Tea Diaries: Infuse Cafe

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista

Location: 3 Gerrard Square Mall – Main Floor – 1000 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, Ontario M4M 3G6
Hours: Monday – Friday: 10am – 9pm; Saturday: 9:30am – 6pm; Sunday: 11am – 6pm;
Website: http://www.infusecafe.ca/

I was invited to my first instameet up and got introduced to Infuse Café’s at their second location in Gerrard Square. I had actually browsed the café for a quick moment on Boxing Day when shopping; but I didn’t have a moment to grab a tea; but a this launch party I got to learn all there is to the Infuse Café. Infuse Café combines organic and fair trade ingredients with industry leading technology; which results is a one of a kind tea experience. Rich, bold and robust flavours are layered using the RAIN technology. If you have ever had a tea that smells when you open up a container; but then the tea doesn’t really taste of that fruit anymore when you drink the actually tea – this is your new cafe. RAIN technology is the Reverse Atmospheric Infusion technology that uses vacuums to remove the air that is trapped in organic materials cellular structure; this result in a more flavourful tea profile. The Bkon Craft Brewer is a machine that uses the RAIN technology to give the purist cuppa. This machine costs $14,000 – $16,000 totalling $22,000 total including the technician flying in from San Francisco and installing the machine. Infuse Café has the only 4 Bkon Craft Brewers in the area and has exclusivity on the device for the next 4 years.

Tasting for the night included blueberry hibiscus ice tea and infuses signature coffee iced. Each tea takes about 120 seconds to make and a special algorithm is used to make each tea; which is steeped just under the boiling temperature to not scorch the teas leaving resulting in a harsh flavour. These machines can also create alcoholic drinks and it takes out the alcohol flavour and ups the value and taste; and if you are a coffee lover more caffeine is extracted than the normal brewing process.

A tea demo was provided by World Tea Podcaster TJ Williamson showing steeped and un-steeped processes. This gave us all some insight into the art of Japanese tea making and I will add this podcast to my feed.

At both locations Cecelia’s Cheesecakes are the perfect treat to accompany your tea. The cheesecakes are light and airy with a hint of cheese. Each is beautifully decorated and I think Japanese style cheesecake may be the way to go for me regarding cheesecakes.
I went back yesterday to try two more teas which were the customer favourite White Peach Blossom tea and the Tropical Crimson which reminds me of Caribbean sorrel with is vibrant deep red hue. I enjoyed my hot tea unsweetened and it tasted delicious. It was light and I could smell the peach. The iced tea had very little ice in it which was great as the tea wasn’t watered down.
Loose leaf tea and tea sets are also on sale and the barista’s couldn’t be any more friendly or helpful. I think I have found a new tea shop in my neighbourhood to frequent. The beverages whether tea or coffee hot or iced is rich, strong, robust, bold and flavourful but not overpowering; it just taste pure.

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista


Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista

Cecelia's Cheesecakes  - Candy Coated Culinista

Cecelia’s Cheesecakes – Candy Coated Culinista

World Tea Podcast  - Candy Coated Culinista

World Tea Podcast – Candy Coated Culinista

Confetti Cookies with Birthday Cake Crumbs

Confetti Cookies with Birthday Cake Crumbs - Candy Coated Culinista

Confetti Cookies with Birthday Cake Crumbs – Candy Coated Culinista

For my birthday this past weekend I made myself some birthday cookies. I wanted a simpler non-cake recipe to just make life easier on myself and this recipe fit the bill as I wanted a special cookie. I have had the Toronto Cooks cookbook since its release in the fall of 2014. I have my list of must makes and yet I haven’t actually tried a recipe yet because these are signature recipes from Toronto’s best restaurants; which means some of these ingredients may not be the easiest to find when I want or are a tad pricy. When I first saw this recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar (a place on my must visit list) I had no idea who Christina Tosi was; a year plus later and I she is a judge on Masterchef and when I revisit this cookbook I recognize her face and get some context. It’s funny how somethings come together like this because if I had made this recipe before I wouldn’t have appreciated the recipe as I didn’t know all that Christina Tosi is in the culinary world.

Slightly altered From Toronto Cooks

Yield/Serving: 16 big cookies
Prep Time: 30 min.
Inactive Time: 1 hour to 1 week
Cook Time: 18 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Birthday Cake Crumb
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 1/3 tbsp golden brown sugar
• 6 tbsp cake/pastry flour
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp kosher salt
• 2 tbsp confetti sprinkles
• 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
• 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
Confetti Cookies
• 2 sticks butter, as room temperature
• 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
• 1 tbsp corn syrup
• 2 eggs
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 2/3 cup milk powder
• 2 tsp cream of tartar
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
• ¼ cup rainbow sprinkles
• birthday cake crumb recipe

