Arriving at Union in advance of the agreed time allowed for Wi-Fi usage and exploration of the connecting pathway between the Bay and York Concourses, where further outlets could be found for usage while standing.
Thankfully, I had ultimately decided against it, for breakfast comprised of a decent supply of coffee, muffins, and slightly tacky strawberry-cream cheese Danishes.
Fresh, delectable berries, juicy pineapple, luscious green grapes, chopped Granny Smith apples, and cantaloupe were giddily piled onto one side of my plate.
At the very least, the space was sparkly clean and the tables supported a sit-stand function. It was also equipped with two Samsung Flip boards, life-sized tablets that facilitated the sharing of content and network-based file transfer.
Smog was exceptionally thick and, when paired with the combined effects of ongoing construction, made for a stifling, dusty trek about the area.
Heading north to the intersection of Bay and Wellesley, I found greadually improving air quality (ie. less roadwork) and quieter streets. In-boulevard trees also provided some sort of shaded relief from the summery temperatures.
However, I would continue eastward, weaving through Breadalbane Park towards Yonge Street. The mission at hand was Craig's Cookies, specifically their Pride Cookie. A local franchise with four locations throughout the city, I had first stumbled upon the specialty boutique last year after a spectacular supper at Yuzuki.
On the way back, I shed my cardigan, then silently regretted forgetting my neck fan at home, for breezy it was no longer.
Upon reaching Bay and Elm, I could withstand perspiration no more and hobbled into the nearest coffee shop of interest. Being downtown on sweltering days is particularly dangerous for this reason, as spendings become increasingly steep out of immediate need.
I was warmly greeted by the cashier upon entry and began to browse the menu overhead. A Matcha Cold Foam Cold Brew was selected to appease internal heat. The café housed a variety of baked goods, including checkboard cookies, scones, brownies and bars, and macarons. Alas, today's treats were already in tow.
1) Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans
It suffices to say that I didn't exactly "crack the code" behind Craig's Cookies, though I had succeeded in crafting a variation that would satisfy my next Pride Cookie craving.
Throughout the process of toasting and chopping pecans, it dawned upon me that my bag of Kirkland nuts were about to expire. In fear of the pricey pieces going rancid, I toasted the entire bag, then began contemplating ideas for utilization. The suggestion of candied nuts were simple enough, as it allowed the innately smoky properties of pecans to be showcased.
Turning to SK, I found a mixture requiring no more than brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and a "generous pinch of cayenne pepper", which was substituted with an equally generous pinch of paprika instead. Despite griping about the recipe's specification of one egg white, I was fully aware that omission of the ingredient would result only in failure (based on countless batches of granola-making).
Crafting of the Pecan-Pistachio Brittle had resulted in one leftover egg yolk. The household revealed lack of interest in including the yolk in instant noodle combinations, thus leading me to resort to either Ginger Molasses Cookies or an enriched dough. With the recent acquisition of yeast - stiff cinnamon rolls no more! - the stand mixer was retrieved, and the dough hook affixed.
My first attempt, as I later learned, coincidentally aligned with Challah's culturally significant pareve properties.
Three hours later, the dough had, thankfully, doubled in size.
With the assistance of the World Wide Web, braiding was facilitated into a tutorial spanning four minutes and immediate application. Then, it was set to rise for two more hours.
As per SK directions, I verified the internal temperature for assurance. Despite the surface acquiring a wonderfully golden sheen, the internal temperature read at 182 F, a few degrees under the required 190 F for doneness. Back into the oven it was returned, until the surface turned a coppery brown and the thermometer read 200 F.
Eaten fresh, the loaves were absolutely fragrant and offered a phenomenal texture: plush on the inside and flaky on the outside. Two to three minutes in the toaster oven in the subsequent days restored its layers, though could not retain the springy softness witnessed on day one.
Should I be faced by future circumstances with extra egg yolks (and possess enough patience for two rises spanning a total of 300 minutes), I may be inclined to experiment with the fat content, using melted butter to improve aromatics. That said, oil and water already contribute to a relatively moist, eggy dough with a scrumptious, butter-like taste.
Surely, this long-time occupant of the household needs no introduction.
Attending pilates class at LA Fitness for the first time in weeks earned me a wide smile from the instructor. Unfortunately, it also worsened an old shoulder injury, rendering me unable to attend Sunday's Kickbox Cardio session.