We did a bit of traveling in 2014 and I haven’t gotten around to sharing many of our adventures. In August, we were back in the US and Canada for several weeks, traveling to see our friends and family. Our travels in Canada took us to Montreal, and then cross-country to Vancouver, BC—one of my all time favorite cities in the world.
What’s not to love about a city with the ocean, the mountains, and really great (Asian!) food? In just 6 short days, we hit many of the major Vancouver sites including a hike around Stanley Park, lunch at the Granville Island public market, the Grouse Grind (yes, we HIKED it), an unforgettable dinner at Minami Yaletown, and high tea at the Fairmont.
Do you see that aburi? I mean, I’d move to Vancouver to eat this every day. Despite the fact that the sushi and aburi at Minami was mind blowing, this is a post about scones, so it’s time to move on to our high tea experience.
The high tea at the Fairmont Vancouver was a gluttonous afternoon of tea, champagne, tea sandwiches, scones, cookies, pastries, and dessert. The tea was served at the rooftop restaurant with a beautiful view overlooking the city. At $50 a person to start (we paid a little more for Champagne and Cognac) it’s a little splurge, but totally worth it. I loved the little finger sandwiches, each one delighting me more than the last. We tried to pick our favorites, but it was nearly impossible. Aside from the sandwiches, Omar’s favorite, predictably, were the scones. This man loves scones. He swallowed the butter scone and the orange-apricot scone in a hot second. I swear, he must have British blood in him.
Given my husband’s love of scones, he made a (not-so) subtle request for scones the other day and I happily complied. I’ve tried several recipes for scones in the past, but this time I hit on a real winner. This recipe is just a classic scone, no fruit or fancy aromatics. In fact, it’s so simple, I was a little skeptical. But, as soon as they were in the oven for a few minutes, these little guys warmed the house with a sweet, vanilla aroma and the two of us were standing at the oven door, peering in with our little flash light, waiting for the timer to go off. Once out of the oven, these little guys didn’t disappoint. Buttery, and just barely on the sweet side, I made these with skim milk(!). Omar had two before I even had time to break out the jam!
- ¾ cup milk
- juice of ½ a fresh lemon
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 350g flour, preferably, self rising but I used cake flour, since that’s what I had
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 85g (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and cold
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 egg, optional
- Pre-heat oven to 390F or 200C.
- In a mug, microwave the milk for 20-30 seconds until the milk is warm but not hot.
- Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the vanilla to the warm milk, then set aside. The milk might look like its curdling, that’s ok.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking power.
- Add the butter and cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles course crumbs, then mix in the sugar.
- Make a well in the flour mixture, give the milk a slight stir, then pour the milk into the well of dry ingredients.
- Stir in the liquid with a butter knife, going in circles around the well until the dried ingredients are mixed into the liquid. The batter will be clumpy and gooey.
- Sprinkle a clean surface with some flour, then turn the dough onto the counter and knead the dough gently 4-5 times until the dough is less gooey and smoother.
- Pat the dough to about 1.5 to 2 inches deep.
- Cut the dough with a cookie cutter of your desired size – a 2-1/2 inch diameter works well here.
- Place the scones unto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Fold and gently re-shape the dough to cut out a few more scones.
- At this point, you can brush the tops of the scones with a lightly beaten egg, if desired. This will give you a shinier, golden top to the scone.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden.
- You can freeze the cooled scones for up to 2 weeks in your freezer, and toasting them to rewarm when you are ready.