Decent Macarons from Butter Avenue

Butter AvenueLocation: 477 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.butteravenue.com/

I guess those stupid overpriced macarons from Ladurée in Yorkdale have ruined other ones for me.  Because I just ate a couple from Butter Avenue, and they were pretty good, but I couldn’t help but compare them to Ladurée — and they came up short.

Butter Avenue

I tried the pistachio and the raspberry white chocolate, and there certainly wasn’t anything wrong with either.  The pistachio had a really enjoyable nutty flavour, and the raspberry white chocolate featured a delicious raspberry jam centre surrounded by creamy white chocolate.  They were both quite tasty.

But the flavours just couldn’t compare to what they were serving at Ladurée, and the texture was overly dense and chewy, in stark contrast to the almost ethereal lightness of Ladurée’s version.

Butter Avenue

They were three bucks each, which is certainly less than the almost four that they’re charging at Ladurée, but not exactly cheap.  If you’re already spending three bucks on a tiny macaron, you may as well spend the extra dollar and get the superior version.

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Amazing Cupcakes at Prairie Girl Bakery

Prairie Girl BakeryLocation: 150 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.prairiegirlbakery.com/

Prairie Girl Bakery might just serve my favourite cupcakes in the city.  There are some other contenders (the Cupcake Shoppe comes to mind), but Prairie Girl is right up there.

Prairie Girl Bakery

I like that they actually have three different sizes — standard, mini, and cutie.  The mini size is absolutely perfect if you’ve just had a big meal and you want something sweet that isn’t going to make you feel completely sick.  It’s still a couple of decent bites’ worth of cupcake, so it’s enough to satisfy, but not so much to make you question the way you’re living your life.

Prairie Girl Bakery

On this particular visit I got the banana peanut butter, which features peanut butter frosting with banana cake.  Not surprisingly, it was great — the cake basically tasted like a lighter, fluffier banana bread.  It had a really distinct banana flavour that worked perfectly with the very creamy peanut butter frosting.

The whole thing was sweet, but with enough of a balance to not be a complete sugar overload.  It’s good stuff.

Chocolate Buffalo from Bagel Nash

Bagel NashLocation: 7355 Bayview Avenue, Thornhill
Websitehttp://bagelnash.ca/

They sell something called Chocolate Buffalo at Bagel Nash, a bakery in Thornhill.  I really don’t have a whole lot to say about it, but here’s a few points:

  1. I hadn’t even heard of a Buffalo pastry up until this point.
  2. It was bad.
  3. No, like really bad.

Bagel Nash

  1. Like, I tried it, I had a few other people try it, and then I threw it in the garbage.  That bad.
  2. It was incredibly dry (it was possibly one of the driest pastries I’ve ever had), and it didn’t taste nearly as deliciously chocolatey as it looked.  It was mostly just sour, oddly.  It tasted a bit like an enormous rugelach — but then I’ve never had a rugelach that bad.
  3. I have no idea if it’s an acquired taste or if it was just terrible, and I don’t particularly care to find out.  I can’t imagine that I’ll ever try a Buffalo again.

Delicious Cupcakes and Cookies at Short and Sweet Bakeshop

Short and Sweet BakeshopLocation: 111 Richmond Street West, Toronto (in the Assembly Chef’s Hall)
Websitehttp://shortandsweetcupcakes.ca/

Are you a cake person or a frosting person?  Because the cupcake I had at Short and Sweet is making me doubt myself.  Generally I prefer a cupcake that’s a bit heavier on the cake in the cake-to-frosting ratio, but Short and Sweet goes hard in the other direction.  And yet I quite enjoyed it.

As you can see from the photo of its midsection, between the injected sauce and the icing on top, it’s something like 35 percent cake, and 65 percent sauce and frosting.  It’s pretty intense.

Short and Sweet Bakeshop

I got the Dream Team cupcake, which is a vanilla cupcake that’s been topped with vanilla buttercream and a swirl of caramel and chocolate sauces.  It’s also injected with the aforementioned sauces.   It’s an intense, in-your-face sugar bomb — and yet it somehow isn’t too sweet.  All of the flavours go together so well.

Short and Sweet Bakeshop

It helps that all of the individual components are great — the cake is moist and fluffy, the buttercream is smooth and velvety, and the two sauces are great.  In particular, the rich, dulce-de-leche-esque caramel sauce is absolutely fantastic.  But everything is so sweet, and altogether you’d think it would be way too sweet, but it isn’t.  It works.

Short and Sweet Bakeshop

I also tried the s’mores cookie sandwich, which consists of two above-average chocolate chip cookies encasing a whole bunch of chocolate frosting and marshmallow sauce.

Do I even need to say anything else?  Or does it go without saying that it was delicious?  Because it’s just as good as you’d hope it would be.

Short and Sweet Bakeshop

I should note that it’s incredibly heavy, both figuratively and literally — the thing must weigh like half a pound, so eating this all at once isn’t advisable unless you have a particularly large appetite.  But it’s so, so good.

PB and J Goodness at Bake Code

Bake CodeLocation: 4910 Yonge Street, North York
Websitehttp://bakecode.com/

Hey.  Do you like croissants?  Of course you do, who doesn’t?  How about peanut butter and jelly?  Again, I’m going to have to assume the answer is yes.  Of course you like PB and J.  You’re not a crazy person.

Well then, you’ll be pleased to hear that Bake Code has a PB and J croissant, and yeah, it’s good.  How could it not be?

Bake Code

It’s not even that the croissant is that great.  It’s fine.  It’s a bit too dense, and it’s not quite as flaky or as buttery as you’d like; it’s a decent, middle-of-the-road croissant.  But then they fill it with an absolutely absurd amount of peanut butter and strawberry jam, and how could that be bad?  It can’t be.

Bake Code

The crispy croissant, the crunchy peanuts on top, and the gooey PB and J turn out to be an irresistible combination.  It almost feels like cheating — you could put gobs of peanut butter and jelly into pretty much anything, and it’s going to be delicious.  But tasty is tasty.