Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Strawberry Shortcakes

Watkins Master Catalog
The newest Watkins master catalog ( Spring/Summer 2009) has a picture of Simply Sweet Cinnamon Strawberry Shortcakes on the front cover.

Strawberry shortcake is a 200 year-old American invention. Biscuits became popular with the advent of chemical leavenings in the early 1800’s. Before the middle of the 19th century, strawberry shortcake recipes were showing up in the recipe books.

Today strawberry shortcakes are made from a variety of recipes, from biscuits to white cakes and even angel food cakes but the original recipes always called for biscuits. Usually these biscuits are made richer and sweeter with dairy products and sugar.

The Difference Between Biscuits and Shortcakes?
It seems that if you put fruit and whipped cream on a biscuit, you have shortcake. In other words, they are interchangeable. But often, recipes for shortcakes are sweeter and maybe richer. Biscuit recipes often call for one to three tablespoons of sugar in a three cup recipe while shortcake recipes will call for as much as 1/3 cup sugar.

To make biscuits richer, some shortcake recipes (and some biscuit recipes) call for cream as a liquid instead of milk or buttermilk.

Three Ways to Make Shortcakes
1. Make them as drop biscuits. The dough must be moist enough to drop from a spoon and pat into a flat disc. Add more milk as needed to get the desired consistency.
2. Make them as cut-out biscuits. The dough must be slightly firm to cut into shapes. Sprinkle a little flour on the bread board or add flour to the dough if
needed. Don’t add too much flour. Pat the soft dough out on the bread board and cut into three–inch discs. If the dough is wet and the shape is a little ragged, it’s perfect.
3. Make one large shortcake. Spread the dough into an eight-inch cake pan or nine-inch pie pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Simply Sweet Cinnamon Strawberry Shortcakes

2 cups/450 mL all-purpose flour
1/4 cup/60 mL sugar
1 tbsp/15 mL Baking Powder
1/2 tsp/2.5 mL baking soda
1/2 tsp/2.5 mL Purest Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp/2.5 mL Orange Peel
1/2 tsp/2.5 mL salt
1/4 cup/60 mL butter
1/4 tsp/1.2 mL Original Double-Strength Vanilla
1 1/4–1 1/2 cups/310–375 mL heavy cream
1/4 cup/60 mL walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, orange peel, and salt. Cut in butter. Stir in vanilla, cream and walnuts. Drop on baking sheet using a 1/4 cup/60 mL measuring cup. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, if desired. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until brown. Cool shortcakes, split, and cover with strawberries and whipped cream.

Sweetened Strawberries
4–6 cups/1 to 1.5 quarts strawberries
1/4 cup/60 mL sugar

Hull and quarter strawberries, toss in a medium bowl with sugar, let stand at least 20 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits.

Classic Strawberry Shortcake
Shortcake is made like biscuits though a little richer and sweeter. It is rich and tender and flaky. Topped with lightly sweetened strawberries and crowned with sweetened whipped cream to which plenty of vanilla has been added, this is the perfect way to enjoy spring strawberries.

2 cups pastry or unbleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Watkins Baking Powder
1/2 cup cold butter cut in pieces
2 large eggs whisked with 3 tablespoons of cold milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ngredients with a pastry knife or two sharp knives. Keep cutting until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

Add the egg and milk mixture. Stir until the dry ingredients are moistened but not smooth.

Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured board; roll or pat the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch circles or squares and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the tops begin to turn brown. Cool on a wire rack. Slice shortcakes and top with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.


  • Like biscuits, working the dough too much will leave the product tough, not melt-in-your-mouth tender.
  • Always use fresh, succulent, ripe strawberries. Choose plump looking strawberries with green caps and avoid those that look bruised or mushy. Do not wash them or remove the caps until they are ready to use. Strawberries should be used promptly; they will not stay fresh long.
  • Sprinkle a little sugar on the strawberries after they are sliced. The juice will dissolve the sugar to form a light syrup.
  • For each cup of whipping cream, add 1 - 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon Watkins Double-Strength Vanilla or Watkins Pure Vanilla Extract when soft peaks form. Continue beating until sugar dissolves.
  • Strawberries are the the most popular kind of fruit for shortcakes. Any kind of berries make delicious shortcake. Bananas, mangos, and peaches are also taste great. If you are really feeling adventuresome, add cocoa to the recipe for chocolate shortcakes. You can also add nuts or dried fruit.
  • Instead of vanilla whipped cream, make chocolate whipped cream or add cream cheese or vanilla pudding.

No comments :