Old Fashioned Berry Shortcakes

There are still many people from my generation who don’t know what a shortcake really is. So accustomed are they to the store bought Hostess brand shortcakes, that they don’t understand that, in reality, shortcakes are much less like a Twinkie and much more like a sweet biscuit. Very similar to a plain vanilla scone, these old fashioned shortcakes are a heavenly compliment to mounds of freshly whipped, sweetened, vanilla flavored cream, and a heap of fresh macerated berries. Since I still have blackberries coming out of my ears, I decided to continue with this week of very berry madness, and whip together this easy, but incredibly comforting dessert.

I have always had great success with Ina Garten’s shortcake recipe with a few of my own modifications. I up the sugar from one tablespoon to a third of a cup, reduce the salt to one half teaspoon, use salted butter (which I always use in everything no matter what the recipe may say… I prefer Tillamook brand), add about a tablespoon of pure vanilla extract (clear, if you have it) which the recipe doesn’t call for, and I also toss in the grated zest of half a large orange into the wet ingredients for that little background note of fruitiness (though, if I don’t happen to have an orange on hand I simply omit the zest). I have also found that it is important to chill the cut dough for at least an hour, lest you risk the possibility that your shortcakes bake up in amorphous mounds (which, granted, will still be delicious). Before baking I brush the tops with a beaten egg, and then dip the egg coated top of each shortcake into a small bowl of  turbinado or demerara sugar (clear white sanding sugar would also work well here) until no more will stick, which adds a nice sparkle, sweetness, and crunch. These are best served warm out of the oven, but the good news is that these shortcakes can be made, cut, wrapped, and refrigerated up to five days in advance, and you can simply bake them off right before you want to serve them, making them perfect for summertime entertaining. (Better still, if you would like to make the dough up to six weeks in advance, place the cut dough onto a baking sheet and freeze uncovered until frozen solid, then transfer to a freezer bag. Bake from frozen (do not thaw the dough), adding an additional 5 minutes or so to the baking time. Whether with strawberries, peaches, or assorted berries, these shortcakes are always a crowd pleaser. Enjoy!

This post made the Foodbuzz.com Top 9!!!

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Filed under Breads, Desserts, Foodbuzz Top 9

13 responses to “Old Fashioned Berry Shortcakes

  1. I enjoy making these look delicious

  2. These look delicious…I love the add of orange zest too, and the berries make quite a pretty dessert:)

  3. They look beautiful but why do use so much sugar in your shortcakes? Just curious.

    • jacobskitchen

      lol. Well, I have made these shortcakes a lot, and found over the years (based on my own tastes and those of my guests) that they taste better/are more well received when I add this amount of sugar. And even with this amount of sugar they are not what I would call “sweet,” they just taste flavorful. I think the orange zest balances the sweetness nicely. I personally put more than a tablespoon of sugar in my biscuits, and they are not even slightly sweet. As with any other recipe, you are, of course, certainly welcome to make adjustments to suit your own tastes. =)

      Thanks for visiting!

  4. I love biscuit-y shortcakes. If I want something spongy with berries, I usually opt for angelfood cake. Most of the time I use my basic scone recipe for shortcakes, but in a pinch, Bisquick (gasp!) will make a passable, though somewhat salty, cake.

  5. congrats on being TOP 9 again. looks attractive honestly….

  6. wow, that is an amazing little dessert that you created! can’t wait to try making it. It sounds like something that we would fit in the Swedish cuisine actually, with the berries and all.

  7. what a great little shortcake!!!! congrats on the top 9!

  8. well done jacob, top 9 again! 🙂

  9. wow….those look very, very good!! nicely done!!

  10. These look absolutely mouthwatering! I’m excited to try my hand at them! Amazing photography on all the posts! Love this blog.

  11. Mmmmm, I’m drooling over that turbinado sugar topping!

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