Budget Breakfast That Whips The Competition, Hands Down

I am kind of a fan of the most consistent drain on urban American wallets ever.  Of course I'm referring to Starbucks, the evil geniuses who suckered me in 13 years ago with the lure of their vanilla skim lattes.  You see, I was a nice, east coast girl, raised to worship at the altar of Dunkin Donuts for her caffeine needs.  I drove by Dunkin's headquarters on my way to school each day, and my small town had four separate Dunkin locations.  It was a big deal when a Honeydew shop dared open its doors.  Therefore, when I went away to college and became friends with a Seattle native, this coffee house culture she spoke of sounded so exotic.  My fellow east coasters and I decided we had to see it for ourselves, so we packed into the old car I had sweet talked onto campus and made our way to the only Starbucks in the area, which was a good 25 minutes away.  We were prickling in anticipation, as if we were half expecting to see the cast of "Friends" lounging on vintage settees when we walked through the doors.  Having been coached on the lingo, we nervously placed our orders as though we were about to be scorned by the Soup Nazi despite the fact that the barista was just another poor college kid.  After an eternity, we had our drinks in hand, and I was hooked.  We would regularly make the drive out to that random Starbucks throughout our college years, as much for the time together as for the coffee.

After graduation, we went our separate ways, and I landed in Washington, D.C. for grad school.  By this time, the Starbucks invasion had begun, and I ended up living across the street from a Starbucks, which was when they were really able to sink their claws into me.  A trip to Starbucks went from being a sweet reminder of outings with friends to a hard core habit in short order, and a very, very expensive habit at that.  As the years went on, Starbucks stores seemed to multiply like Duggars, and soon they were on -- literally -- every block.  I stopped in regularly for breakfast, always ordering a skim latte, and generally some kind of unhealthy pastry for breakfast.  I rationalized it as my treat before the grueling workday (and night) ahead, and that kind of stress and sleep deprivation makes most rationalizations seem like a stroke of genius.

However, when I quit my job last fall, thereby draaastically slashing our income, Starbucks was one of the things that immediately hit the chopping block.  We made coffee at home, even grinding and brewing Starbucks beans, but it just wasn't the same.  Then came the Christmas Miracle of 2010.  My mom was looking for gift ideas for me, and my lovely, lovely husband suggested a cappuccino machine.  He found this relatively budget machine, and it has been AWESOME.  We use Starbucks espresso and I have perfected my milk frothing technique.  It most definitely brings all the boys to the yard.  So now we buy a pound of coffee once a month or so instead of a grande latte (me) and a grande iced coffee (hubs) each day.

But something was missing; I still kind of liked the idea of a little breakfast pastry every so often.  I really love scones, but they are tough -- often too sweet, too dry, and way way way too calorie dense.  I wasn't sure I could find anything that would actually be worth the effort.  I should have known, though, that of course one of my favorite bloggers would come through for me.  These scones are so delicious and flaky, and totally unrelated to the "blueberry" flavored, dry, leaden behemoths I would normally find at Starbucks.  With just a few tweaks of the recipe and less than an hour, I have a cheaper, fresher, healthier, and WAY more delicious coffee house breakfast without traveling any further than my kitchen.  Awesome.
Here's what I did:

Ready When You Are Blueberry Scones
(Slightly Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c all purpose flour (NOT self rising)
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp baking powder (aluminum free)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 c fresh blueberries (or other fruit of your choice)
1 c buttermilk
*additional cinnamon sugar for dusting

1.)  Dice butter into small cubes and place in freezer for 15 minutes.

2.)  Preheat oven to 375°.
3.)  Combine the ingredients, other than the butter, blueberries, and buttermilk, in a food processor and pulse to blend.

4.)  Add the frozen butter cubes into the food processor and pulse again until it has a sandy texture -- this only takes a few seconds.
5.)  Transfer the mixture to a mixer and add in the fruit and buttermilk (start with a little less than a cup of buttermilk and add in the remainder if you need it).  Mix on low until just combined.

6.)  Turn the dough out onto a floured counter, and knead/pat/roll it into a 1" thick rectangle.  Try to touch it as little as possible -- the butter needs to stay cold in order for them to turn out light and flaky.  Cut the rectangle into 16 little triangles.

7.)  These scones are best at their freshest, plus they freeze really well, so I only bake one or two at a time.  The rest I put on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze them.  Once they're pretty solid, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and stick them in a freezer bag, and you'll have scones standing by whenever you need a quick hit of coffee house without dropping $5 on breakfast.

8.)  When you're ready for scones, place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, dust them with cinnamon sugar and pop them in a 375° oven for 18 minutes.  That's it!  Make yourself a latte and enjoy!

Nutrition Info (16 servings):
170 calories
9 g fat
21 g carbs
2 g dietary fiber
3 g protein


Kimmeh said...

Dude - you have actually found a way to put Starbucks out of business... I think leaving my cappucino machine behind with my sister was my hardest leave-behind. 119$? that is only like three months of coffees!! Well done.

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