One of my favourite things in the world is to bake. I love the ritual of it, the smells, textures, and feeling of accomplishment you get after pulling out that loaf of bread, or biting into that cookie, or frosting that cake. But sometimes you just want to sit with a cup of tea, and enjoy a delicious, unique baked good, made by a pro. And with that, here is a list of (some) of my favourite Toronto bakeries, as of January 2014. At the bottom you’ll also find a few I hope to check out in 2015.

For scones and jams: Kitten and the Bear

kittenandbear2updated

My personal dream Sunday begins one of two ways: either at home with Joe making coffee in our Chemex, and me scrambling up some eggs with greens and goat cheese, or with a dear friend, eating freshly made scones with a selection of small-batch jams at Kitten and the Bear. Oh and of course your scone and jams come with a choice of tea (my fav is Heavenly Cream) all served up in the loveliest mis-matched china. It’s like adorableness barfed all over that place. Heads up: Kitten and the Bear does not have a bathroom and only has two tables (one for 3, one for 2). Also, they tend to sell out of scones, so better to go earlier in the day. //1574 Queen Street West, Website

For inventive takes on childhood favourites: The Bake Shoppe

I recently met Rebecca for a date at The Bake Shoppe, and we were super impressed. We each ordered the homemade passion  flakies and died and went to heaven. Picture Kitten and the Bear raspberry jam, vanilla cream, inside the butteriest pastry – it’s basically what you wish a toaster strudel was actually like. Speaking of high-end versions of low brow treats, you’ll also find rice krispie squares with Ruffels instead of rice krispies, and grown up versions of pop tarts, with flavours like spiced pear, or strawberry tawny port with rosemary. They also had some really gorgeous looking cakes. // 859 College Street, Website

Left: The Bake Shoppe, Right: Momofuku Milk Bar

Left: The Bake Shoppe, Right: Momofuku Milk Bar

 

For the weird and wonderful treats: Momofuku Milk Bar

Ever wanted to have a truffle that tasted like birthday cake? Or pie that tastes like a candy bar? Treat lovers congregate to Momofuku Milk Bar, where Christina Tosi rolls out quirky variations of childhood flavours, done up for adults. Make sure you try the cereal milk soft serve, the compost cookie, and crack pie (which is basically just butter and sugar, which is what I consider my crack anyways). //190 University Ave, Second Floor, Website

For cookies/cookies with ice cream: Bakerbots/bang bang ice cream & bakery

What’s better than delicious cookies? Delicious cookies with homemade ice cream inside! Not to be missed: the banana pudding ice cream at Bakerbots (inside a peanut butter cookie), and a puff, filled with ice cream instead of cream (I had homemade strawberry) at bang bang ice cream. They also have vegan options!  //bang bang ice cream: 93 1/2 Ossington Ave, Website // Bakerbots: 205 Delaware Ave, Website

bangbang

bang bang ice cream shop

 

For doughnuts: Paulette’s Original Doughnuts (Delica Kitchen)

Paulette’s Original doughnuts are my favourite in Toronto. I really enjoyed Glory Hole, but I’m personally inclined to the cake doughnut flavours of Paulette’s. For my birthday last year, my family ordered two dozen, including amazing flavours  like Mango Yuzu, Blueberry Balsamic, and Chocolate Pretzel. Paulette’s doughnuts are available either by order, or at Delica locations around the city (although then you’re limited to what’s in stock that day). //Website

For more scones: Baker & Scone

Baker & Scone opened up not far from where I live in the St Clair West neighborhood. They make a really solid American-style scone, usually filled with a nice assortment of (seasonal) flavours. I’ve had the Vanilla Bean, Lemon Currant, and the Cranberry Orange. They also do savoury varieties, which all look quite tasty. I recommend stopping in after a morning at the Wychwood Barns market (my local, all-year farmers market). //693 St Clair Ave W. Website

Left: Paulette's, Middle: Bunner's, Right: Baker & Scone

Left: Paulette’s Doughnuts, Middle: Bunner’s Bake Shop, Right: Baker & Scone 

 

For the vegan and gluten free: Bunners Bake Shop

Full disclosure: Bunners is owned by a friend of Joes who he met (true story), while working at a fast food chain in high school! While I’m usually pretty skeptical of gluten free and vegan baked goods, Bunners has won me over a few times with their tasty treats. I’m a fan of the Gypsy Cookie – a hearty cookie that will fill you up, with tons of seeds, chocolate and dried fruit. They even fooled me with their vegan soft serve, so there you go. And I hear that their bread is some of the best gluten free bread out there! //Multiple locations, Website

 For Jewish breads: What A Bagel

For the best challah, New York-style bagels, and rugelach in the city, I love the local chain What A Bagel. Their challah is some of the softest and richest (without being too sweet which I hate), and their bagels strike the perfect balance between nice crust on the outside and soft on the inside. They can’t match up to some of my favourite bagel places in NYC, but they come pretty close.  //Multiple locations,  Website

 

To visit in 2015

Here are some places I’m looking forward to checking out this year…