Simple strawberry shortcakes

I've never been the person to order a fruit dessert if given a choice.  Growing up, when my friends ordered strawberry ice cream or milk shakes, I was always the one asking for chocolate.  The only thing I liked about those strawberry or fruity desserts was the color.  I'm a creature of habit and, unfortunately, not a very adventurous eater.  Luckily, I've branched out a little in recent years.  Though fruity desserts may still not be my first choice (though I do love lemon tarts), I've come to appreciate them like I never have before.

Can I tell you something?  A couple of years ago, I noticed that my mid-section (and other places) had expanded when I wasn't paying attention.  I'd never been concerned about my weight before then, just assuming my metabolism would straighten things out.  Blame it on getting older but I had to do something about it and trim down a bit.  Ironically, that was near the time I started this blog but, luckily, moderation seems to work.  Now, I don't want to get bogged down talking about weight or "diets".  What I did want to get at was the good thing that came about from paying attention to my weight and scaling back: I learned to eat (to love to eat) a lot healthier.  I enjoy fruits and vegetables like I never did before.  In trying new things and becoming more educated, I discovered that I actually like many of the healthier stuff, like whole grains, that we hear so much about.  Plus, I learned to cook more.  Of course, I still love treats and chocolate in particular, and I fully embrace it, but I have also discovered the pleasure of a plain strawberry or blueberry.
That said, I'm going to segue into dessert because while plain, in-season strawberries might be great all by themselves, sometimes you want to turn it into a special dessert (otherwise, there'd be no blog...)!  The occasion could well be Mother's Day.  A bright, colorful dessert always seems appropriate.

Now, remember those lighter and easier buttermilk biscuits I raved about?  The ones where you don't need any equipment or to roll anything out.  The last time I made them, I stowed a few away in the freezer.  I picked up some gorgeous organic strawberries from the market and made old-fashioned strawberry shortcakes.  If you go ahead and make the biscuits ahead of time, putting these shortcakes together is pretty simple.  Just bake the frozen biscuits straight from the freezer, adding a couple extra minutes to the bake time.  While the biscuits cool, macerate your strawberries with a little bit of sugar.
A dollop of whipped cream comes next.  I lightly whipped the cream with a just a bit of sugar and a touch of pure vanilla extract.
The result is a great combination of flavors and textures.  Believe it or not, the old me wouldn't have even tried it; the new me loved it!  The berries seem to bring out the buttery flavor of the biscuit.  The crunchy edges of the biscuits contrasted with the silky whipped cream.  The strawberries are just sweet enough and add a lightness to it all.  I am a fan! 
My husband has always been a fan of strawberries and shortcakes (he loves getting waffles with strawberries at the diner), and I'm happy to say he adored the ones I made here.  I just have to figure out how to get my 7-year old on board.  I think he might have inherited some of his mom's tendencies when it comes to eating (i.e., he would like to exist on a dark chocolate diet).  It makes me laugh when I think back to his first birthday when I made a strawberry shortcake - not with biscuits, the cake kind with sliced strawberries in the center and whipped cream icing.  I think I read somewhere that strawberry cakes were proper for a first birthday.  It was not a very pretty-looking cake and I don't think I took more than a bite.  Needless to say, my son wouldn't pick that now for his birthday cake but I have hopes that he'll become more adventurous in time.  For my part, I know I would take more interest in that cake now than I did then.
I think I've rambled on enough for today.  Let me just wish all you loving and well-meaning moms, future-moms, and lovely people a very Happy Mother's Day this coming weekend!


These strawberry shortcakes are pretty adaptable as far as quantity or how many you want to make.  You can pile on as many or as little strawberries as you like or as much whipped cream as you like.  And sweeten to your taste, depending on preference and how sweet your strawberries are.  The same goes for the whipped cream.  I don't think it needs much sugar (in fact, you could even omit it) but feel free to adjust it to your taste. 

Again, I highly recommend using these biscuits to start off the shortcakes.  They are lighter and so easy and quick to put together!  If you make a batch, just freeze a few and when you get your hands on some good strawberries, you can pretty easily make this dessert!  I hope you do!  
One last thought...you know chocolate-dipped strawberries, of course.  Well, how about taking a shortcut and slathering a little bit of Nutella on strawberries?  Yes, a good strawberry is wonderful all by itself but maybe for one out of the handful you're eating, a little dip in Nutella is a treat!  After making the shortcakes, I put out the rest of the strawberries we had left the next morning for Sunday breakfast.  My husband proceeded to slather his pancakes with some Nutella, followed by sliced strawberries and a little whipped cream!  Crazy...but actually crazy good, and I started thinking about what these shortcakes would taste like with a little chocolate-hazelnut spread thrown in (maybe spread under the biscuit top)...File that under things that make you go hmmm..."


Recipe: 

Simple Strawberry Shortcakes
Biscuit recipe from Cooking Light; the rest is basic improv which you can adjust to your liking

- For 4 servings -

Biscuits:
4 buttermilk biscuits, see recipe for lighter, easier buttermilk drop biscuits

Strawberries:
1/2 pound strawberries (organic, if possible), cleaned, hulled, and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste, depending on sweetness of strawberries)

Whipped Cream:
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Bake buttermilk biscuits and let cool on a wire rack.  If baking frozen biscuits from the recipe above, bake straight from the freezer in a 450 degree oven until golden brown.  It will take a few extra minutes of baking time.

