Dark Chocolate and Coconut Scones

6 Dec

The first time I met Aviv Fried of Sidewalk Citizen Bakery was at a special breakfast hosted by Chefs Connie de Sousa and John Jackson at Charcut Roast House, in Calgary. We sat down to an incredible spread starring Connie and John’s frittata with house-cured sausage; their handmade goat cheese and condiments; and Aviv’s artisanal breads and his sweet-pear and savory-cheese-and-spice scones.

Even after going nuts on all the other goodies, I popped back three scones–two and a half more than my belly had room for–and contemplated stuffing my pockets with the remaining few. On a bread-basket high, I begged Aviv to let me join him in his kitchen the next morning before my plane left. We made a date for 6 a.m.

After breakfast, the day continued with a tour of Calgary’s Farmers Market led by Connie and John. These are Connie’s gorgeous winter boots. I would follow them anywhere.

Day turned into night, and we had dinner at UNA Pizza and Wine Bar, an excellent California-inspired pizza + Mediterranean small plates restaurant. One thing that became apparent to me on this trip was that there’s a lot more to Calgary’s food scene today than cowboy grub–not that the ribs and beans there are anything to be scoffed at.
It was 5:00 a.m when my alarm went off the next morning.
It hurt.
But I dragged myself out of bed and taxied over to the industrial wilderness of Calgary’s outskirts, where Aviv was already slaving over a hot bread oven.
So this is Aviv in person.  Looks like a nice guy, huh? Actually, he’s a really, really nice guy. And modest too. As we kneaded dough and “tested” the wares, his girlfriend, Michal, told me the full story behind Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, sharing essential details Aviv never mentioned when he and I met first time round. Turns out it all began with Aviv wanting to raise $2,500–as a grad student–to fund a library for kids in Africa.
He started making bread–by hand–and selling the loaves to friends, delivering them on his bike every Monday, still toasty warm, then donating 100 percent of the proceeds to a charity called CODE, which supports literacy in developing countries.

In the process, he discovered that he enjoyed chatting to his neighbours, engaging with street life and helping build community in an otherwise oil-centric boom town. On graduating, he had a lucrative job in finance lined up, but the whole baking experience made him realize his happy place would never be a strip-lit cubicle. So he travelled to Nepal–perfecting his sourdough at a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas–then took an apprenticeship with a master baker in Paris, before returning to Calgary and setting up his full-time business.

Aviv still donates a portion of the profits to CODE, and as well as continuing the Monday deliveries, he now supplies coffee shops and restaurants across the city with his Red Fife flour organic loaves and his delicious scones, of which he has dreamt up 55 savoury and 90 sweet flavours to date. His favourite? Lavender honey. No wait… peach and anise. No! Apple and lemongrass.

The recipe Aviv decided to share was for dark chocolate and coconut scones. They come out soft, moist and airy with a golden crust. The chewy strands of coconut and the rich, molten dark chocolate pieces give these angelic little cakes just the right amount of attitude.

Dark Chocolate and Coconut Scones
(Yields 4 large scones)

1/2 cup butter
1 cup organic flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 pinch baking soda
1 pinch fleur de sel (or regular salt if unavailable)
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

1. Cut butter into pea-sized pieces.

2. On work surface, mix flour, baking powder and baking soda, butter and sugar with hands.

3.  Mix in chocolate chips and coconut flakes.

4. Place dough in bowl, add sour cream and whipping cream. Mix with spoon just enough to create a gooey mix. If the batter is too wet, add a little more flour. Tip: make sure there’s some dry flour left on the bottom of the mixing bowl and add a little extra cream right at the end for lighter, airier scones.

5. Form four fist-sized balls of dough (don’t pack them too hard) and place on lightly greased baking tray.

6. Bake in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until bottoms are pale, golden brown. Cool on rack.


One Response to “Dark Chocolate and Coconut Scones”

  1. social workers December 30th, 2010 at 9:42 PM #

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

Leave a Reply