I had never been there before. The class was for ages 10 and up. I was nervous the class was for children, not adults. That it might be a little basic for me. I was assured via email that it was an educational hands-on, as well as demonstrational, workshop. I also found out I would have the chance to make my own filled chocolates.
I was in!
Dickie’s Cooking School is just off Danforth near Woodbine. There are notices on the building about their after school cooking classes so I did not think it was a school that even allowed adults. I am so glad I was wrong!
I did a quick little video of the day if you want the abbreviated version of this post.
The space feels extremely welcoming as soon as you enter. There is a place to hang up your winter gear so you can go get an apron which I highly recommend.
The classroom is a long rectangle with lots of space for people to stand around the stainless steel tables and watch what is happening.
I was relieved to see that there was lots of additional seating including stools because of my pain issues due to my fibromyalgia. I have had to bring my own stool to a cooking class and it was very embarrassing. No worries here, there is lots of seating if you need to take a break.
I do not think there is anything they could do to make the space feel more homey.
It is one long hearth that I absolutely loved!
Right away we were in the thick of things! And yes, I was the only non-parent adult there but the girls were so fantastic. They were excited by everything and wanted to learn so much. Seriously, it was inspiring.
We were making caramel-filled chocolates so we of course had to make caramel! Here is the recipe compliments of Dickie’s Cooking School:
1 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup cold water
1⁄4 teaspoon of lemon juice
3⁄4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons of usalted butter 1 teaspoon of vanilla
In a deep saucepan combine sugar, lemon juice and water. Cook on medium heat until a medium amber colour (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and add whipping cream. Stir in completely and return to heat. Add butter. Continue to cook, stirring constantly to prevent sticking and when it is the thickness you want, add vanilla (or scotch or bourbon or rum).
Very different than the caramel I have made over the last few months! More on that to come…
I recently had a complete and total meltdown over my first attempt to make a molded chocolate with my own filling (more to come on that too!) so that was the main reason why I wanted to take this class.
Information of chocolate-making is extremely challenging to come by and George Brown would not let me take their class without taking their intro to baking class damn it! This way I got to have many of my questions answered and discovered what I had done wrong.
Too much filling! My filling had gone too high and compromised the seal. Also, I don’t think my chocolate had set properly like the one above. It was still glossy when I filled mine. Big mistake!
Here you can see my fellow student is doing a professional job at adding the caramel without overfilling the molds.
She was very adventurous and wanted to add salt and I was like, bring it!
She added a variety of chopped nuts to hers and mine had almonds.
We carefully covered the chocolates and put them in the fridge to set.
By the end of the class they just popped out. No problem.
Totally delicious and talk about professional-looking! I really didn’t think that chocolates in silicone molds could get that glossy but I was happy to find out I was wrong because I own a lot of them, LOL.
At some point during the vortex of learning we got to have a break!
Not just a break but they served us lunch! A delicious tomato soup with homemade crusty bread from heaven. I do not know how they did it. We still had so much to learn but there was time for a bite of something other than sugar to eat. Wonderful!
Eight years ago I made homemade strawberry marshmallows. I have not made them since. Why? They were a lot of work and the flavour was quite subtle. Also… super messy. But! I love them so I was excited that we were making them in class.
I was a little skeptical that a paddle attachment was going to get that boiling sugar and bloomed gelatin nice and thick and glossy but it did!
We made two versions.
The kids wanted vanilla and the adults wanted coffee.
Somehow in my haste to make it to a family meeting I left without my marshmallows. I was heartbroken!
I wrote the school and they said they still had them and I could swing by and pick them up. Even a day later these were unbelievably delicious. I mean it. There is no comparison between homemade marshmallows and store-bought. They are a different entity and the coffee ones? Mind-blowingly delicious. They were bold and flavourful I WILL make marshmallows again!
It blew my mind that the teacher made sponge toffee. You bring the sugar mixture up to 300F and there are kids in the class! That was seriously badass and she did a great job making sure the kids knew to stand back and watch the foodie magic happen. Seriously, is there anything more exciting than baking soda-inspired bubbling toffee? I don’t think so!
What was even better is we got to dip the toffee into the leftover melted chocolate. I mean is this my kind of place of what? No guilt. All foodie joy.
English Butter Toffee
There was a bit of a foodie malfunction with the English Butter Toffee as a result of sitting at the same temperature too long so it split. Another instructor went out to get more ingredients and I just could not believe this was all going to be done within the three-hour class.
Sure enough not only was the toffee done but it was coated with chocolate and we added nuts to our own little slice to take home with us.
That toffee was perfection. I mean it. It is not easy to make and get that crunch perfect but Dickie’s Cooking School did it. It was also nice to know that things get awry in professional kitchens too. I actually learned a lot from that happening and so much more from the class. Like I need to calibrate all my thermometers ASAP! One thermometer in the class was off by over 20 degrees!
Candy making is no joke. It is challenging to do and Dickie’s Cooking School made it easy and fun. I had a total blast. There were moments where I just sat back and watched everyone being totally absorbed in the process. Then there were times I was completely absorbed in the process and had to remind myself to get out my phone so I could take visual notes and share the photos with you.
I have taken workshops before but this was by far my most favourite on every level. The setting is perfection. I could live in that kitchen, it feels so homey and is such a smart design for teaching. The instructor was so good at keeping the kids engaged and teaching us along the way, as well as answering all my questions. Everything we ate was fantastic and it was so fun to work together in a group. The class was $65 and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I absolutely can not think of anything that could have been improved.
I give this foodie experience five out of five wooden spoons.