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Cookbook Collective / Karen Kong

Cookbook Collective / Karen Kong

Karen moved to Calgary when she was young and dove into the industry as soon as she was legal to work! She practiced french baking techniques during her restaurant days under European chefs and infused Canadian and Asian flavours into her baking. Karen is currently playing with different types of flour to create different texture for croissants!
Karen is the talent behind the company Butter Block & Co. If you've ever visited our cafes, you'll recognize her handiwork inside of our pastry cases. She is always experimenting with new and unique flavour combinations but really knows how to nail a classic, like her infamous almond croissants *drool*. Now that we have opened the doors for take out service, make sure to grab a pastry when you stop by for your daily coffee fix. But, if you're still staying indoors, take a break from sourdough and make these scones! 
We asked Karen some questions, and here is what she had to say: 
What are you inspired by?

I am inspired by stories of individuals tackling their challenges and how they have overcome their own fears and come out stronger than ever. I have heard Nicholas James Vujicic’s motivational speech, an amputee who learnt how to eat on his own and finish his university degree. It is moving and it pushes me to work harder on a daily basis. Since Butterblock, I have encountered many other  business owners and have learnt so much from how they are balancing their work and family life, how to face the downfall of our economy and also how to be stronger by simply asking for help from others. I am inspired everyday by the people I meet.

Who in the industry do you admire, and why? 

Leah Gamache, my ex-Pastry Chef from Teatro Restaurant Group. No matter how many wedding cakes, breads, or muffins was on our to-do list, she kept it organized and she was always so calm no matter what the circumstances were. We could be multi-tasking 7-9 different tasks together, keeping busy while chatting about which trail to hike on our next day off. She had an extremely high standards and a strong passion towards plated desserts. If there were 10 components on one plate, and she would ensure all of them serve their purpose and have a reason for being there. This is also reflected in the way she works as well, by letting her bakers shine in their work, it gives them a purpose and reason to be here. 

What does community mean to you? 

A group of people who are willing to share good food and drinks together! I have always loved the expression: a tiny rock can be washed away in the river, but when all the tiny rocks are gathered, they can stop the river flow! It’s the most powerful when you feel weak and just need a reminder that strong community can help you accomplish anything.

 What is your coffee order? 

Traditional cappuccino with whole milk.

What is your favourite cuisine, meal or snack? 

My mother-in-law’s home made Bun Rieu. It’s a Vietnamese noodle soup bowl. The soup base is made from large amounts of tomatoes and pork bones, then paired with rice noodles, crab and pork meat balls, and tofu then topped with cilantro. SO GOOD.

What is your favourite ingredient to cook with? 

Eggs! I love scramble eggs with salt, pepper, and a splash of milk served runny but smooth for breakfast. I love a soft poached egg on my toasts or a hardboiled egg added into my tuna salad. And with baking, it amazes me what egg whites can hold and how powerful the yolks can taste in a cake. Nothing can replace an egg. 

 What is the inspiration behind this recipe? 

The first scone that blew my mind was a plain butter scone from Betty’s in York, UK. It is the first time I could see layers on the edges, it was light and fluffy and it melted in my mouth! It was unusual, for me anyway, to enjoy something so plain yet so addicting. Bringing this experience back to Calgary was hard, because we are so used to seeing blueberry lemon scones, chocolate banana muffins and lemon poppy seed raspberry loaves; everything was complimented with another ingredient. And so, I wanted to create a scone that would be versatile and addicting by changing up its flavour to let different people try it according to their flavour profile. This recipe allows us to change things up or to enjoy it plain on its own! 

         

(Eggless Scones) 

 

Fruit & Nut Scones

Equipment: 

  • Measuring spoons & cups
  • Mixing bowl
  • Metal scraper
  • Baking pan
  • Parchment paper (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup butter (cold) 
  • 1 3/4 cup - 2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup frozen fruit 
  • 1/3 cup nuts
  • 1/3 cup chocolate pieces 

Method: 

  1. Mix all dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
  3. Use the metal scraper to cut the cold butter in slices, the thinner the slices, the easier the next step will be. Toss the butter in the dry ingredients as you cut and coat all the butter until the cup of butter is done. 
  4. Measure out the cream in a cup.
  5. Use your hands to break the butter up until they are about the size of a pea, add in fruits, nuts and chocolate then create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. 
  6. Pour 2/3 of your cream into the well and slowly fold in the dry ingredients with your hand. When it’s halfway mixed in, add in the rest of the cream until it becomes one dough.
  7. Clean your working station, push the dough to form a rectangle, 7.5’’ x 8’’, cut them out 2.5’’ wide x 2.5’’ long. You should now end up with 12 squares cut out.
  8. Bake them at 375F for 15-18mins. 

You can find Karen at: 

@butterblockyyc

www.butterblockyyc.com