Fresh strawberries. iStock

According to Driscoll’s, a California company celebrating over 100 years of growing berries, “The first printed shortcake recipe appeared in an English cookbook in 1588. In the 1850s, Americans added strawberries to traditional shortcakes and celebrated the start of summer with ‘strawberry shortcake parties.’ Influenced by French chefs, whipped cream became a key ingredient in strawberry shortcake around 1910, and in the 1950s, homemakers turned to Bisquick to make easy drop style shortcakes.”

With local farm stands and markets — here and in Ireland — now brimming with the luscious, versatile, and delicious berry, you might enjoy these recipes for “classic” shortcakes and a delicious chocolate biscuit version.

CLASSIC STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

SERVES 4

My mother always called these shortcakes “cream of tartar biscuits.” She served them throughout strawberry season, and during July and August she substituted mixed berries or peaches. Always delicious! For the Bisquick version, see the Variation that follows.

For the strawberries and cream

1 (16 ounce) container strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons sugar

For the shortcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

8 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

2/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Fresh mint, for garnish

  1. Make strawberries and cream. Combine half the strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving. In a large bowl or stand mixer, whip cream and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  2. Make shortcakes. Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda. With a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingers, cut or work in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla until moistened.
  3. Using a 1/3-cup measure, scoop 6 shortcakes onto ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To serve, split shortcakes crosswise in half. Reserve 6 large strawberries for topping. Place bottom half on dessert plates, spoon on some whipped cream and divide strawberries over each. Replace top cake layers and garnish with additional whipped cream, reserved strawberries, and mint sprigs.

Bisquick Shortcakes: Prepare strawberries and cream as above. In a large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups Bisquick, 1/4 cup sugar, 2/3 cups buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter; mix until blended. Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop 6 shortcakes onto ungreased baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Assemble as above.

SALTED CARAMEL-CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE IN A JAR

SERVES 8

Strawberry shortcake has met its match in this thoroughly modern interpretation of the classic dessert. Chocolate is added to the shortcake and salted caramel to the whipped cream for a dreamy, sweet-salty combination. Serve it in wide-mouth 1/2-pint mason jars for a truly inspired presentation. (Recipe and image courtesy of Driscoll’s (www.driscolls.com).

For the biscuits

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus 1 tablespoon, melted

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, finely chopped

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons buttermilk

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, or more to taste

For caramel whipped cream

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

3 tablespoons prepared caramel sauce

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (16 ounce) container Driscoll’s Strawberries, hulled and quartered

  1. Make chocolate biscuits. Preheat oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers, cut or work in cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in chocolate chips and buttermilk until dough just comes together (dough will be wet).
  2. Transfer dough to a floured work surface, and with floured hands, pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick round. With a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 8 rounds; place each on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake about 15 minutes, or until firm. Let cool on a wire rack.
  3. Make caramel whipped cream. In a large bowl or stand mixer whip cream, caramel sauce, and vanilla until stiff peaks form (make sure caramel dissolves into cream). Keep chilled until ready to use.
  4. To serve, split each biscuit in half. Place a biscuit base in a mason jar and evenly divide the strawberries on top (reserve a few for garnish). Reserve 1/2 cup caramel whipped cream for garnish and divide remaining cream among jars, spreading on top of strawberries. Place a biscuit top over whipped cream in each jar and spoon 1 tablespoon whipped cream on each biscuit top. Finish with halved strawberries.

 

Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page expands this year to “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, or to order a signed cookbook, visit www.irishcook.com

This article appears courtesy of the Irish Echo. For more, visit their website here