biscuit secrets and how to make a perfect strawberry shortcake

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

this post is what happens when you need to write about things that require real photos from a real camera but you don't have time for all that.

so you write about what you ate last night.

with phone pictures.

get excited, y'all.


i used to think dessert wasn't dessert unless it had chocolate in it.
but things change when you turn 30. 
suddenly you can appreciate lemon. or fancy things like flan. or coffee-flavored ice cream. 

classy stuff.


this recipe started because i made biscuits Sunday.
perfect biscuits.
ok, not perfect, but they were close.
so close i had to make them again.
somewhere along the way, these near-perfect biscuits became the base of a strawberry shortcake madness.

but first things first.
biscuits. 
buttermilk biscuits to be exact.
glory be.


biscuits scare people. 
they're kinda like little dogs that think they're big. 
the ones who bark and growl a lot so you're scared. but once you pet them, the little mutts turn out to be cuddly pushovers.
all bark, no bite biscuits. that's what we're making here.

i'm about to reveal some biscuit-makin' secrets.
secrets y'all
it's gettin' real. 
and easy. yep. 
believe it.  because you're smart. 
and you trust a non-credentialed internet stranger. 
word. 

secret 1: buy the best ingredients
when a recipe only has 3 ingredients it's trying to tell you something. 
"hey girl, i need quality ingredients so i can really shine."
don't buy the cheap stuff. 
don't do it. 
buy the best quality ingredients you can find. three items won't break the bank. 
{In this case i went all-in with Kerrygold Irish butter (salted), quality buttermilk and White Lily self-rising flour. (not a paid ad - just the best stuff I could find).}

secret 2: freeze your butter
biscuit-makin' is delicate business. the ingredients need to be cold. so do anything you can to help it stay that way. put that butter in the freezer for at least an hour before using. i tend to keep my butter in the freezer anyway to help prevent it from spoiling.

secret 3: use a grater to cut your fat
use your cheese grater to grate the frozen butter (use the biggest holes) so you aren't trying to cut up frozen butter with a knife. your fingers will thank you. also, it's the most efficient way of getting that frozen butter quickly and evenly distributed into the flour. tip: be careful not to let the heat from your hands melt the butter. i try to use the paper around the butter to hold it while i grate. and work fast (but carefully)

secret 4: chill your mixing bowl
things need to stay cold. did i mention that was important?
i like to chill mine a few minutes (5-10ish) while i'm getting things ready (setting out my measuring cups, getting the oven pre-heated, lining my jelly roll pan, etc). then i chill it again (see recipe) after i've grated the butter and tossed in the flour. 

secret 5: parchment paper or silpat baking mat
cardinal rule of baking. if you're not doing this already please start now. it helps keep things from sticking (read: no need for cooking sprays or hours of scrubbing cookie bits from your favorite pans.) also, cleanup is a breeze. 'nuff said. 
side note: parchment paper is NOT wax paper. they cannot be used interchangeably. tried that. bad idea. 

secret 6: use sharp round cookie/biscuit cutters. (and do not twist)
i mean it. press that cutter down and back up. NO TWISTING. hear me?

secret 7: follow directions precisely
some recipes are pretty forgiving. you can tweak this or that. improvise. jimmy-rig it. 
NOT biscuits. read the directions through twice before starting. and follow them exactly. 




this strawberry shortcake recipe is about as close to perfect as a recipe can be.

fluffy, flakey, buttery, lightly salty biscuits
sweet, intensely strawberry sauce
delicate, pure, slightly sweet heavenly whipped cream.
all homemade.
simple.
killer. 

so good in fact, david said it was his new favorite dessert. 


Perfect Strawberry Shortcake

Recipe for: Biscuits from Southern Living Magazine. 
                  Strawberry Sauce and Vanilla Whipped Cream Faith at The Stirring Place

Biscuits - click HERE for their video tutorial. it's awesome. the written recipe can be found HERE
                 it is perfection.
                 PS - use salted butter. it makes a huge difference in flavor. 

Strawberry Sauce 
1 pint fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced (divided)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

in a medium saucepan combine the sugar and 3/4 of the strawberries. leave for about 5-10 minutes to let the sugar and berries get all juicy. then add 1 cup water and turn heat on to medium-high. bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. once at desired temperature (warm but cool enough to handle), use an emersion blender to puree the mixture. add the remaining 1/4 sliced strawberries and serve warm for best flavor. 

Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla

combine all ingredients in a chilled bowl and using a handheld mixer (stand works fine too just be careful it doesn't curdle) mix at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until stiff peaks form. 

to serve: take warm biscuit and top with strawberry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. add more strawberry sauce over top of cream, if desired. 




y'all i'm about to go have some of this right now.
it's so stinking good.
the whipped cream won't last long but it's so easy to make more of don't stress about that.
if you have any leftovers that is.

make it and be sure to tell me what you think.
you could fancy it up with some mint leaves or adding in other fruit with the berries (peaches would be good)
make it your own.
but whatever you do, make it.





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