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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake!

 What 4th of July is complete without some strawberry shortcake? Not mine!  As far as the cake goes, I'm still searching for the perfect shortcake recipe, but yesterday I came pretty close.  This original recipe requires a cast iron pan- which I do not have- so I melted about a tablespoon of butter into a round cake pan, and then baked the biscuits in that.  They all melded together (which is totally fine) and were so light and fluffy, it was really amazing!

Whole Wheat Shortcakes, adapted from Joy the Baker
(her book? is awesome, btw.)

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. unbleached white flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 c. vanilla soymilk + 1 tsp. vinegar, mixed together to sour
2 Tbsp. honey

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Using your fingers or a pastry blender, crumble in the butter.  You want it to be in tiny pieces, incorporated with the flour, to make it flaky.  Then mix up the sour soymilk, and add the honey to that.  It's ok if there are some lumps.  Add the milk to the dry ingredients, and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 400*, and put a cake pan with 1Tbsp. additional butter in it.  Wait.  When it has melted, take it out with a potholder, swirl it around, and then drop the biscuit dough by large spoonfulls into it.  It's ok if they touch, or are pretty close to touching.  I think I made about 10 biscuits.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden, and the biscuits are done all the way through.  (Use our friend, the toothpick, to check.)

While they are baking, you can chop up many strawberries, or prep whatever other fruit you might be eating instead.  I did about 1.5 pounds of strawberries, and refrigerated them with about 2 tsp. of brown sugar on top, to get more juices.

Now, the extra magical part... we are going to make homemade whipped cream!

What's that? You say you've never made homemade whipped cream before? Well, you are in for a treat.

Start with some heavy cream.  I used about 3/4 of a cup for 2 of us.  Put it into a small bowl or a large mug; something that will hold about 2-3x the amount of cream you're starting with.  Then add a teaspoon of sugar.  You can always add more later if it's not sweet enough for you, but I tend to start on the small side.  Also add 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.  Then, I bust out my hand blender- that thing is amazing!  If you don't have one, you can do this by hand, but it takes much much longer- or if you are impatient and don't have one, you can use a blender.  See how versatile this is?  Whatever you're using, blend, blend, blend away, until the cream starts to make firm peaks and look like whipped cream.  (With a hand blender, it's about 90 seconds)  Taste it to see if it is sweet enough. Taste it again, just to make sure.  Avoid cutting yourself on the blades during the tasting process.

By this time, the biscuits should be done.  Take them out and cool for a few minutes, then layer with berries and whipped cream for a lovely summer treat!

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