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Baked Goods

The Designer Cookie

Posted by Daniel Kuseta / Posted on March 25, 2010

The Designer CookieThe Designer Cookie is the latest one-stop sweet shop that lets customers create and bake their own cookies. Breaking into the frantic, sometimes fickle Toronto food scene isn't easy. Whether it's four-dimensional cupcakes or curry chicken poutine, more places are offering twists, slants or shticks to set them apart from the crowd. And Sweet Flour (another custom cookie baker) in Bloor West Village has found success in this category. So last week I ambled over to see if the gimmick here tasted good.

The Designer Cookie has existed as an online store for the past seven years, giving owner Monica Kransy time to hone her confectionery cred. Opening on Eglinton last November, Kransy follows the Norwegian proverb "cookies are made with love and butter," and uses no shortening, no margarine, and no shortcuts in her cooking - with everything baked fresh daily.

The Designer CookieThe Designer CookieMuch more than just a cookie joint, this temple of temptation offers cupcakes, scones, candied popcorn, wedding cakes and catering. It also boasts its own chocolate printer! Alas, not an Epsom wrought from cocoa, but a food dye printer that zaps logos onto cakes, cookies or whatever sugary snack you desire.

Although I'm here for the DIY cookies, the cupcakes look too good to breeze by, and with names like Chewy Vuitton, Calvin Lime and Christian Dioreo (all $2.50), I'll bite. The Dolce and Banana is a banana cake base that's moist and yum, but the choc buttercream frosting almost knocks my socks off. Kransy wasn't kidding about the butter. A little rich for my taste, it's the type of thing sure to please dedicated sweet tooth types. As I finish my aperitif, the aroma of freshly baked dough fills the air and I'm ready for the main event.

The Designer CookieThe cookie counter is a Wonka-esque take on the sandwich assembly line, with a gob-smacking array of goodies like M&M's, Skor bits, peanut butter pieces and mini-marshmallows (I'm pretty sure I had a dream like this once). Not knowing where to begin, Monica's assistant Blake (and cookie maker extraordinaire) guides me through the process.

Step one is choosing your dough: classic, double chocolate, or oatmeal. I go classic. Step two, choosing your mix-in, is where I get a little stuck. With over two dozen to choose from I'm trapped in a Pavlovian paradox. Do I go sweet and load up the chocolate chips and sprinkles, go nuts with macadamias, or mature with dried cherries? Sensing my struggle, Blake offers to whip me up his favorite concoction: Skor bits, soy nuts, pretzels and potato chips. Geez, I didn't know that much could be crammed into a cookie...but when in Rome. I nod and let Blake do his thing (all cookies $2.50 with two mix-ins, $0.50 per additional mix-in).

The Designer Cookie

The Designer CookieWorking the ingredients into a generous sized ball, Blake flattens the cookie-to-be on a tray and whips it into the oven, where it cooks for ninety seconds. It's kind of like watching a pizza being made, and there's something thrilling about seeing all the stuff you wanted to put in cookies as a kid materialize before your eyes.

As Blake's unholy creation is baking, I grab a pre-fab cookie for comparison. The Cocoa Chanel ($2.00) is intensely chocolaty, with a high cocoa count that makes it more bitter than sweet. So far, so good. Then Blake plops down my custom cookie and I think I've over-extended myself.

Bubbling and crackling before me, it's a big bastard; almost the size of an outstretched palm and hot to the touch. A proud, formidable cookie, the Skor, pretzel and chips poke out, daring me to take them all on at once. I oblige.

The Designer CookieBiting off a chunk, the first thing that hits me is the heat. I'd forgotten how good freshly baked cookies can be as the warm, lush dough rolls over my tongue and I taste the butter coursing through it. The Skor and pretzels provide roughage and that salty-sweet combination I'm such a fan of. I don't detect much of the chips and the soy nuts but I've got enough on my palette to keep me busy.

