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Friday, March 25, 2011

balsamic strawberry shortcakes.

You. Have. To. Make. This.

This is drop-dead delicious, and I'm not kidding. I have no idea what took me so long to try a buttermilk biscuit. Okay, I made some before but I gave them away with raving reviews in return. I can see why now. Light, tender and buttery, I wish I could make a pillow out of it and sleep on it.

I got the recipe for these buttermilk biscuits from Rose's The Bread Bible which is actually called Butter Biscuits. If the word butter appears in the title, you can very well expect some serious butter business. A few minutes before they were done, this heavenly scent of butter wafted out of the kitchen. You'll never overbake these biscuits because you will be right there, waiting in front of the oven before they're even done. Trust me on this.

Rose actually wrote that this is her go-to recipe for strawberry shortcake. The shortcake part, I mean. The recipe included hard-boiled egg yolks in the dough which would contribute to a golden colour and sandy texture. But I was too lazy to bother and I had fantabulous biscuits in the end too!

I paired these with balsamic strawberries from a strawberry shortcake recipe in the Flour cookbook. I always wanted to try balsamic strawberries. Intriguing. And you know what? I may never have a strawberry shortcake any other way again. There is very little balsamic used, but its acidity provides a contrast to the sweet strawberries which brightens up the flavours. Don't worry if your strawberries are sour because there's sugar added. After macerating, the sugar, natural juices from the strawberries and balsamic vinegar combines to create this wonderful syrup.

If you feel like gulping it down, I won't stop or blame you. Just remember that after all, there is acidity from the balsamic vinegar so go easy on it or risk throat burn. Don't ask me how I know this. Oh, and I squished (sounds unappetizing, but wait) some strawberries with the back of a fork when tossing the strawberries to macerate. They integrate better with the balsamic this way.

Just the strawberries and the biscuits were so good together, I didn't bother with the whipped cream. The biscuits, freshly baked and still a little crusty, with sweet-sour syrup-soaked strawberries? Delicious. The biscuits were a little on the salty side which I'm not sure if it was meant to be that way or because I used table salt while Rose used coarse, but the slight saltiness made it even better with the strawberries.

Butter Biscuits
adapted from The Bread Bible
supposed to yield 9 but I made 8

6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
2 cups self-rising flour or  1 1/4 cups flour + 2/3 cup cake flour + 1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar 

2 hard-boiled eggs *I omitted but the biscuits were still fabulous!
3/4 cup heavy cream or buttermilk *I used buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a baking stone or baking sheet in the oven on the middle rack.
In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, whisk flour, salt and sugar.  Add the butter and work in with your fingers or pastry fork to make a coarse meal.  If using a stand mixer, mix with paddle attachment on low.  Press the egg yolks through a fine strainer and add to the dough, whisking to combine.  Stir in cream or buttermilk and mix until the dough just starts to come together and you can form it into a ball.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times and roll out to 3/4 inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter or small drinking glass to cut the biscuits into circles, and then place them on a cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden. *If baking directly from freezer, add about 10 minutes or so to the baking time until golden.

Balsamic Strawberries
adapted from Flour

This makes a lot, as you can see, so please judge how much you need. You don't need expensive balsamic vinegars but choose one of decent quality please. I think half the recipe would suffice for the amount of biscuits above, but you decide the ratio of fruit to biscuit.


2 pints of strawberries (about 600g)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp sugar

Toss everything together and leave for 30 minutes. Although this isn't completely necessary, squish some of the strawberries with the back of your fork. 

This shortcake is linked to Sweets for a Saturday #10 and Sweet Tooth Friday!


  1. Those look like a super delicious way to enjoy the fresh strawberries this spring. And I like that it's such a light dessert. I'd like to invite you to stop by and link them up to Sweets for a Saturday #10. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/03/sweets-for-saturday-10.html

  2. what a great idea! Homemade biscuits are so much better than store bought.

    I hope you'll stop by and share this recipe on my linky, Sweet Tooth Friday! http://alli-n-son.com/2011/03/24/chocolate-donuts/