OK, PEOPLE. Run, do not walk, to your nearest farmer’s market or grocery store, because in the Pacific Northwest, strawberries are HERE! Wheeeeeeee!
Naturally, I bought the first ones I saw a few weeks ago, which cost me a small-to-medium fortune at the market (like, $1 per berry. And I’m only exaggerating a tiny bit.). But now they’ve gone mainstream and I can buy them in embarrassing quantities!
Growing up on the Atlantic, local strawberries didn’t make their first appearance until closer to late June. But when they did, the first thing we’d make is strawberry shortcakes – tender, flakey biscuits smothered in macerated berries topped lavishly with enormous spoonfuls of whipped cream. They are one of my ultimate childhood summer food memories, and they bring me back instantly to the smell of freshly cut grass, the feeling of sticky hot sun, and of afternoons spent at the beach with my mom and sister.
The biscuits that my grandmother made were wonderful, but took a special touch, plus rolling and cutting perfect circles. I make them sometimes and when I do, I think of her, but these buttermilk drop biscuits are light, fluffy, buttery, flakey and everything else that is good in the world.
If you’re an avid baker, you might notice my recipe uses buttermilk, but uses only baking powder and not baking soda. This is because I wanted to keep the tang, not neutralize it. (Typically in baking, when an acidic ingredient – like buttermilk – is used, baking soda – a base – is used as the leavener, because the two react to make bubbles! Baking powder contains both the acid and the base, creates bubbles all by itself and won’t rob my biscuits of the tart buttermilk-y flavour. Whoa, geeky sidenote.)
I just want to take a minute to thank you SO MUCH for reading, and that I know you may have noticed there has been a sudden influx of sponsored posts (when it rains, it pours!). I work really hard to make sure they are meaningful and beneficial to you, but all the same, I know branded content can be off-putting to some. So I just want to thank you with my whole heart for sticking by my side, allowing me to share my babble and make Foodess a career at the same time. You guys are literally the best. I wish I could make you all strawberry shortcakes with enormous amounts of whipped cream. MUAH!
Strawberry Shortcakes with Easy Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cubed
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 pints strawberries hulled and quartered
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
For whipped cream:
- 2 cups cold whipping 35% m.f. cream
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (or leave ungreased).
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Toss in butter cubes, and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture until the pieces are about the size of lentils (it's ok if there are a few bigger ones). Add the buttermilk and use a gentle hand to stir it in with a rubber spatula, scraping from the bottom of the bowl and folding over, only just until no more dry patches remain and then stop (over-mixing results in tough biscuits).
- Drop by large spoonfuls (approximately 1/3 cup per biscuit) onto baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. The top should spring back when gently pressed in the centre. Cool on wire racks.
- While biscuits are baking, combine strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature until they are nice and juicy, about 30 minutes. Lightly mash with a fork or potato masher, if desired.
- Whip cream to soft peaks with an electric mixer, then beat in sugar and vanilla extract. Just before serving, slice biscuits in half, top the bottom with strawberries and whipped cream, then place the second half of biscuit on top. (You can add more strawberries and whipped cream to the top, too, if you wish...). Serve immediately. Store any extra biscuits in a sealed container at room temperature (or in the freezer) and any extra berry sauce and whipped cream covered in the fridge.