Did I tell you guys that we went strawberry picking last week? We have a small raised bed of strawberries growing in our garden for fresh eating, but we don’t have nearly the volume of plants to pick all we need for preserving this year.
So we headed up to our local low-spray u-pick orchard—it’s about 10 minutes from our house, and they let you pick everything (strawberries! blueberries! raspberries! grapes! peaches! apples! oh my!). We love it there, because, while it isn’t organic, it is sustainably grown, hyper local, great quality, and cheeeeaaaapppp. Like $1.50 per pound kind of cheap.
We ended up picking over 70 pounds of berries—about half of that went directly in the freezer after they were hulled. Perfect for future smoothies! A quarter of the haul went into canning, and the remainder went into fresh eating. I have so many fun, tasty, and healthy (okay, maybe not completely) strawberry recipes to showcase for you guys over the next few weeks. I hope you’re ready for strawberry overload!
I’m not sure I’ve ever let a single Spring go by without having at least one bowlful of strawberry shortcake. It’s one of my absolute favorite desserts, because not only is it a breeze to make, but it’s also the perfect combination of flavor and textures.
Now, if you’re sitting there thinking, “I don’t get the big deal about strawberry shortcake,” I venture to guess that you’ve never had real, homemade shortcakes from scratch. Those little cup-shaped, spongey cake things that they sell on the shelves of grocery stores around this time of year? Usually merchandised with bags of artificially red strawberry pie filling and cans of shelf-stable whipped cream? Those are not shortcakes. No way. No how. And if that’s your only shortcake experience, I promise you, you haven’t ever eaten a shortcake.
In my world, a good shortcake is somewhere between the best, most tender and flaky buttermilk biscuit and a perfectly crumbly, but not too dry, scone. It’s strong enough to hold up to the strawberry sauce, but delicate enough to melt away in your mouth. It’s not too sweet—that’s what the sweetened strawberries and whipped cream are for—but just sweet enough to say “oh hey, this is a dessert!”. You could probably (and hey, maybe I did) eat one for breakfast without feeling guilty.
Now, if this all sounds awesome, but like it’s going to be complicated to create, you’d be totally wrong. Shortcakes come together in a flash. And, because I’m a little lazy, I don’t even form them into nice little biscuit or cake shapes. I just drop ’em into big heaps onto a baking sheet and pop them in the oven. Then I just call them “rustic”.
I’m a big fan of classic strawberry shortcake, but I’ve been known to mix it up a bit, too. I had an idea for added chocolate to the shortcakes, but I was a bit concerned that the chocolate would overpower the strawberries—not at all the case! I used dark chocolate chips, and just a handful or two. They add a really nice richness that balances beautifully with the sweet, tartness of the strawberries. These might just be the best strawberry shortcakes I’ve ever made! Enjoy.