Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Milk and Cookies

20120817_153837There is, perhaps, no more iconic symbol of childhood than milk and cookies. The purity of the milk and the sugariness of the cookies mirroring the innocence and sweetness of a child. A cookie, dunked in milk like a child frolicking in a puddle. They go together, as Forrest Gump would say, "like peas and carrots."
Unfortunately we don’t remain kids. We grow up. Condemned to sneaking cookies from our “Stash”. Tucked away in a tool box, underwear drawer or back of the cupboard. Covertly enjoying a treat while other adult eyes are focused elsewhere.

These days you don’t have to be a kid or even Santa Claus to enjoy this quintessential treat. In what looks to be the newest “It” thing, little shops selling flavoured milk and a variety of cookies are popping up in cities all over North America. One such place can be found in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood. 

20120817_132154Moo Milk Bar is a little store front in the yuppiest (do yuppies still exist??) part of Toronto. Danielle Oron, the French Culinary Institute trained and New York City chef and fashionista, married a local Toronto boy (Tas) and together they own and operate  Moo. Tired with the direction fine dining was headed and wanting out of the fashion industry she traded in life in the Big Apple for life in the Big Smoke and a simpler calling. Wanting to get back to basics as she says, she chose the tight knit, family oriented community to open her newest venture and showcase her culinary talents.

20120817_132136Moo really is quite small. Probably no more than about 15 feet wide. The outside is awash in (Milk) white and (Chocolate) brown paint with large windows. Inside antiques and old pictures hang on the wall and the counter is faced with reclaimed barn board. A few stools line the walls but for the most part though, this place is just about all kitchen and storage. There is also some fake grass and little piggies for a bit of whimsy.

In that kitchen, Danielle is churning out cookies, ice cream sandwiches and pies. All from her own collection of recipes refined over the years. The milks are made with fresh fruits and home made syrups. Quality ingredients go into the cookies and pies and they even make their own ice cream for the sandwiches. If milk isn’t the drink for you, an espresso or cappuccino may just hit the spot.

So let’s have a look at these goodies.

20120817_131534The flavoured milks we tried were good. Nothing all that great in my mind but perhaps we just didn't hit a flavour that really wowed us. There are a number of them to choose from so you may have to try a few to get the right one.
The Caramel in almond milk was okay but not nearly caramelly enough for my taste. Keep in mind that I'm known to squirt caramel in my mouth straight out of a squeeze bottle.
The Strawberry was much better but not exactly what Mrs. Sippi was hoping for. Longing for memories of Strawberry Quick from when we were kids this one is certainly a much better quality drink. It was more like melted strawberry ice cream. Made with real strawberries it's quite good but for that Pepto Bismal looking milk of our youth it wasn't "Candy" tasting enough.

All the cookies are terrific but… first off let me describe for you my perfect cookie. Flavour not withstanding, I’m talking about structure here. I like a puffy cookie with a crispness to the outside (not just the edges) and an nice chew on the inside. These cookies are not those. These ones are much thinner (with a crispy edge) than I prefer but that's, for the most part, esthetics. The irregular shapes scream home made.

20120817_131523They have, at any one time, 6 different flavours from which you can choose. They rotate them on a daily, weekly, hourly, whenever-we -feel-like-it basis. So you never know exactly what specimens from which you can choose. We took one of each for a good sampling.
Oatmeal Raisin - I hate, hate, hate raisins so as such I'd rather eat boogers. Mrs. Sippi said it was really good though.
Cowgirl - This is an almalgum of different cookie mix ins. Micro chips, chocolate chips, nuts, toffee bits, etc. It was a really nice cookie however I think I'd have liked it a lot more without the nuts.
Party - This is a terrific sugar cookie with coloured sprinkles. Very rich and creamy tasting it was one of the better offerings.
Chocolate - Sometimes I wonder why I bother with double chocolate. Most of the time it's inferior to regular chocolate chip. This was no exception. Not that it was bad. It wasn't. In fact, it was very good. Just second fiddle to the other chocolate offering.
Milk Chocolate Chip - One of the best tasting chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. Pretty much everything a chocolate lover could want. Nice flavour in the dough that isn’t too sweet and nicely supported the rich chocolaty chips. Certainly the best of the bunch.
Brown Sugar Toffee Bit - Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. English Toffee is great. It seems it's even better in cookie form. Especially when played off against the richness of the brown sugar cookie dough. Another absolute winner.

20120817_132307Moo's Ice Cream Sandwiches are so stunningly better than those you find in a convenience store it's like it's a completely different animal. The chocolate chip cookie was the perfect medium to sandwich the fresh made Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. I'm not sure how, exactly, to put this but perhaps saying the quality of the two components shone through here is the best way. It just tasted like it was on another plain. Far and away the best ICS I've ever had. Tas took one out to show Mrs. Sippi and she said it was like waving a steak in front of a hungry dog.
They also had Double Chocolate Chip with Banana Ice Cream which we didn't try.

So there you have it folks, a trip down memory lane just north of Kew Beach.

You can find Moo Milk Bar at 1918A Queen Street East, Toronto, On.

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You can also find them on facebook, Twitter and the Web.
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Well that’s all for now kids. See ya next time in the food court.


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