When my carpooling partner warned of an earlier departure time, I grimaced. Joint trips often commence early, but terminate far later than desired. To peel myself away from an area of respite even sooner than 6 AM did not align with personal productivity-promoting protocols. I resolved to undertake the grueling drive downtown by myself.
On the bright side, many of the construction fences had been removed with the completion of cycle track paving and interlock work. This enabled smoother flow of foot traffic, in spite of snow piled about the curb.
Obtained in addition to the scone were a small Houjicha Latte and Mont Blanc. While the drink was being prepared, I treaded down a flight of narrow, rickety wooden stairs to the basement. Amidst the dim ambiance were a handful of tables, two incredibly focused ladies seated at those tables, working away on their laptops, and an old movie - complete with subtitles - being projected on an empty wall. Left of the stairwell was a door that read "Employees only", but beyond the limited seating was a second door - the washroom!
The single stall was fairly clean, equipped with a swing top garbage bin, one backup toilet paper roll under the sink, and a toilet with competent flushing capabilities.
The cashier-barista added the finishing touches on my Houjicha Latte and handed the cup to me with grace. The beverage was toasty and positively nutty: warm enough to unleash distinctly houjicha aromas, but not scalding to the point of tongue-incinerating (Looking at you, Starbucks).
Consistent with findings obtained via sampling of their madeleine assortment, Isle of Coffee pastries can be a hit or miss, but nonetheless worthy of attempting. The Fig and Caramel Scone possesses a profile I shall be retaining near and dear to my heart.
1) Blueberry Crumble Cake
Propelled by a batch yield of 2 for $6 Driscoll's blueberries, I transformed 360 g of the beady, soul-less berries into freeze-able, breakfast-ready slabs. The recipe source was none other than Sunday Baking's Blueberry Crumble Cake.
The components came together with ease; even the batter was remarkably forgiving, still radiating plushness after an unforeseen mid-scaling shutoff.
From the moment Sunday released this formula, I was determined to recreate it.
I would utilize a 6-inch aluminum pan instead, anticipating a taller cake and longer baking time. At the twenty-five minute mark, the surface swelled and gnarly bubbles appeared on the surface. A skewer emerged damp, so the cake was returned to the oven for another fifteen minutes. Within this period, the oven temperature fluctuated constantly, causing me to add ten more minutes, then another fifteen to the ensure doneness. When large cracks covered the surface, the skewer finally emerged clean.
Pairing smooth chocolate, gritty almond powder, and traditionally Italian olive oil lends the Torte moistness and depth without extraordinary effort. For any future attempts, I'd like to try rum for a boozy boost of warmth.
The combination is delectable, albeit satiating if consuming more than a few bites.
Just short of one year after its acquisition, my - now-expired - Green Tea Hoddeok mix was finally put into action. While I had concerns regarding expired (read: inactive) yeast, results were passable. The dough was both sticky and dry, with floury flakes in the dough emerging at odd corners.