This week’s weekly post is brought to you by Wednesday, because sometimes Tuesday comes and goes, and you suddenly pop up in bed at 2 in the morning and realize that you totally forgot to put up the dessert of the week!
That aside, today’s post is extra short and sweet. Literally. Imagine fluffy drop biscuit shortcakes (because I am definitely in the school of thought that believes in fluffy biscuit shortcakes and not that heretical spongecake shortcake nonsense) with copious amounts of bright and sweet macerated strawberries and clouds of whipped vanilla cream. Yum!
As I learned through some intensive Googling, basically every recipe on the internet for drop biscuits is exactly the same, which made choosing a recipe exponentially easier. And in spite of some slight hiccups concerning the exact meltiness of the butter and expired baking soda (by the way, I’m still not entirely sure how exactly sodium bicarbonate salt manages to expire, since it’s, well, a salt), at the end of the day, all was well – just be sure to keep your dough slightly chilled and your oven extra hot for maximum puffage.
Also, a quick aside on macerated strawberries: how you cut your berries and how long you allow osmosis to do its thing lets you tweak the flavor and texture of your final product. It’s really super simple – thinner slices and longer rests (1 hour or longer) lead to sweeter, squishier, more syrupy strawberries, while thick halves (which I prefer for shortcake!) and shorter rests (20-30 min – any less, and your strawberries may not macerate) lead to brighter, firmer, less syrupy strawberries. If you prefer thin slices and an extra juicy sauce but aren’t a fan of a cloyingly sweet final product, cut some sugar or add a squeeze of lemon, and vice versa for sweeter halved strawberries. You’ll notice that for my recipe, I went with thick halves and a long rest with no lemon to balance out the flavors, but macerated fruit is an art, not a science – feel free to get creative!
So if you’re as excited about strawberry season as I am, throw some strawberries in sugar, whip up some quick and easy drop biscuits, and have a gorgeous and delicious dessert on the table with maybe 20 minutes of actual work. Hope you enjoy!
P.S. I realized after the photo shoot that a drizzle of macerated strawberry syrup over the finished is not only gorgeous but gives everything that extra oomph of flavor. So go ahead and pour it on – you won’t regret it!
Makes 4 strawberry shortcakes
About 12 strawberries, halved
2 tbs granulated sugar
150 g (about 1 cup + 3 tbs) flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 tbs granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold buttermilk (or 1 tbs white vinegar + enough whole milk to bring to 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
3 tbs powdered sugar (more or less to taste, depending on the strawberries)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 whole strawberries
- Toss the strawberries in the sugar and set aside for about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450 ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Melt the butter with the sugar in the microwave until about 2/3 melted, then stir until all remaining chunks of butter disappear and all of the sugar is dissolved.
Tip: The melted butter mixture should be a little warmer than room temperature – if it is much hotter than that, allow the butter to cool slightly until it is just melted.
- Stir the butter into the buttermilk.
Tip: The butter will re-congeal when it comes into contact with the cold buttermilk. Don’t worry – just stir so that the butter lumps stay as small and soft as possible for easier mixing in the next step!
- Dump the buttermilk-butter mixture into the flour mixture and gently fold with a silicone spatula until just combined and a few small pockets of flour remain.
Tip: The dough should seem pretty solid at this point. If it looks too soupy, chill the mixture in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before proceeding.
- Using an ice cream scoop, drop 4 generous scoops of dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush a tiny bit of butter or olive oil over the tops of each biscuit. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the tops of the biscuits are a shiny golden-brown. Set aside to cool!
Tip: If the tops are still not golden enough to your liking, gently broil on high, watching the biscuits closely, until browned.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large stainless steel bowl using a hand mixer, combine the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip to firm peaks, or until the whisk can be lifted from the mixture for a distinct peak with a tip that gently curls over to form. Set aside for assembly!
- Split the biscuits in half using a sharp knife, then place the bottom half on a plate.
- Place a small layer of whipped cream in the center.
- Arrange 3 strawberry halves point-side-up along around the edge of the biscuit on top of the whipped cream, plus one in the center.
- Top with even more whipped cream.
- Cap with the top half, pipe a small swirl of whipped cream (or drop a small dollop with your spoon) on top, then top with a whole strawberry (and copious amounts of macerated syrup!) Enjoy!