I love reviewing things.
I love food.
I love baked goods (duh).
AND MOST OF ALL I LOVE VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE AND SOME SORTA OTHER HEALTHY THINGS.
I don't think the anticipation of picking up goodies for review from Kelly's Bake Shoppe quite prepared me for how severely my heart would flutter and my eyes would widen with happiness. Especially given the severe storm that was ensuing as I hopped in my car to get to Burlington (not a far drive, thank goodness)!
So what will this post accomplish? A few things. 1) What is this magical place? 2) A review 3) Food porn photos up the wazoo!
SO numero uno.
Kelly's Bake Shoppe is an award winning gluten free, vegan, peanut free, most other allergen free, bakery in Burlington, Ontario.
Mother and daughter duo Kelly & Erin run the shoppe after Kelly's very successful vegan and gluten free restaurant gained popularity for it's delicious food in general but especially the wonderful desserts!
With a focus on whole foods, health, a beautiful atmosphere and excellent customer service I don't think it should come as a surprise that this is one BUMPIN' place to be. As someone who lives in the area I have heard soooo soo much about this bakery. Especially because most people who I know, on some level, are aware of my healthy baking endeavors -- I have been personally recommended to visit this shoppe...oh...I dunno... 9 thousand times?!
They have everything from gourmet cupcakes, giant beautiful bakery-style cookies, ice cream sandwiches, cookie sandwiches, soft-serve ice cream, brownies, donuts, coffee, cakes, and MORE!
You've stepped in the door and glanced down at the adorable bright pink carpet. Now step further inside and you will be greeted by an earthy charm, rustic and classy atmosphere and kind staff ready to help you.
Chalkboards, healthy juices, cupcakes as far as the eye can see and a freezer full of goodies to take home and save for later! OR eat immediately ;)
I was given two cupcakes of my choice -- but more on that later! What do we have here? Birthday cake, Coconut, Lemon Drop, Dulce de Leche (award winning!), Carrot Spice, Raspberry Lemon, S'mores, Pumpkin Caramel Cream Cheese and Blueberry French Toast. PHEW! Plus a few I am missing, I'm sure!
THE MILE HIGH BROWNIE! I have been wanting to get my little hands on this gem for a long time. Another award winning product -- how beautiful is this set-up?
And OF COURSE...plenty of cookies! I received one of each type of cookie. OH BOY! Snickerdoodles up top, World Peace Cookies, The Skinny Cookie and that's Chocolate Chip at the bottom left.
I will admit I was very close to stealing that beautiful stand that the 'Skinny' cookies were on. It was a problem.
So unfortunately I did not stay TOO long -- I wanted to seriously just wander around the shoppe for hours. And I feel like they would have let me because they were very sweet peeps in there. Lorrie, I BELIEVE, helped me?! If I got your name wrong I am so sorry. The weather made me a bit loopy -- which is why I did not linger as long as I would have liked!
But the atmosphere is very warm, inviting and peaceful. At least when I was there. I hear there are usually people clamoring to get in and the line-ups are always very long! I lucked out -- I guess no one wanted to brave the storm!
Here was the little bag the cookies came in. I am wayyy too much of a detail freak. I just found myself squealing with glee at every little thing.
Including these bags with a window. I love cellophane windows.
HEY LOOKIT ALL MY NEW COOKIE FRIENDS!!!!!
That I will eat.
And the big bags are SO CUTE. It's like you're getting a gift every time.
What was in the bags, you ask?
First let's talk cookies. Here you have the 'Skinny' Cookie and the World Peace Cookie:
The Skinny Cookie: Moist, soft, flavourful and punctuated with lots of dried fruit. Not overly sweet and very satisfying. This is a great snack cookie that doesn't feel heavy or cloying. Sweetened with roasted bananas! It adds a distinct 'stickiness' to cookies when you bake with bananas --and I happen to quite like it :)
Verdict: High quality cookie, wonderful flavour, easy on the belly.
The World Peace Cookie: Soft but not as 'sticky' as the Skinny. Pronounced crunch of pumpkin seeds. More of a fluffy cookie. Nice flavour -- I enjoyed the different textures. Reminds me of a fancy muffin top.
Verdict: Similar to the Skinny BUT more soft and muffin like. Great texture. Easy on the belly and taste was wholesome and deeeelicious! Loved this one A LOT!
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie: This is a very impressive cookie in terms of size and overall look. It just looks perfect. The texture is more of a crumbly cookie as opposed to a soft cookie or a chewy cookie. Lots of chocolate chips. Distinct flavour I couldn't quite identify.
Verdict: Big impressive sized cookie. Lots of chocolate chips.
Snickerdoodle: This is a gigantic, ginormous cookie. Large and in charge with a chewy delightful centre and crunchy edges. Wonderfully sweet and punctuated with bursts of cinnamon -- my taste testers all agreed this cookie CANNOT be skipped. It was amazing and definitely my personal favourite.