In the meantime, place strawberries into a bowl and toss with the sugar.  Let sit, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

Lightly whip the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla extract until it reaches soft peaks.

To assemble the shortcakes, slice each biscuit horizontally with a serrated knife.  Place the bottom of the biscuit onto a serving plate, spoon a mound of strawberries on top.  Add a big dollop of whipped cream over the strawberries and then top the shortcake with the top of the biscuit.  Repeat with remaining biscuits.  If you have extra strawberries or whipped cream, serve some on the side of each shortcake.  Serve immediately.




31 comments:

  1. OK, Monica, this is SO hard to look at first thing in the morning, because strawberry shortcake is my favorite dessert!! What are you doing to me! :) Yours looks beautiful!

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    1. lol! Marie, it's only fair given how hungry your blog makes me all the time! All that mouthwatering pizza, pasta, brisket (the list goes on...) gets to a girl! : )

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  2. Monica-That bowl of bright red strawberries made me want to dive right in. Until reading further to the strawberry shortcake. Who can resist? This is a perfect, easy dessert. Thanks for sharing. Your photography is fantastic too.

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    1. Thank you, Joan. You are very kind and that's more praise than I deserve. I only point-and-shoot as far as photography goes. That's why all my pictures look pretty much the same! : )

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  3. Growing up, I was the same way --I prefer chocolate flavor over strawberries. ;) This is such a great idea, using biscuits for shortcake dessert! Lovely post Monica.

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    1. Thanks so much, Anne! Honestly, I would never have picked a strawberry dessert in a million years way back when...Fast forward and I am eating strawberries for dessert tonight *but* there was also a sliver of chocolate cake involved! I've changed but I haven't. : )

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  4. Monica - I love everything about this post. I also noticed the thicker middle and I always ordered chocolate when given a choice. I adore fruits so much more than I did as a child. The rich colors and flavors can't be beat. Have a wonderful mother's day!

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    1. Awww...thanks for reading, Tricia. I do always go with chocolate at a restaurant - always, unless it isn't an option for some bizarre reason! But I've come to love fruit a lot more, just like you. Thanks again - Happy Mother's Day to you too!

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  5. Simple, pretty, and delicious looking!

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    1. That's just what I was going for! : )

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  6. These are definitely not only simple, but beautiful shortcakes. I want :)

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  7. I'm like you--new to the non-chocolate dessert thing. I don't do it all the time, but occasionally I get a craving. Now I try to have a chocolate dessert and a non-chocolate dessert available for all cravings! Your shortcake looks great. My first summer in Seattle, we discovered a local strawberry festival where the best part is the strawberry shortcake they serve (much like this one). It makes the strawberries really stand out!

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    1. I'm actually surprised to hear that, Alyssa! Funny how much so many of us have in common. Now...you mentioned "cravings..." is that another clue?! : P
      That strawberry festival sounds really nice (the *new* me is interested)! I used to think strawberry shortcakes were just the cake kind until I saw the biscuit version. I think it's a nice change up.

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  8. I vary on whether I want fruit or chocolate based desserts...but fruity is definitely great when the weather gets warm! Strawberry Shortcakes remind me of summers at our summer house :) These look so yummy!

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    1. That sounds so good, Amy...shortcakes at the summer house. : )

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  9. We love strawberry shortcake...and yours look fabulous...yes simple but so good. I love your pictures...really pretty.
    Hope you are having a great week Monica :)

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    1. Thanks, Juliana. You have a wonderful week as well!

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  10. I love this simple version of strawberry shortcakes! I don't know when I can make the "real" shortcake....so this is the closest I can even try! :) I always order strawberry ice cream and strawberry milkshake even though I'm a huge chocolate fan. This is actually a big mystery until now.

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    1. I really like these old-fashioned shortcakes made with biscuits. I think strawberries must have a special place in your heart, Nami, since you're normally a chocolate person. Thank goodness there's room for a little bit of everything!

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  11. I had a similar epiphany in college and I am so glad I did because now I actually like and appreciate fruits and veggies! I mean...I still love chocolate...but I can be content with a big bowl of berries OR one of htese gorgeous shortcakes!

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    1. I'm with you, Joanne. My epiphany came a little later but I'm happy for it! Thanks!

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  12. Is there anything more perfect than strawberry shortcakes in the spring? :)

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    1. Well...I am always up for a slice of chocolate cake! : )

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  13. i just love fruit desserts in the spring and summer (probably because there's so many different fruits to choose from right now), and strawberry shortcakes are one of my perennial favorites. Seems like the simple things are the best, especially when it's hot out. I love that you used the biscuits from Cooking Light; those would be so perfect topped with fruit and cream.

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    1. I've always been just about chocolate that it's nice to branch out and actually enjoy some new things in the last few years. Those Cooking Light biscuits are awesome!

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  14. Hi Monica, It may be simple, but oh so perfect with fresh local strawberries.

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    1. You are so right. Getting your hands on high-quality ingredients makes all the difference in the world. Thanks for stopping by, Judy!

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  15. I love fruit desserts - especially anything with strawberries and cream - these look absolutely gorgeous! I really love the sound of your buttermilk biscuits too!

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    1. Thank you, Rosie. Those easy buttermilk biscuits make the whole thing a cinch!

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