Okay, I promise, this is my last strawberry post for a while. Peaches are now in season! I have several, very exciting recipes to share with you in the near future. I just have to take advantage of fruit whenever it is in season. As a child, I wasn’t a huge fan of strawberry shortcakes. My mom, who wasn’t a huge baker, would either buy the store bought biscuits which were always dry and crumbly and stick-in-your-thoat kind, or she would make biscuits. Those weren’t much better either, they were always not quite sweet enough and usually dry, because she always got distracted with a million other things while baking. (A mother of four, a nurse practitioner, on a farm with many animals and large gardens- do you blame her for getting distracted!?) So, needless to say, I wasn’t a fan. I usually would eat the strawberries and whipped cream and maybe take a few nibbles of the biscuit.
As an adult, my experiences have been much better. The more I bake, the better I can understand a recipe to know if it’s going to be decent or not. (At least I like to think so-ha!) I have made several different shortcake recipes that really haven’t made me jump for joy. So, when I saw Annie’s recipe for chocolate shortcake, I couldn’t believe how genius it was! One of those moments where the lightbulb comes on. I made the whole batch, then froze what we didn’t use to have for future desserts. These were rich, chocolatey, moist and perfectly sweetened. Just the way the ideal shortcake should be.
For the shortcakes
- 1 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 Tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 Tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the strawberries
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 3-4 Tablespoons sugar
- lemon juice
For the whipped cream
- 1 cup heavy cream, cold
- 2-3 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- dash of vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, vanilla and egg. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/2 cup of sugar together. Add in the butter and toss to coat the butter in the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two knives, until the pieces of butter are no larger than small peas. Mix in the chopped chocolate and stir to combine.
- Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and stir gently until a sticky dough forms. Very gently knead the dough just until most of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
- Scoop the dough in about 1/3 cup mounds onto the baking sheets, leaving a few inches in between. Gently pat the mounds to about 1-inch thickness. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the shortcakes are puff and give just slightly when lightly pressed, about 15-18 minutes total. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- To make the strawberries, combine the berries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Toss well to coat the berries with the sugar and let macerate at least 30-60 minutes. If desired, mash lightly with a fork.
- Just before serving, make the whipped cream. Place the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until medium-stiff peaks form, being careful not to over beat.
- To serve, split each shortcake horizontally. Top the bottom half of each shortcake with a dollop of whipped cream, spoon some of the berry mixture over the top, and replace the top half of the shortcake. Serve immediately.