I live in the West End, and I have walked past Forage a tonne of times. I even tried to eat there once or twice, but I ended up there at times when they were closed. I was really happy to finally make it there for brunch a couple of weeks ago with my new foodie blogger pal, Emily of The Fat Pigs. You can read Em’s post about our brunch experience here, and you can read mine here.
Now, the meal began with the most amazing scones. They were served warm, and the texture was perfect: a little crisp on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. They came with butter and homemade jams. Em and I both agreed that we could have happily ended our brunch there, with a coffee and a scone, they were that good.
Well, I screwed up my courage and asked the chef for the recipe, fully expecting him to say no. But glory be! Chef Whittaker was in a sharing mood, and I tested the recipe last weekend. It’s good. Really good. I have to say this, though: these are best enjoyed hot and fresh out of the oven. They’re not quite as good the next day, or re-heated.
Invite some people over and make up a batch. I busted out my homemade jams to serve with these. The Apricot/Peach/Rosemary in particular went well, as well as some lovely tea-infused apple butter gifted to me by Kim Plumley.
(recipe courtesy of Chef Whittaker from Forage–if you want to taste his, go for brunch)
3.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter (cubed into 1/2 inch pieces)
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
2 whole eggs
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots, but you can use whatever you like: cheese, dried fruit, etc.
Measure all dry ingredients together and cut butter into dry mixture with pastry cutter (I did this in my food processor).
Mix milk and egg and apricots together and slowly combine with dry ingredients. It is very important not to over mix. The batter does not need to be fully incorporated and smooth. It should look crumbly and just have come together. At this point, I dumped it out of the food processor and onto my countertop and kneaded it a little until it all came together.
Roll dough 3/4 inch thick and cut into squares or circles, whatever shape you desire.
Scramble an egg and brush on each of the scones.
In a preheated 350 degree oven, bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Serve warm.
Given my not-so-secret coffee addiction, and the fact that I am running a business and raising a boy on little sleep, its probably safe to say, we spend some time at Starbucks. I don’t always feel good about it–I do prefer to support local, small, family-run businesses if possible, but dang! those things are on every street corner in Vancouver, and they are convenient. So, yes, we sometimes end up at Starbucks. Coffee for me, milk for the sprout, and usually, a Petite Vanilla Bean Scone, which he loves.
I recently discovered something called Vanilla Bean Paste. Now, a couple years back, I made the switch from artificial vanilla to the real stuff, and there’s no going back (also, thanks to Costco, it’s totally affordable). However, there are certain recipes where you want to see the little black flecks of vanilla beans. Ice Cream, for example. Or creme brulee. Vanilla Bean Paste gives you all that, without the work of having to cut and scrape the vanilla bean. Vanilla Bean Paste is basically a thick syrup that acts as a host for all those tiny, delicious, bursting-with-flavor vanilla beans. Here in Vancouver, I got mine at The Gourmet Warehouse, for about $7.
I’ve been using it in everything! But testing it on these seemed like a good place to start. Michael, by the way, pronounced these “better than Starbucks.” Take that!
In a small bowl, combine the milk and the vinegar or lemon juice, and let sit for a couple of minutes.
In the bowl of your food processor, dump all the dry ingredients. Turn it on just for a minute, to mix.
In the bowl with the milk, add the egg, vanilla, and vanilla bean paste. Mix with a fork to beat up and incorporate the egg.
With the motor running, add the chunks of butter one at a time. The end result will be pea-sized chunks.
Still with the motor running, slowly add the milk/egg/vanilla mixture until it forms a solid ball.
Remove from the food processor to a well-floured workspace, and knead. You’ll know the scones are the right consistency if they are still a little wet, but not so tacky that they stick to your hands. Add more flour and knead in by hand if needed.
Roll out into a large rectangle, and either use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut out rounds, or use a pizza cutter to make squares or triangles.
Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake at 400 for 14-20 minutes, depending on the size of your scones. I made mine smaller, so a shorter baking time was in order.
Once cooled, mix up all the ingredients for the glaze in a shallow bowl. Pick up the scones by their bottoms, and dip their tops into the glaze, then place on a wire rack overtop of a cookie sheet to catch the drips.