The lazy, hazy summer holidays are gone for another year. Unfortunately, this return to routine doesn’t go as smoothly for some as it does for others, often leaving precious little time in the mornings to eat any breakfast at all, let alone a nutritious one.
Thankfully, all throughout Edmonton, there are bakeries and coffee shops dedicated to getting your morning off to a good start with their hearty offerings. From muffins to granola bars, these to-go treats might just be rays of sunshine on otherwise dreary mornings.
There’s no denying that coffee is the main attraction at Credo, and plenty of Edmontonians flock to either the 124th Street or 104th Street locations for their daily pick-me-ups. However, the cafe also serves up a hidden gem that you may have overlooked in your quest for a great cup of joe – a humble granola bar.
Credo’s granola bar is about as far from the pre-packaged, foil-wrapped concoctions associated with the name as you can get. Instead, it comes served up on a baking sheet, and the barista will cut you an incredibly generous slab fresh to order.
Credo’s granola bar isn’t reinventing the wheel. It contains simple ingredients that you’d expect to find – oats, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, raisins, chocolate – but they combine into a treat that’s so chewy and decadent, you’ll be waking up early just to grab one on your morning commute. –Adrianna Szenthe
10134 104 St., 780-761-3744, credocoffee.ca
at The Carrot
If you’re on 118th Avenue and looking for breakfast with a side of philanthropy, look no further than The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse, where the blueberry scone is enough to fill you up and get your day off to a good start.
First off, the scone is monstrous, taking up almost every inch of the plate it would be served on – if you stayed at The Carrot to eat it. But before you know it, you’ve eaten half of it, with the juicy blueberries and a brulee sugar topping keeping you coming back for another bite.
Paired with a cup of Intelligentsia coffee – the same fair-trade beans served at higher end cafes in the city – it’s a great way to start the day.
Proceeds from The Carrot support Arts on the Ave, a collective of artists living and working around 118th Avenue. The coffee shop is volunteer-run, though, so it may have to be a late breakfast, as The Carrot doesn’t open until 9 a.m. –Glenn Cook
9351 118 Ave., 780-471-1580, thecarrot.ca
Almond Spice Muffin
at Lock Stock Coffee
How can you go wrong with a coffee and a muffin? As far as breakfasts are concerned, it’s practically an office staple. The folks at Lock Stock Coffee know this well. They like to keep it simple. Sure, you can grab your artisan coffee or espresso and jet off to work, but it’s worth it to take the time to explore your breakfast options.
You’ll generally find four or five, ranging from savoury (like the ham-and-cheese tartine), to sweet (like the must-try carrot cake). Right smack-dab in the middle is where you’ll find the daily muffin. This is where simplicity shines at Lock Stock.
My favourite, the almond spice muffin, is a soft pillow of richness and complexity. It’s a bit of an enigma in that you never know which palate-pleaser will hit you first. Will it be the spice? The sprinkled sugar? Will it be that rich almond taste? The answer comes up different with every bite. –Cory Haller
10534 Jasper Ave., 780-428-0825, facebook.com/lockstockcoffee
Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffin
at Wild Earth Bakery and Cafe
If your commute to work or school takes you down 99th Street and through Mill Creek, a quick stop at Wild Earth Bakery for an apple cinnamon streusel muffin and a jolt of caffeine is well worth the time and effort.
For starters, the muffin itself is massive; the bakers here certainly don’t skimp when putting the batter into the tins, as evidenced by how much the muffin top has overflowed and expanded. Once you take a bite, though, you’ll find big chunks of tart apple – no purees or artificial flavouring. It’s a match made in heaven with the crispy cinnamon streusel topping, a nice contrast in texture to the moist, cakey interior.
If you have a bigger sweet tooth in the mornings, you could opt for the raspberry white chocolate scone, which has a nice balance between sweet and tart, and is dense and hearty enough to keep you going until lunch. –G.C.
8902 99 St., 780-425-8423, wildearthbakery.com
at Mill Creek Cafe
Many of us have had to face this choice when looking at a coffee shop’s display case full of baked goods – muffin or doughnut?
Both are perfectly acceptable coffee pairings. But, at Mill Creek Cafe, the sweet loaf offers the best of both worlds. It’s not a muffin. It’s not a doughnut. It’s somewhere in between.
The cafe, located on Whyte Avenue right where it crosses the ravine, has four different sweet-loaf varieties on display: Banana, carrot, lemon and orange-cranberry. I opt for the latter.
What’s brought to my table looks like a miniature loaf, as if a muffin was shoved through a rectangular press. There is a light coating of sugary frosting – hey, I’m not here to count calories for you. The inside is dense, like a cake doughnut. It’s packed with fruit pieces, like you’d find in a muffin.
The server tells me her favourite variety is banana. Too bad I’ve already taken down the orange-cranberry loaf and I’m too full to take on another. –Steven Sandor
9562 82 Ave., 780-439-5535, millcreekcafe.ca