Verdict: Amazing cookie. Great cookie. Cinnamon. Delicious. Chewy. Oh my goodness. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!
Okay so the cookies were fantastic! Just so impressive overall.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE AWARD WINNING MILE HIGH BROWNIE?
When the lovely staff asked if I wanted the Triple Fudge Brownie or Mile High...I laughed.
MILE HIGH BABY!
Go big or go home.
In this case I did both.
Mile High Brownie: I 100% think this deserves all the hoopla.
All the hoopla and add more hoopla and it's still not enough hoopla.
Perfectly sweet, fudhey and slightly cakey. Moist and CHOCOLATEY! Covered in a sweet buttercream and topped with more brownie, caramel and ganache?
This brownie should be on your list of things to try from Kelly's. It's very rich --- just like a good brownie should be. Not cloyingly sweet. The frosting is fluffy and delicious.
Verdict: A must must try. So much chocolate. So much amazing. Soft. Fudgey. Oh yesss.
So I think the thing that grabs your attention first is the lines and lines of cupcakes.
I chose the Vanilla Bean and the S'Mores cupcakes to try.
Cupcakes: Initially when reading reviews on Kelly's I came across some cupcake-complaints.
As someone who bakes A LOT. And I mean A LOT. I am used to hearing common complaints about vegan and gluten free baked goods such as them being dry, flavourless, too dense, etc.
So I was curious to try these cupcakes -- Vegan AND gluten free? That's one tall order, folks. What provides the structure in a lot of gluten free items are things like eggs! Without them? Eeeeeepppp. Hard to pull of elegantly. Trust me. I have shed many a tear for this reason.
THESE WERE SOOOOOO DELIGHTFUL!
I felt sad to see people did not think these were AMAZING! The buttercream is soft and fluffy -- the cupcakes themselves were very, very moist and delicious.
I adored these!
I think it's worth noting you should not put these in the fridge. They do have a label on the box to remind you. Gluten free baked goods do NOT do well in the fridge. Keep it out for a day or two and then freeze it. That's just a rule in the gluten free world, and especially so for vegan goods.
Otherwise they dry out. And that will happen to anything gluten free.
Verdict: Deserves nothing but beautiful sparkling reviews. These were moist, delicious, sweet and a wonderful treat.
Can we also talk about how cute they are? Lookit that little vegan gummy bear. And those natural sprinkles???
Excuse me while I lick the frosting off of my arm....hand...hair? Hey how did you get in there!
HOW CUTE!!!!!!!! Vegan marshmallows and little chocolate chips!
I use ONLY vegan marshmallow for my baked goods and desserts.
Normal marshmallows = not halal my friends.
I have this fascination with all of the Kelly's cupcake shots (check them out on Instagram: @Kellysbake)
Here is my recreation -- please make note of my battered hands -- Sahrryyyy ;)
Here is my little set-up. My tried and true taste-testers were my mom and my oldest younger brother. And me. Of course.
It was so much fun to try all of these little goodies. I am just so impressed to see what Kelly's has accomplished, how much they have grown and how delicious all of their treats are.
I know first hand how much of a labour of love baking healthy can be. Trussstttt me. If I know anything to be true, it's that.
And boy oh boy am I relieved that there is a place so close to home that I can go and pick anything I want off the menu to try!
I think that's the most amazing thing. I have a little cousin with a peanut allergy who can only eat from Kelly's Bake Shoppe! I can't imagine having a little one to worry about -- so it is a great stress reliever for my Aunt to just take him there and he can go nuts! Er...not nuts?
I can see myself trying everything on the menu by the end of this summer.
I do bake an awful lot...so it feels like 'cheating' when I BUY baked goods for myself.
But after visiting the Bake Shoppe I realized it had been so long since I had taken any time for myself. Life has been very hectic and I am usually the last person on my list of 'people to take care of'.
It was really an eye-opener.
SOO we should totally go there all the time, okay? AND THEY HAVE COFFEE AND FANCY DAIRY FREE LATTES AND THINGS!
This is a small sample size. Just imagine -- oh the things I can try!
Should I do a follow up post? What do you guys think? What should be on my list of things to try?!
I wanted to take a quick shot of the inside of the FLUFFINESS of the S'Mores Cupcake:
Oh yeah baby.
And here I am with my goodies getting ready to head back out into the storm:
Have you tried Kelly's Bake Shoppe? Live close? Want to take me on a date there? I THOUGHT SO!
What's your favourite treat from there? Or do you have any gluten free/vegan bakeries where you are?
I WANNA KNOW!
These baked goods were provided to me by the kind people at Kelly's Bake Shoppe. All opinions and statements included in this article are my own.