We served traditional strawberry shortcakes in our store on Saturday. That means 400, maybe 500 desserts and 30 pounds of strawberries. How do you make 500 desserts in a hurry? You take every shortcut you can without sacrificing quality.
We simplified the shortcakes. We took our just-add-water biscuit mix, added a little sugar, and baked sheets of sweetened biscuits. It worked. Repeatedly we were asked, “Where can I get this recipe?”
We used a strawberry slicer for the berries. We had nice, neat slices and probably cut our prep time by two-thirds.
We made caramel whipped cream by the quart. In our stand-type mixer, we whipped one quart whipping cream with two-thirds cup brown sugar and two teaspoons caramel flavor. Easy. The caramel whipped cream knocks everyone’s socks off.
Classic shortcakes are biscuit-like but richer. They are made with eggs and sugar and cream or milk. But they are crisp like a biscuit, and we love the crisp biscuit against the succulent strawberries and the soft whipped cream. It’s like making a strawberry pie with a good, crisp crust, but less work.
And we love to tinker with the whipped cream. No spray cans here. We dump a carton of whipping cream in the bowl of our stand-type mixer and whip away with the whip attachment. Maybe we’ll sweeten it with brown sugar instead of granulated and we’ll experiment with flavors adding a flavor other than vanilla. Caramel and butterscotch whipped cream is outstanding with strawberries but maybe we like Lemon Cloud Whipped Cream even better.
But back to our shortcakes. You can make them from scratch or you can use a biscuit mix and “doctor” it. Here’s how you would doctor a just-add-water biscuit mix to make classic shortcakes:
How to Make Lean Shortcakes from a Biscuit Mix
This is what we did on Saturday: simply added sugar to the mix. It works great.
For each cup of biscuit mix, add two tablespoons granulated sugar. If the recipe calls for three cups mix, add six tablespoons sugar and so forth. Add water and mix and per package instructions.
By the way, we used a little round cutter about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. We patted the dough out to nearly 3/4 inches thick to make nice tall shortcakes. These shortcakes were large enough that when balanced with a quarter cup of whipped cream (we used a large ice cream scoop to measure the whipped cream) and several spoonfuls of berries that we had nice sized desserts.
How to Make Rich Shortcakes from a Biscuit Mix
- 3 cups just-add-water biscuit mix
- 2 large eggs
- milk or cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Measure the mix into a medium bowl.
- Add the eggs to a 2-cup measuring cup. Add enough milk to make just over 3/4 cup of liquid.
- Add the sugar and whisk the liquids and sugar together.
- Make the biscuits per package directions.
With the extra sugar, the biscuits will brown a little quicker. We turn the temperature down 25 degrees and watch the time. They’ll usually come out a minute or two earlier than what the package says even with the temperature down.
A full-size biscuit cutter makes for a large strawberry shortcake. Try making some mini biscuits about an inch-and-a-half in diameter for a more standard sized serving.
To assemble your strawberry shortcakes, slice the strawberries into thin slices using a strawberry slicer and toss them with a little sugar. Split the shortcake open with a fork and lay one split biscuit on each plate. Spoon strawberries over the shortcakes and top with flavored whipped cream. These are best served fresh.
Classic Shortcake Recipe (Scratch)
- 2 cups pastry or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2cup cold butter cut in pieces
- 2 large eggs whisked with 3 tablespoons of cold milk added
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients 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 counter and 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.
Note: Like biscuits, working the dough too much will leave the product tough, not melt-in-your-mouth tender.
What You’ll Need
A strawberry slicer makes nice, neat slices in a hurry. Once you’ve used one, you’ll never go back to cutting strawberries with a knife.
If you are making your shortcakes with a biscuit mix, you won’t need much. Of course, we use our own just-add-water biscuit mix but then, we think any good biscuit mix will do.
For the flavored whipped cream, you’ll need flavors. The best selection of flavors is found online. We sell commercial flavors, those professional bakers use, and package them in our facility.