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Minty Strawberry Shortcakes

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

When my husband and I started dating in our early twenties, we traded off making Valentine’s Day dinner for each other. Sometimes the themes got elaborate, like the memorable Lady and the Tramp year, when I crumpled newspaper on the floor, lit red heart-shaded lamps, and cooked heart-shaped meatballs with spaghetti. Eventually, as life became busier, we opted for quiet, simple dinners at our favorite local restaurant. We reinstated the early ritual of cooking at home when Clyde was born, but were so bleary with new parenthood that we held our Valentine’s Day dinner a few months late, when strawberries were out in full force. My husband whipped up these strawberry shortcakes for dessert, cutting out each one by hand with small heart-shaped cookie cutters. It made my heart swoon: for someone who doesn’t bake often, he really made them with love. In this version, I’ve added mint to the strawberry for extra summer freshness.

Makes12 shortcakes

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Total Timeunder 2 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Equipmentfood processor

Mealdinner

Moodfestive, romantic

Taste and Texturebuttery, creamy, crisp, fruity, juicy, rich, sweet, tart

Type of Dishdessert

Ingredients

  • 2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) organic unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup organic buttermilk
  • ½ cup organic heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • 2 teaspoons grated organic lemon zest
  • Organic raw sugar, for sprinkling
  • 3 pints farm-fresh organic strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced organic mint
  • ¼ cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh organic lemon juice (use the lemon you zested for the shortcakes)
  • 1 pint organic heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to combine.

  2. Add the butter, a few cubes at a time, pulsing on and off-until the mixture looks like a coarse meal. This should take 20 to 40 seconds. Dump this mixture into a large bowl and set it aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, cream, and lemon zest. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture, stirring with a fork just until a dough forms.

  4. Lightly flour a work surface. Gently knead the dough on the floured surface a few times, until all the ingredients are combined. Form it into a disk. Place the disk on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly sprinkle the disk with flour, and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to ¾-inch thickness. Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.

  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Using 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutters, cut out the shortcakes as close together as possible, so that you’re using almost all the dough. Place the heart shapes at least 1½ inches apart on a baking sheet. Brush with cream and sprinkle with raw sugar for sparkle. Reroll the scraps, following the directions until all the dough is used up.

  7. Bake the shortcakes until they are pale, brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to place them on a wire cooling rack.

  8. While the shortcakes are cooling, combine all the strawberry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for about 30 minutes, until the strawberry juices come out. (You may need to drain the mixture before placing it on the shortcakes.)

  9. When you are ready to assemble the shortcakes, chill the metal bowl for a standing mixer (or if you’re using a hand mixer, a stainless-steel bowl) for about 10 minutes in the freezer. Pour the cream into the chilled bowl and beat with the whisk attachment on low speed, gradually increasing to high speed as the cream thickened, Slowly pour in the powdered sugar, and when the cream has thickened, add the pinch of salt and the vanilla. Continue beating until fully whipped.

  10. To assemble, slice the cooled shortcakes in half and arrange them on individual plates. Spoon ¼ cup or more of the strawberry-mint mixture onto the shortcake bottoms, and finish with a dollop of Vanilla Whipped Cream. Place the other halves of the shortcakes on top and devour!

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