Working through my crumbling confection, I'm surprised at how much better it tastes than the cupcake and cookie that preceded it. Both were perfectly respectable, but this blew them out of the water. It was more than a taste; it was an experience. One I intend to repeat.

But not today. As the air once more fills with the scent of baking my tummy rumbles, and I leave before succumbing to temptation once again.

The Designer Cookie

Mon: Closed
Tues - Fri: 10am - 7pm
Sat: 10am - 6pm
Sun: 12pm - 6pm

See also: The best new bakeries in Toronto, 2009

Discussion

16 Comments

Daniel / March 26, 2010 at 09:58 am
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How much do I love the designer cookie? I'm the mayor on foursquare! Nice to see this local favorite get some much deserved publicity.
Iris / March 26, 2010 at 10:23 am
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This looks alot like Sweet Flour

http://www.sweetflour.ca/ ...are they the same? I have not been to designer cookie but sweet flour is amazing!!

sarah / March 26, 2010 at 10:44 am
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Hey Iris, how about you learn to read, then ask again!
Iris / March 26, 2010 at 11:01 am
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Hi,

Well someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.

I was simply saying they are the same IDEA. And wondering if this new place is as good as sweet flour.
Blake / March 26, 2010 at 11:22 am
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Great article Daniel, we loved it! Consider yourself welcome anytime for another "big bastard" on the house!
Chiara / March 26, 2010 at 11:40 am
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Loved the writing! You made me want a cookie instantly. Great store concept...I hope it's success continues to grow.
HUK / March 26, 2010 at 02:34 pm
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This reminds me a bit of that segment in Just Like Mom when the kids would make "chocolate chip cookies" with too much oil, no eggs, pineapples etc. and then feed 'em to mom to see who could guess whose recipe.

Mark / March 26, 2010 at 04:01 pm
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Hmmm...I wonder if Iris is from Sweetflour!
Richard S / March 26, 2010 at 05:21 pm
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Looks a lot like Blushberry at John & Queen street but with more toppings available...
GL / May 24, 2010 at 03:47 am
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Went there on Friday and I am sold.
A fresh baked cookie beats any store bought variety any day. While my dark chocolate, cherry, blueberry, cashew cookie was baking I also tried a tomato+ parmesan muffin (yes savory). The muffin was like eating a tomato sandwich/marinara slice, it was good and light.
Now the cookie...it has ruined cookies for me to a point that any pre-baked cookie is a tasteless edible cardboard.
Shelisa / August 11, 2010 at 01:55 am
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What a wonderful concept. A girl could fall in love at this cookie store. Cranberry, oatmeal, walnut with white chocolate would be my first. But not my last!
JJ / August 20, 2010 at 03:22 pm
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i went for cupcakes since they had a promotion 4 cupcakes for free. i had to say i was unimpressed. they had only 3 flavors of the large ones and they were the flavors that i wouldn't consider high sellers. i haven't tried them yet but they don't look all that appetizing and i won't be going back. if the promotion is to get people to try and come back....they dropped the ball on that one!
Katie C replying to a comment from JJ / October 22, 2010 at 06:29 pm
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Wow JJ, you come in for four FREE cupcakes, don't try even TASTE them, and then have the nerve to write a negative review! Unbelievable! I've been there a bunch of times as I live in the area and use them for all my events...their cupcakes are hands-down best in the city, and trust me, I've tried them all! Haven't tried their cookies yet, but if they're anything like the cupcakes, I'll be thrilled.
Joel / December 9, 2011 at 06:25 pm
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Oh man the cupcakes were dry and the icing was hard. They must use shortening because it had no flavor. Big waste of $
Julia / April 27, 2012 at 04:30 pm
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The top of my chocolate cupcake was crusty, frosting was greasy. You can get better cupcakes at Sobey's.
Jenny / December 11, 2012 at 01:26 pm
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This place is now closed. They had crappy products so its no wonder they've gone out of business.

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