Thursday, April 15, 2010

Strawberry Shortcakes

I couldn't believe I had never made shortcakes. 
It is possible that I had utilized the convenient "baking mix" (aka Bisquick) for this task, but even that is uncertain. 
The idea came for me in rapid succession. 
First, we were having two of our favorite friends over for dinner--Nick and Britt. 
After finally deciding on tacos for the main course, I wanted a lovely early summer dessert to top off our meal.
I had just finished making a batch of strawberry freezer jam when it occurred to me--
Strawberry Shortcakes. 
I had 2 pounds of strawberries leftover that needed to be used or else they would soon meet their demise. 
I wasn't sure if the berries would be good enough for this delightful dessert, but it turns out that adding sugar to the sliced berries yields pure strawberry perfection. 

The shortcake itself was so easy to throw together. 
One of the most low-maintenance desserts out there, I do believe. 
You can make these into "drop shortcakes" as well, but I liked the clean crisp lines that result from slicing the large cake. 
With an abundance of strawberries on sale in the grocery stores this week, I would definitely recommend this recipe for using the berries to their full potential. 

After one bite, you'll say, "MMmmmm!" 
Just like I may have in front of my company. :)

Serves 6-8
Recipe adapted from The Betty Crocker Cookbook.

2 pints strawberries (4 cups), sliced
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup firm butter or margarine
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
Sweetened Whipped Cream

In large bowl, stir strawberries and 1/2 cup sugar until well mixed. Let stand about 1 hour so strawberries can develop their juices.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of a 8 inch or 9 inch round pan; flour lightly.

In medium bowl, mix flour 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in milk and egg just until blended. Mixture will be extremely thick. Spoon into pan; spread evenly.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool ten minutes in pan. Place serving plate upside down on pan; turn plate and pan over and remove pan. (I ended up flipping my shortcake back over (as it was originally in the pan) simply because it looked prettier.) Cut shortcake into wedges (6-8). If desired, split shortcakes horizontally in half while hot. Fill and top each wedge with strawberries and Sweetened Whipped Cream.

for Sweetened Whipped Cream
Note: Always start with cream right from the fridge, and if possible chill your bowl and beaters in the freezer for 10 minutes until cold to the touch. Recipe may be halved.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp granulated or powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In chilled medium bowl, beat all ingredients with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. 

Prepare for deliciousness.

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