Strawberry shortcake is a summer classic. All you need are juicy, ripe strawberries, shortcakes, which are really just biscuits with a bit of sugar added to them, and whipped cream. If you decided on adding some vanilla ice cream to the mix I don’t think anyone would be mad about it. I certainly wouldn’t be. Did I mention they’re really simple to make?
It’s so simple because the strawberries are the shining star and don’t need much dressing up. If you try and make this when strawberries are out of season, even if you can find them in the grocery store, it just won’t be the same. This is a dessert that calls for strawberries ripened under the summer sun, bursting with flavor.
Do you want to know a secret? Strawberry shortcakes will reach the pinnacle of their goodness if you are able to pick the strawberries yourself! Not only will you be the one choosing the juiciest berries, but you’ll KNOW they’re as fresh as they come! Plus, you’ll taste the fruits of your own hard work and it makes it that much sweeter. Literally. I loved going strawberry picking with my mom as a kid. Strawberry season in Michigan is always in beginning to mid summer, usually end of June or early July, and we’d come home with baskets full. Then I’d help my mom hull and slice them, keeping some for eating, some for making strawberry shortcake and other desserts, and some for freezing and making jam.
Eat strawberry shortcake for dessert, or breakfast, snack, lunch, and dinner. I mean, biscuits and fruit sounds like a balanced and great way to start off the morning! Plus you’ll want to eat them as much as you can while the strawberry season lasts. A great thing about these is that you can add as little or as much sugar as you want! See notes at bottom of recipe for some ideas.
Recipe from my mama with tweaks from moi.
For the Macerated Strawberries
4-5 cups strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
3-4 Tbsp / 35-50g sugar or to taste
For the Shortcakes
2 cups / 240g all-purpose flour
1/4 cup / 50g sugar
4 tsp / 19g baking powder
1/2 tsp / 2g salt
1/2 cup / 113g cold butter or scant 1/2 cup / 100g oil
2/3 cup / 158g cold milk or buttermilk
For the Whipped Cream
1 cup / 237g heavy whipping cream
3-4 Tbsp / 35-50g sugar or to taste
1 tsp / 4g vanilla extract
Oven 450°F / 232°C. Have ready an ungreased baking sheet.
Make the Macerated Strawberries
Place strawberries in a bowl, add sugar, and mash them a bit or a lot, as desired, with a fork or masher. Place in fridge while you prepare the shortcakes.
Make the Shortcakes
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Cut in butter or oil until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in milk. Mix just until most of the flour is moistened, then turn mixture out onto a floured surface.
Knead lightly, up to 10-12 times, until you have a soft but not too sticky dough. Don’t overwork or biscuits will be tough.
Gently pat dough out into a circle about 1in / 2.5cm thick, checking to make sure underneath is still floured well and the dough isn’t sticking.
Using a biscuit cutter or a round glass 2-3in / 5-7cm in diameter, cut out as many biscuits as you can. Place biscuits on baking sheet. Collect the dough scraps and reshape into a ball. Repeat patting into a circle and slicing biscuits until dough is used up. You’ll probably only repeat the cutting process 2-3 times at most, depending on the size of your biscuit cutter.
Bake biscuits in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until risen and lightly golden brown.
Make the Whipped Cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
Add the sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
Slice your biscuits open and spoon over strawberries and whipped cream!
The sugar mixed in with the strawberries is traditional but not absolutely necessary. Although it helps soften the strawberries to lose their juice and create more of a soft sauce, I like it also without adding any sugar, because everything else in this recipe is already a bit sweet. On the other hand, if you love sweet strawberry shortcakes, feel free to up the sugar, it’s completely up to your taste!
The biscuit dough might seem too soft at first, but the moment the baking powder starts working and it hits the floured surface it should become very workable. Just be careful not to over work it, a little bit goes a long way.
When cutting the biscuits, cut straight down, no twisting, or this can seal the edges and prevent a good rise. You can dip the biscuit cutter in some flour to help prevent any sticking.
If you place the biscuits next to each other on the baking sheet they can help each other “climb” up and achieve a nicer rise! I know this feels counterintuitive, but give it a try!