Sweet Flour Bake Shop
Sweet Flour Bake Shop always smells like cookies because there are always cookies baking inside the Bloor West Village bakery, or at least whenever there are customers inside, and that's most of the time. This place lets visitors build their own cookie and then bakes it fresh: a concept that got Alyssa and I over there in a hurry this week.
Aside from the sweet cookie aroma, we were greeted by totally pleasant service, three kinds of cookie dough (original, peanut butter, and oatmeal) and tons of "add-ins" like chocolate, nuts, fruit and sprinkles (chocolate and rainbow). They also sell house-made granola, and fresh baked custom muffin tops. But cookies are obviously the main deal.
A sign by the cash asks if I would like to have a glass of milk with my cookie, and I do (they use organic milk from Ontario). But I notice they brew Ideal Coffee, and I have a notion that I can only choose one beverage with my cookies so Alyssa and I both have a coffee ($2.25) and it's perfect with the rich desserts.
We make two cookies each. I choose oatmeal dough with pistachios and semi-sweet chocolate ($2.00), plus a sandwich cookie with peanut butter biscuits and chocolate ganache spread ($2.25). Alyssa gets regular dough with Snickers and toffee bits, plus a sandwich of shortbread and salted caramel spread. Our concoctions are mixed up in a bowl, flattened onto a pan and stuck inside a small oven.
While our cookies baked and Alyssa snapped photos, memories of signs and sandwich boards inscribed with the "baked fresh daily" promise flashed across my mind's eye.
Thinking back to all the emphasis on fresh baked goods - having worked through my university years at a local bake shop - it's a wonder that nobody thought of this sooner.
Cookies-baked-while-you-wait is the most obvious idea ever to have never been thought of before. The cookies are done in only a few minutes and I'm more excited to get going on them than I've been about a baked good in a long time.
The bakery itself is homey: small and quiet and bright. There is a music studio upstairs and I can faintly here someone learning the drums, though it's not loud or persistent enough to be annoying. I actually find it quite soothing (my brother had drums... though he was loud and persistent, unfortunately). We sit by the front window and Alyssa snaps some more shots. When she moves the plates around they leave little marks of steam on the table because the cookies are so hot.
The greatest cookie by far is Alyssa's sandwich creation. The shortbread is light and sweet. It tastes amazing with smooth, rich and salty caramel. Her baked cookie is dense and buttery, sugary with her choice of mix-ins. The oatmeal baked up cakier than Alyssa's, with pockets of melted chocolate and crumbly pistachios. Next time I'd double the chocolate or add some fruit to give it weight. The peanut butter biscuit is crunchy, really textured and the chocolate ganache is super sweet and dark. Each cookie is a joy to bite into: warm and fresh.
Half way through the dessert, Alyssa and I notice we've been talking about our childhoods. This is interesting given that we're in a bakery that uses a tiny oven (easy-bake-like) and offers rainbow sprinkles.