Chorney-Booth: Biscettes Cookie Co. bakes nostalgia into its springtime treats

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Whether or not you celebrate Easter, the advent of spring is as good a time as any to treat yourself to something sweet. Calgary has seen several new bakeshops crop up over the last year or so. Some are the result of baking enthusiasts taking a pandemic-era “life’s too short” attitude by shifting into a job that lets them exercise their passion for batter and dough, while others are expansions of existing bakeries, with proprietors more than happy to serve a growing population looking to find moments of joy in a cream puff or slice of cake.

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Biscettes Cookie Co., a new bakery from local baking phenom Deidre Lotecki, grew from the latter scenario. Lotecki is also the force behind Sweet Relief Pastries, a Victoria Park bakery specializing in custom cakes and other delights, which opened its storefront in 2016. Despite her sunny demeanour, Lotecki is a very serious baker with some real chops: she’s studied at the Culinary Institute of America and has worked at the Banff Springs Hotel. While working as the executive pastry chef at Deville Coffee, she started making custom cakes as a side gig, eventually taking the plunge and becoming a full-time entrepreneur. Along with building a bakery, she’s built a loyal following with treats like sugar cookies, macarons, and those beautiful cakes, and needed some more room to work her magic.

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From left, Meaghan Kirby, Lucianna Dykstra, and owner Deidre Lotecki of the new Biscettes Cookie Co. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

Lotecki found a space just off 17th Avenue that was just right for an expansion – as the former Pudding Yarn shop it needed a kitchen built, but that meant she could install specialized equipment to meet her needs. The kitchen is the headquarters for all of Sweet Relief’s cookie dough, taking some of the pressure off the main bakery, while also allowing Lotecki to expand to a line of cookies exclusive to the new location. To differentiate the two shops, she called it Biscettes, inventing a new word that sounds delicious and looks quite enticing when spelled out in a fancy typeface.

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Biscettes Cookie Co. will create special cookies for the Easter holiday. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

Biscettes serves a practical purpose in Lotecki’s business because it frees up space and labour in the Sweet Relief kitchen but it also gives her space to play with bold and fun flavours on the most approachable of canvases. Cookies – at least partially thanks to American chains like Crumbl (which landed in Calgary earlier this year) and New York City’s Milk Bar – are hot right now, with people gravitating towards big pillowy cookies packed with chips, nuts, and other goodies, then topped with a swirl of icing, jam, or caramel.

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A cookie gets a dipping treatment at Biscettes Cookie Co. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

Biscettes’ cookies definitely fall into the current trend, but cool or not, they’re undeniably delicious. Each cookie is big enough to feel like an indulgence, but not so big that most adult or hungry children couldn’t finish one in a single sitting. The bakery offers 12 different flavours at any given time, with standbys like chocolate chip, red velvet, and birthday cake cookies, at least one vegan option and seasonal specials. For Easter, Lotecki has come up with a cookie version of the Easter cream egg as well as Mini-Eggs cookies. She loves the sense of glee these nostalgic nods bring to customers.

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“People love a cookie,” Lotecki says. “They’re delicious and just always make you feel cozy and happy about things. You always feel good when you’re eating a cookie. It’s an everyday luxury.”

Biscettes cookies sell for $5 each or $24 for a pack of six. The bakery is located at 1516 6th St. S.W. and can be contacted at 403-454-6200 or through biscettes.com. The shop is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (5 p.m. on Sundays) and the cookies are always baked fresh.

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There are revolving flavours at Biscettes but old favourites like red velvet and chocolate chip can always be had. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

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Congratulations to Calgary Momo House, which opened its second location last week. The original restaurant, located just east of the airport, opened in the fall of 2021 and was an instant success. Part of the initial team has left to branch off and open the also excellent Aama Nepalese in Cochrane, but the original Momo House has now expanded toward the west.

The new Calgary Momo House is at 410, 20 Crowfoot Crescent N.W., in Crowfoot Village. Run by chef Prakash Magar and Pooja Ale Magar, the new location offers the same momo dumplings and Nepalese specialties. Don’t miss out on the other Nepalese specialties including the signature sukuti sandheko (house dry-aged goat with roasted soybeans and flaked rice), Nepali thali plates, chow mein, and much more.

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Finally, if you’re looking for an excuse to get dressed up, the tickets for Deane House’s annual June fundraiser, Rosé and Croquet are on sale now. Earlybird-priced tickets for the June 20 event sold out quickly, but there are plenty of regular-priced tickets left – and it’s well worth the extra cost, especially considering the event will raise funds to support YW Calgary. The price includes food and drinks, photo booths, DJs, and a competition for the best garden party outfit. For tickets and more information, visit deanehouse.com/roseandcroquet.

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Instagram at @elizabooth or sign up for her newsletter at hungrycalgary.substack.com.

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