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.

Middling Gelato at Ed’s Real Scoop

Ed's Real ScoopLocation: 189 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.edsrealscoop.com/

I’ve mentioned before that I quite like Ed’s Real Scoop, but that really, their sweet cream is where it’s at.  It’s outstanding.  Their other flavours are disappointingly hit-and-miss.

But in all my dozens of visits to the place over the years, I’ve never bothered to try their gelato.  This is going to be a short post — more of a PSA than anything else — because it’s not very good.  I’d advise that you stick to the ice cream.  Specifically, stick to the sweet cream.

I tried the pistachio and the bacio (chocolate hazelnut), and both of the flavours were pretty weak.  There just wasn’t much there, other than a generic sweetness.  This tends to be an issue with their ice cream, too, but at least in that case they’re starting with a great quality base.

Alas, the gelato itself was thin and underwhelming, with barely any creaminess at all.  It’s a waste of time when the ice cream is right there.

Decent Dipped Cones at Chocolats Favoris

Chocolats FavorisLocation: 1440 Major MacKenzie Drive West, Vaughan
Websitehttps://www.chocolatsfavoris.com/

If you want a dipped cone in the Toronto area, you’re covered.  Aside from Chocolats Favoris (which hasn’t expanded to the city quite yet), you’ve got relatively new places like Sweet Jesus, La Diperie, and Hollywood Cone, not to mention old standbys like Tom’s Dairy Freeze and the always-reliable Dairy Queen.

Note to all future restaurateurs: we’re all good for dipped cones.  May I suggest you open a frozen custard joint?  Or maybe a traditional sundae shop?

Chocolats Favoris

Chocolats Favoris (which is a Quebecois import, as you might infer from the name) sells dipped cones with a particular emphasis on the chocolatey dips; they’ve got about a dozen you can choose from, which you can either have as a plain dip, or in one of their customized combinations.

I went with the latter, and got the Hazelnut Praline, featuring vanilla ice cream with a chocolate hazelnut dip, hazelnut pieces, and dark chocolate sauce.  It’s garnished with a Ferrero Rocher-esque confection.

Chocolats Favoris

The chocolate hazelnut dip was quite tasty, which is good because there was a lot of it.  I don’t know if there’s always that much or if the woman behind the counter was just feeling generous, but the sauce layer was about a centimetre thick.

It basically tasted like a slightly sweeter, less hazelnutty version of Nutella.  The texture was interesting; it didn’t get quite as crackily as your typical chocolate dip (it might have been laid on too thick to properly harden).  It was fudgy and chewy, which actually worked quite well.  It’s basically vanilla ice cream with a bunch of Nutella mounded on top.  It’s hard to go wrong there.

As for the ice cream itself, it was fine.  It was about on par with what they’re serving at Sweet Jesus, which is to say that it was tasty, but nothing special.

(Mostly) Great Gelato at Hollywood Gelato

Hollywood GelatoLocation: 1640 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.hollywoodgelato.com/

I’m not sure why, but there are way more gelato shops in the GTA than regular ice cream.  I’m pulling this number right out of my you-know-where, but I’d guess there’s something like four gelato places for every one ice cream shop.

So when you’re talking about the best gelato in the city, there’s quite a bit of competition.  But Hollywood Gelato is certainly a strong contender for that list.

Hollywood Gelato

On a recent visit, I got Rocky Rocher (chocolate hazelnut) and Sicilian Pistachio.  The texture was phenomenal.  It’s slightly stretchy and richly creamy; you’re not going to do much better in the texture department without a plane ticket to Italy.

The flavour, however, wasn’t quite up to snuff on this particular visit.  It was still very good, but the flavour on the Rocky Rocher was a bit muted, and the pistachio was slightly too strong (I think someone was a bit heavy-handed with the pistachio flavouring in this particular batch).  There was also a vaguely unpleasant aftertaste that lingered on my palate for a while after I was done.

Hollywood Gelato

(I think I’m coming off more negative here than I should — don’t get me wrong, it was still delicious.  It just wasn’t quite as delicious as it usually is.)

On another visit, I got a couple of the wackier, Easter-inspired varieties: Creme Egg and Kinder Surprise.  Surprisingly enough, they were a lot better than the more traditional flavours I had on my previous visit.  The Kinder Surprise, in particular, really nailed the milky, chocolatey flavour of that particularly treat.

Pastry Perfection at MoRoCo Chocolat

MoRoCo Chocolat
Location: 215 Madison Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://shop.morocochocolat.com/

People: this is not a drill.  The chocolate hazelnut croissant at MoRoCo Chocolat is mind-blowing.  It’s the best pastry I’ve had in a long, long time, and yes — I’m including my recent ten-day trip to Paris.  It’s an all-timer.

MoRoCo Chocolat

Everything about it is amazing: you’ve got the croissant itself, which is buttery and flaky and delicious.  There’s the perfectly crispy sweet hazelnut topping, which is basically like the topping of an almond croissant, only with hazelnuts, and which goes perfectly with the rich, chocolately filling.

And the icing on the metaphorical cake?  The absolutely astonishing custard, which might have been the best custard I’ve ever had.

MoRoCo Chocolat

And I mean, who expects custard in a croissant like this?  It’s weird, right?  But good weird.  The best weird.  It’s what pushed this over the top and made it one of the best damn things I’ve eaten in such a long time.  It was creamy and rich, with a flavour that I can only describe as the platonic ideal of custards.  It’s the kind of custard that makes all other custards taste like garbage, because it’s so damn perfect.

It took something that was already delicious and made it crazy delicious.

MoRoCo Chocolat

I’m not sure why you’re even still reading this when you should clearly be driving/walking/sprinting to MoRoCo to buy one.  Just be warned: after taking a couple of bites and realizing that this was the best thing ever, I promptly went back into the store so I could buy another one or two (or three).  But that was it.  Apparently they only make one or two a day.  So get there early.  It’s worth it.