Strawberry picking season has just about come to an end. And, while the central Ohio strawberry crop suffered some ill effects from an over-abundance of rain, the berries were still just as sweet and juicy as ever. My busy kids' schedule prevented me from having the time to pick berries to make jam this year. For that, I am ever so regretful. I will be even more so this winter when there is snow on the ground and I am craving homemade preserves and the convenience to simply pluck a jar from my freezer. All of summer's bounty is not lost, though, as I'll be sure to find (make) the time when the blackberries and red raspberries come around.
This recipe for Strawberry Shortcake is one that I found in an issue of Family Fun magazine many moons ago. I love their featured column on cooking because my kids like to help out in the kitchen and the recipes featured are ones that are easy for the kids to help with.
Here's What You Need:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Here's What You Do:
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set the pan aside.
Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg into a large bowl. Take a whisk and stir around the dry ingredients. This just loosens up the flour and gets all the seasoning and leavening agents evenly distributed. Scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients and use a pastry blender or your fingers to work in the butter until it has a consistency of fine bread crumbs.
Whisk the egg in a medium bowl and add the milk, sour cream, and vanilla. Whisk well and then set aside a couple of Tablespoons of this mixture for later.
Make a well (that's a kitchen term for "digging" a hole) in the dry ingredients and pour the remaining egg mixture into it.
Stir briskly with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls together. Work quickly. If you over-mix the dough, it will be tough. There's a reason people say, "Tough cookies!" to someone when something didn't go their way. No one likes tough cookies...or tough shortcake, for that matter!
Allow the dough to rest for 3 minutes or so. Now you are ready to form the shortcakes. You can either flour your hands and gently shape the dough into 8 rough balls of dough. Or you can use an ice cream scoop and do it that way. That's how I make my shortcakes. The less you handle the dough, the better. It's less messy that way too.
Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the tops of each shortcake with the reserved egg mixture.
Next, sprinkle some sugar on top. If you happen to have some sanding sugar, I would use that. I don't, so I didn't. It makes the shortcakes look prettier though.
Bake the shortcakes for about 18-20 minutes or until they're golden brown. Allow them to cool on a rack.
Break up a shortcake biscuit into a small serving bowl and top with some fresh, sliced strawberries. Some people like to sprinkle some sugar on their berries first, but I like them naturally sweet. A little whipped cream makes a nice finish, or if you're like my husband and my father, you might enjoy pouring some milk over it.
This recipe makes enough for my family of five to enjoy on two different occasions. I just freeze what we don't eat the first go around and save them for another time when I have some fresh fruit in the house. Technically, you don't have to serve just strawberries on top of these sweet biscuits. Why I have never heard of someone eating raspberry shortcake is a mystery to me. Raspberries and peaches all would equally taste delicious served over these shortcakes. Maybe I'll start a new revolution this summer. Call it the Shortcake Revolution or something.