Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

For Valentine's, we made heart-shaped  shortcakes. 
T and I are big fans of strawberry shortcake. It's easy to make and a great dessert for kids as they can assemble their bowls themselves. The first baking T did, as a toddler, was biscuits. I'd put a big beach towel on the floor, set him and the bowl of flour on the towel and let him cut the butter into the flour. Messy but fun. At fourteen, he is still a fan of making biscuits. We like shortcakes with all kinds of fruit - peaches, blueberries, or red raspberries can all be substituted for the strawberries. 

Strawberry Shortcakes

For the strawberries:
1 quart strawberries, as ripe as you can get, hulled and quartered
1 Tablespoon sugar
Mix the strawberries and sugar together in a bowl and set aside to let the berries macerate. Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar depending on your taste and the sweetness of the berries. 

For the biscuits (adapted from Betty Crocker's iconic recipe here)
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cold
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450 F. Combine the first four ingredients in a big bowl and mix well. Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter (example here) or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is worked in fairly well and the butter is no larger than a small pea. Add the milk and mix it in with a wooden spoon just until dough forms. If you add too much milk, the dough will be really sticky, so go easy on it. Once the dough comes together, dump it out onto a floured surface and knead it together a few times. Then roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thick and cut into shapes for baking. Place on a cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. [Feel free to adjust the sugar in this recipe as well, we like ours a little less sweet so we only use a 1/2 Tablespoon of sugar.]

For the whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream, cold
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk or beat together all ingredients until soft peaks form. Or use your favorite store bought whipped cream (my nephews love Reddi-Whip).

Assemble the shortcakes by splitting a biscuit in half (or breaking it into pieces), covering it with strawberries and then heaping whipped cream on top.

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