Assembly
Birthday Cake Crumb
1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. Line a baking sheet with a silpat.
3. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment mix the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt and sprinkles on low speed until well combined.
4. Add in the oil and vanilla extract and mix until the ingredients start to become moist and form clusters.
5. Drop clusters onto silpat and bake for 20 minutes, breaking up into cluster occasionally.
6. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet completely before removing.
7. Place in an air-tight container.
Confetti Cookies
8. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
9. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter, sugar and corn syrup on medium-high speed for 2 – 3 minutes; scrapping down the sides as needed.
10. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for 7 – 8 minutes; until the batter is fluffy and pale.
11. Reduce speed to low and add flour, milk powder, cream of tartar, baking powder, salt and sprinkles.
12. Mix until dough just comes together; but no longer than 1 minute.
13. Scrape down the sides and add the cake crumbs on low speed, for about 30 seconds.
14. Using a tablespoon and scoop dough onto parchment paper 4” apart and pat the tops down.
15. Wrap the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 1 week. (Do not bake a room temperature as they will not bake properly.)
16. Preheat oven to 375°F.
17. Baking one pan at a time bake for 18 minutes. The cookies should be a light brown and the tops puffed and crackled.
18. Remove from the oven and let remain on the parchment paper for 1 more minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool.
19. Repeat until all cookies are baked.

Tips
• An easy cream of tartar substitute is for every ½ tsp of baking soda use 1 tsp of lemon juice or white vinegar.
• Crumbs will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container or for 1 month in the freezer.
• Cookies will keep for 5 days in an airtight container.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipe has lots of steps and requires some accuracy, yet it didn’t feel like it took that long; but it kind of did. The cookies itself were crunchy on the outside and soft in the centre. The cookie crumbs didn’t really form clusters but there were still a great crunchy addition to the recipe. The shelf life wasn’t 5 days as listed as I’m on day 4 of my leftover test cookie and it’s pretty hard. For me the shelf life is more at the 2 to 3 day mark; but they won’t last that long as all of my cookies were gone by day 2. However; if you like your cookies on the harder side then none of this will really matter to you I just prefer a softer cookie. I also didn’t use milk powder as this is an expensive ingredient that comes in big quantities so I skipped this ingredient and the recipe turned out good. I also thought I had cream of tartar on hand as this is a baking staple ingredient for me and I had actually run out. With all of the above being said this was a great recipe and easy to follow and even all of these adjustments the cookies still turned out well. I’m not sure if it’s because I feel comfortable enough in my baking that I can make adjustments on the fly and still expect good results or this recipe has a larger margin of error lol. In any event this is a great recipe I will be making again and I could see myself baking these as an alternative to a birthday cake again.

Confetti Cookies with Birthday Cake Crumbs - Candy Coated Culinista

Confetti Cookies with Birthday Cake Crumbs – Candy Coated Culinista

Confetti Cookies with Birthday Cake Crumbs - Candy Coated Culinista

Confetti Cookies with Birthday Cake Crumbs – Candy Coated Culinista

Buttery Balsamic Green Beans

Buttery Balsamic Green Beans - Candy Coated Culinista

Buttery Balsamic Green Beans – Candy Coated Culinista

Sweet, buttery, tart and salty and on a beautiful vegetable… this can’t get any better.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• Green beans, 2 handfuls
• 2 tbsp Vegetarian margarine
• 1 tbsp Agave Nectar
• 1 tbsp Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar
• 1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
• Feta Cheese, to taste

Assembly
1. Using a saucepan; bring water to a boil.
2. Add green beans into a steamer basket cover and reduce to medium heat and steam until just cooked.
3. Place steamed green beans in a bowl and add margarine, agave nectar and raspberry balsamic vinegar and coat.
4. Add dried cranberries and mix.
5. Plate and sprinkle feta cheese on top and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I made this recipe with what was in my panty and fridge and this turned out amazing. I love how some of my best recipes come from just what is on hand at the time. I have already made this simple recipe twice already and I will continue to make this time and time again. The dressing is a great way to get that picky eater to at least take a few bites of a not so favorite vegetable. I did however have to take their portion; because I just knew it all wouldn’t be eaten. A valiant effort was made and it was appreciated.

Food Diaries: Pie Squared

Food Diaries: Pie Squared - Candy Coated Culinista

Food Diaries: Pie Squared – Candy Coated Culinista

Location: 366 Bloor Street East Phone Number: 647-350-2743

The science of the perfect pie. This Eatery offers those Hand held pies you’re accustomed to from the U.K. and Australia with a cute element stamp on each pie. I have passed by this shop a few times now and I finally decided to go in. The shop is small but; bright and welcoming. As I perused the menu the very friendly associate explained the whole Pie Squared concept to me. Hand held pies, pie desserts, tarts and even salads and soups are also offered; but let’s face it I’m here for the pies. I visited around Christmas and there was a seasonal Pie and dessert on the menu and of course I couldn’t resist as I love everything Christmas related. I choose the Pie Squared Combo which included a pie, sweet and a drink. I choose the Turkey Dinner Pie which was mashed potatoes, cranberry, turkey and gravy. The potatoes were creamy with the perfect amount of turkey chunks and a dollop of cranberry. For dessert I choose an egg nog butter tart; which was sweet and oozed filing. Now I’m not a fan of things that ooze much like jelly filled doughnuts; but this smelt just like egg nog and tasted delicious. I just couldn’t finish it because it was too sweet for me; but overall a great place for a quick bite to eat.

Pie Squared - Candy Coated Culinista

Pie Squared – Candy Coated Culinista

Pie Squared - Candy Coated Culinista

Pie Squared – Candy Coated Culinista

Pie Squared - Candy Coated Culinista

Pie Squared – Candy Coated Culinista

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