Do you remember Oprah’s Debt Diet? A few years ago, she invited a several financial experts to her show to provide helpful advice on how to get out of debt and regain a financial control. The advice were mostly common sense (figure out how much debt you have, track your spending, etc.) but one thing that resonated with me was David Bach’s Latte Factor, a “simple concept that can add up to big savings.” The worksheet allowed people to realize that a small purchase, like a daily cup of Joe, can eventually add up to a large sum over time.
I remember doing a calculation of my own Starbucks spending and I recall my jaw dropping in shock. I used to stop by the popular coffee shop on my way to work almost daily, picking up my usual Venti Soy Misto and, on occasion, a delicious Maple Oat Nut Scone. When I did the calculation, I realized that, with $3.00 (for the drink) and $3.00 (for scone), I was spending about $6 a day, and more than $1,500 a year … on liquid! 😯
I stopped buying Starbucks right around that time, and started bringing tea bags to work. I must admit that I don’t miss coffee much but I do miss the feeling, or what the Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz calls “romance” once in a while. There’s something very special and therapeutic about sitting in a coffee shop to relax and just people watch over a hot drink.
I was particularly craving scones and a freshly-brewed coffee this morning but since I’m committed to dining at home all this month, I decided to take a few minutes before work to whip up the buttery Scottish quick bread dough at home in time for an afternoon snack, instead of rushing to my old java stomping ground. I’m so thankful that I get to work most days from home, where I can do something like this. I’m truly a lucky girl.
I turned to my trusted Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook for the recipe. I was a little limited on what I had in the refrigerator so I had to improvise at bit and substitute some things, like using non-fat milk instead of heavy cream, and swopping granulated sugar with evaporated cane sugar. I selected Chocolate Scones recipe but omitted the Dutch cocoa power because I wasn’t in the mood for a super chocolate-y dessert.
A quick note here: The instruction in the book says to use a pastry blender to “cut the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining.” Since I didn’t have a pastry blender, I decided to roll up my sleeves and mix (or more like squish) the dough by hands. And it was FUN! You have to do it fairly quickly because you don’t want the butter to melt but aside from having buttery fingers, the process was very painless. So don’t let not owning a pastry blender stop you from making scones at home!
The result — a super duper satisfying afternoon treat! I’m happy to report that the substitutions that I made didn’t interfere with the result. And it cost close to nothing since I used all the ingredients that I already had in my fridge and pantry! I love that this recipe allows me to freeze the dough, which means that I can enjoy these lovely scones whenever I want. All I need to do is take them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven whenever I get the craving! According to the recipe, the dough can be frozen for up to 3 weeks.
With a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee made from an old-fashion French press (sorry for cheating, Starbucks), this is a perfect afternoon snack. Who says you have to eat scones for breakfast only?