Strawberries have been really delicious this season! So bright, sweet, and juicy. While we love to eat strawberries by themselves, I have been looking for recipes to utilize them as well.
I don't normally like strawberry shortcake, as the shortcake I have had has been dry and biscuit-like. The shortcakes in this recipe changed my opinion! They are soft, buttery, not-too-sweet, but sweet enough. They are the perfect combination of a biscuit and a sugar cookie. I could eat them by themselves, but they are extra-delicious when topped with piles of whipped cream and strawberries.
Create the Juicy Strawberries
There are three steps to this recipe: The strawberries, the whipped cream, and the shortbread. We will start with the strawberries, to give them time to macerate. Cut them, toss them in some sugar, and let them hang out in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This allows the sugar to draw out the juices of the strawberries, and you end up with sweet strawberries swimming in a luscious juice. If you are making this for an event, each step can be done a day in advance, which I love as it keeps the hours leading up to the event less stressful!
Whipping the Cream
There is a secret for getting your whipping cream to transform into beautifully textured whipped cream, with the most volume. It's keeping your whipped cream cold as you whisk it! In addition to ensuring your whipping cream is used straight from the refrigerator, it is helpful to also chill your bowl and whisk. I put mine in the freezer for 5 minutes, and sometimes start it chilling in the morning if I think of it.
If I am feeling particularly fancy I will go buy some vanilla syrup from Starbucks and make the whipped cream using my whipped cream dispenser. If you want to do this, just go to Starbucks and order 8 pumps of vanilla syrup in a short cup. They may look at you a little funny and ask you if you wanted a shot of espresso with it. Reply, "Nope, just the syrup!" and everything will be just fine. Then once you are back home, pour the syrup into the bottom of your whipped cream dispenser, add in 16 oz of heavy cream, and put the lid on it. Swirl it around to mix the syrup in, then charge it with your N2O cartridge. Lay it on its side for a minute, then shake it really well and it is ready to use! You can make really gorgeous strawberry shortcake using this tool!
The Perfect Shortcake
The ingredients are simple, but this shortcake can come out differently depending on small changes to the ingredients and processes. A few keys are to keep your dairy ingredients cold, use fresh baking powder, and don't overmix. Begin by mixing the dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter. I like to grate my butter with a food processor and then freeze it, so it is really cold but still cuts into the dry ingredients well. After you have added in the heavy cream the dough will still be crumbly and you may wonder if you have messed up. Don't worry! Just turn the dough, crumbs and all, onto a floured surface and push together to form a ball. If you need to drizzle a little more heavy cream to get things to stick together that is okay, but once you start kneading it everything should come together.
Roll the dough out to ½-inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out shortcakes and place onto a baking sheet, with shortcakes touching each other. This allows the shortcakes to support each other as they rise, resulting in nice, tall shortcakes. Brush with a little more heavy cream and sprinkle some coarse sugar over the top, then bake until they are golden.
Once they have cooled for about 10 minutes, slice them in half horizontally and pile them up with strawberry-whipped cream goodness! Once you have tasted it, let me know what you think!
Strawberry Shortcake was the dessert for our Delaware dinner which you can check out HERE!
- 2 pints ripe, well-rinsed strawberries
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 5 tsp baking powder
- ¾ cups cold butter, sliced thinly or grated
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream, plus 2T to brush on top
- Hull strawberries and cut in half or quarters, depending on size. Mix with sugar and place in refrigerator while you make the shortbread. This will allow juices to develop.
- Using a whisk attachment for your hand or stand mixer, beat 1 ½ cups heavy cream on medium-high speed until it thickens. Add in sugar and vanilla, and continue beating until soft peaks form. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, or using the pulse-feature of a food processor, until coarse crumbs form.
- Add heavy cream and mix until combined. The dough will still be very crumbly. Turn onto a floured surface and pull all dough together to form a ball. Knead for one minute. Roll dough ½-inch thick and cut into 3-inch circles using a biscuit cutter or a dinner glass.
- Place onto a lined or greased baking sheet, close together where they are touching. Brush each shortcake with remaining heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before assembling.
- Slice each shortcake horizontally and layer with strawberries and whipped cream. Serve immediately.