|Strawberries!! (and a scale, for scale)|
There are three categories of strawberry shortcakes: Lazy, Simple, and Old Fashioned.
The Lazy shortcake maker mashes berries, buys a pack of little spongecake cups, or an angel food cake, or something similar, and tops it with spray whipped cream or CoolWhip. This is tasty enough, super easy to make even if you live in a teepee, and you could do it while completely drunk. It's more expensive though and is the least tasty option.
The Simple shortcake maker mashes berries with a tablespoon or two of sugar; takes out a box of Bisquik and makes up the biscuit recipe with a few tablespoons of sugar added; then tops it off with spray whipped cream or homemade whipped cream if they have none in a spray can. This is the way I generally make mine, because I'm lazy and it's Simple. It tastes better, is much cheaper if you keep biscuit mix around the house normally, and while you need an oven for it (can't make it in a teepee) it is still pretty foolproof.
The Old Fashioned shortcake maker mashes berries with a bit of sugar; gets out a proper shortcake recipe and bakes it up; then tops it with fluffy delicious homemade whipped cream that they've whipped with the sweat of their brow. This is the BEST way to have shortcake. I don't generally feel like putting this kind of effort into it... but when someone else does, I will eat it with much praise and delight.
I can't even truly explain the difference, but you know it when you try it. I also can really appreciate knowing exactly what went into a treat like this. Yes, buttery shortcake and heavy cream aren't exactly "healthy" foods; but it's nice to know there's no carageenan, guar gum, hydrogenated vegetable oil, or Red #5 in it. Just organic strawberries, heavy cream, sugar, flour, eggs, salt, milk, butter, and baking powder.
So for those who want to give the experience of real shortcake (rather than little spongecake cups) a try at home here is my Old Fashioned Shortcake recipe:
2 1/4 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter (softened) or shortening (butter will give a crunchier crust, shortening a softer crust)
Mix together all of the dry ingredients. Cut the butter/shortening in with forks or pastry cutter until it gets a crumbly texture. Set aside.
2/3 cup milk
Mix together the wet ingredients. Pour into the crumbly mixture, and combine together carefully (it is a quick bread, similar to muffins and over-mixing will make it tough!) until ingredients are well-incorporated. Press dough evenly into a well greased 8x11 or 9x9 baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, a toothpick inserted should come out clean. Cut into pieces and serve with sweetened mashed strawberries (or other fruits or berries!) and whipped cream.
Tip #1: don't accidentally read the recipe next to it in your cookbook and add way too much sugar. Like I just did. /facepalm
Tip #2: don't use a whisk to cut in the butter, like I just did, it will just get all of the butter stuck in the whisk and be a pain to get out.
Tip #3: don't forget to grease your pan, like I just did.
Wow, I'm just on a roll today. If this shortcake comes out decent it will be through sheer luck!
...15 minutes later...
|Amazingly, it turned out beautiful!|