They are also super easy to make!  The only thing you have to be aware of when making these is to not crowd your baking tray. You need to get over the fact that you want to make 12 cookies/tray and quickly be done. I spaced my cookies out 8 per tray and they turned out beautifully.

Recipe is below the cut. Happy munching!

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Cookie Roundup

January has come and gone and I am proud to say, my New Year’s resolutions have not fallen by the wayside. More accurately, most have not fallen by the wayside.  I am slowly working my way through Martha Stewart’s Cookies, satisfying two resolutions (using cookbooks and baking more). Below are three recipes from her book that I have made so far.

Cookies1. Oatmeal raisin cookies – these cookies were chewy, moist and the perfect snack for work. The batter takes a little work to get used to: my first dozen pancaked out and were not the desired texture. I rolled the batter into tighter balls and lightly pressed them flatter which resulted in soft, moist pillows of oat-filled yums. I am going use this recipe again and again using various dried fruits.
2. Dark chocolate cherry cookies – stop what you are doing and make these cookies now. They are slightly expensive to make as dried cherries are ridiculously priced (at Bulk Barn they are $16/lb!) but they are so worth it. They are super chocolatey, with chunks of soft chocolate embedded in the already chocolate cookie and hints of sweet, souriness from the cherries. I brought most of the cookies to work and they were gone instantly. I made the rookie mistake of bringing the container into the lunch room where I was then forced to share with random coworkers I don’t know. Everyone at work is now pushing for more homemade baked goods.
3. Truffle brownies – these were extremely rich, dense and chocolate filled. I would recommend making them for an extreme chocolate lover and cut them into smaller pieces. The recipe says serves 12 (I cut them into 8 because I have an inability to slice anything round into any amount other than 8) but I would say you could cut the slices even smaller.

Any of these cookies were make the perfect work day snack or a special treat of Valentine’s Day. Happy munching!

 

Christmas Baking

Christmas has come and gone and of course, there was excessive amounts of baking. This year I made 7 different types of cookies.

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1. Peppermint Oreo Truffles
2. Caramel Stuffed Soft Gingerbread Cookies
3. Triple White Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms
4. Eggnog Cookies
5. Chocolate Chunk Peppermint Pudding Cookies
6. Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze
7. Chocolate and Maraschino Cherry Shortbread Cookies

This were the most successful batch of Christmas cookies I have ever made, every recipe was good! The easiest were the peppermint oreo truffles and my favourite were the lemon ricotta cookies with lemon glaze.

Part of my New Year’s Resolution is to bake cookies more often to try out new recipes and techniques – why save it only for the holidays?

Happy munching!