Build Your Strawberry Shortcake on Biscuits Instead

Build Your Strawberry Shortcake on Biscuits Instead

Whether we’re eating at home or dining out, my family never skips dessert, and we’re pretty good at ordering the best item on the menu. The first time I went to the Cheesecake Factory with my father, he blew my mind by skipping the namesake treat entirely and ordering the strawberry shortcake instead. “They make it with a biscuit instead of cake,” he explained.

I was young, dumb, and full of cheesecake, and slightly confused. How could a biscuit be better than cake in a dessert setting? But then I took a bite from my dad’s veritable platter of “shortcake,” and I immediately understood. He was right. The biscuit made it better.

Knowing what I know now, this makes sense: Sweet on sweet on sweet may seem enticing, but such configurations can quickly turn cloying, saturating the palate after only a few bites. A buttery, unsweetened, slightly salty biscuit provides contrast for a pile of ripe, sweetened berries and whipped cream, which prevents sugar overload and invites you to keep on eating.

How to choose the best biscuit for your strawberry shortcake

The first thing you need to do is decide how much effort you are willing to exert: You can buy frozen biscuits, make them from a mix, or bake them up from scratch. If you want to outsource the entirety of the labour, Southern Living recommends Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits (the decadent luxury option) or Mary B’s Buttermilk Biscuits, which are more affordable, but still “exceptionally soft,” with an outside that “has the crispy texture that comes from shortening in a biscuit.”

Set yourself up for biscuit success:

If you want to make your own, I’m partial to the White Lily recipe (White Lily is the South’s favourite biscuit flour); I also enjoy Stella Parks Buttermilk Biscuits, but you’ll have to buy her book to access the recipe (a purchase you will not regret). If you’re a drop biscuit fan, this recipe from Serious Eats is a good one. If you’re short on time, these two-ingredient cream biscuits are way better than they have any right to be, and will have you questioning why you bothered with more elaborate recipes. If you want a super tender biscuit with a nutty, caramelized flavour, try these oat flour beauties. You have a lot of options.

How to build your biscuit-based strawberry shortcake

Strawberry shortcake has three main components: Strawberries that have been sweetened in some way, a carby base (in this case, biscuits), and a creamy topping (whipped cream, ice cream, things of this nature).

There are a number of ways to configure your summery dessert:

  • Dead simple: Toss sliced strawberries in sugar (6 tablespoons per quart) and let them macerate while you make your biscuits. Whip some cream with a splash of vanilla extract and as much or as little powdered sugar as your palate desires. Split the biscuits and top with strawberries and whipped cream.
  • For a creamy topping with staying power (and a little tang): Fold some sour cream and a little almond extract into whipped heavy cream. Build as described above.
  • For extra strawberry flavour and very little effort: Skip the sugar and toss fresh berries with strawberry jam.

Vanilla ice cream is also a good choice, especially when it supplements, instead of replaces, the whipped cream. There is, after all, no reason to choose. When you have a butter biscuit as your base, you can pile on the sweet with wild abandon.

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