Surprisingly Tasty Vegan Cinnamon Rolls at Cinnaholic

CinnaholicLocation: 319 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.cinnaholic.ca/

The cinnamon roll from Cinnaholic is shockingly good.  Not that it’s the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever had, but it’s vegan.  You’re bracing for the worst when you hear that a traditionally dairy-heavy dessert has been made vegan.  How could that possibly end well?

Cinnaholic, somehow, pulls it off.

Cinnaholic

It’s an interesting set-up; they have a few dozen different frosting and topping choices (if there’s a dessert topping you can think of, they probably offer it here).  I wanted to see what the deal was with the roll itself, so I went as simple as possible with the “Classic Old Skool Roll,” which is topped only with vanilla frosting.

Cinnaholic

I won’t lie: I was expecting it to be dense and dry and weird, but it was pleasantly light and fluffy, with a nice cinnamon flavour and a great level of sweetness.  It’s very, very sweet, but it’s not quite the throat-burning assault of sugar that you’ll get with something like Cinnabon.

The frosting is quite tasty, too — it’s rich and creamy, but also incredibly soft and light.  I have no idea how they achieve that texture without dairy (I’m assuming margarine is involved), but whatever it is, it tastes pretty darn good.

Cinnaholic

That’s the surprising thing about it.  Yes, it’s vegan, but it’s not good for a vegan dessert; it’s good, period.

Subtle (and Delicious) Pastries at Roselle Desserts

Roselle DessertsLocation: 362 King Street East, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.roselleto.com/

I think “subtle” is the best word to describe what they’re serving at Roselle Desserts, a charming little bakery on King, just around the corner from the Distillery District.

I tried three things: a chocolate chunk cookie, a chocolate souffle cookie, and a raspberry madeleine.

Roselle Desserts

The souffle cookie was the best of the three.  It had a rich, deeply cocoa-infused flavour, with a surprisingly subtle amount of sweetness.  It also had a really satisfying texture: lightly crispy on the outside, and soft and fudgy on the inside.

Roselle Desserts

Lack of sweetness seems to be a theme here; the chocolate chunk cookie was also way more subtle than the norm.  It’s a great quality cookie, with a nice chewy texture and a very generous amount of tasty chocolate chunks.

Roselle Desserts

Unlike the other two, the lack of sweetness felt like a detriment with the madeleine; this one was way too subtle for its own good, with only a vague whisper of raspberry flavour.  The sweetness here was so restrained that I’m not even sure this should be classified as a dessert.

Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies at Craig’s Cookies

Craig's CookiesLocation: 1537 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.craigscookies.com/

Though there are a handful of places to get delicious, freshly-baked cookies in the GTA, there are very few dedicated cookie shops.  It’s actually kind of baffling; everybody loves cookies, don’t they?

There’s Felix & Norton in Markham, and apparently there’s a place called Robyn’s Cookies that I literally just discovered on Google moments ago, and… that’s about it.  There used to be Moo Milk Bar near the Beaches; they had amazing cookies, but alas, they went under.

Craig's Cookies

Thankfully, there’s a new contender in Toronto’s very un-crowded cookie shop field: Craig’s Cookies.

They sell nothing but cookies and ice cream cookie sandwiches.  I have a lot of respect for a place that does one thing, and does it well.

Craig's Cookies

And man, does Craig’s Cookies ever do it well.  They have a whole bunch of really delicious-looking cookies; I went with Nutella, which is a standard chocolate chip cookie with a whole bunch of Nutella in the middle.

Pretty much anything with that much Nutella is going to be delicious, but I was actually shocked at how good the cookie itself was.  It had a perfect flavour, a great crispy/chewy contrast, and enough chocolate chips to give it that chocolatey hit, but not so many that it’s all you taste.

Craig's Cookies

It also had a great balance of salt, which I think is the secret with a cookie like this.  You need a little bit of salt to help balance out the cookie’s sweetness, and Craig’s nails this.  There’s just enough salt for it to do its job, but not so much that it stands out.  Perfection.

Tasty and Unique Flavours at Dipped Donuts

Dipped DonutsLocation: 161 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/dippeddonuts/

Though Dipped Donuts has been serving their tasty treats at various events throughout the city for a few years, they’ve only just recently opened a permanent outpost in Kensington Market.

They keep things pretty simple; as far as I can tell, they only serve classic raised doughnuts — nothing with a cakey base, and on the day I visited, nothing filled (though they do have filled doughnuts in their rotation).

Their menu mostly consists of quirky flavours like rosewater pistachio, mango ginger, and London fog.

Dipped Donuts

I tried the blueberry basil, and yeah, it’s good. The doughnut itself is a little bit more dense and chewy than the norm, which is actually quite satisfying.

The glaze was seriously delicious, though I’ll admit that I couldn’t taste any basil flavour.  It was bright and fruity, with a mild tartness and a pronounced blueberry flavour.  It’s also admirably restrained in its sweetness; it’s basically the polar opposite of the in-your-face sugar bombs you’ll find at Krispy Kreme.

Most of the time, I’m ready to tap out from the sweetness after one doughnut.  Here, I could have happily eaten another one (or two).

Perfect Key Lime Pie at La Rocca Creative Kitchen

La Rocca Creative KitchenLocation: 1285 Elgin Mills Road East, Richmond Hill
Websitehttps://laroccakitchen.com/

Is key lime pie the king of pies?  It might be!  The contrast between the tart filling, the sweet graham cracker crust, and the creamy topping is absolutely magical when done well.  I have a hard time saying no when I see it on a menu.

And La Rocca Creative Kitchen — which serves the type of little pastries that look so nice it’s almost a shame to eat them — makes a really good one.

La Rocca Creative Kitchen

It’s a little bit untraditional.  The typical whipped cream topping is subbed out for creamy Italian meringue, and the crust is made from speculoos cookies instead of graham cracker.

It’s great.  Sometimes a key lime pie’s crust can be too substantial or dry, but this had the perfect level of crunch without getting in the way, and the flavour of the speculoos set it apart from the norm.

La Rocca Creative Kitchen

The dense, creamy Italian meringue might even be better than whipped cream.  Certainly, it does a perfect job of balancing out the tart key lime custard.

And the custard was just right — it’s sweet and creamy, with just the right amount of tartness.  It’s good stuff.