I can’t even tell you how excited I was when we saw (and smelled!) fresh, ripe, local strawberries the other day. It was like surprise Kate Spade sale-level excitement. And then I found a bag of White Lily self-rising flour. O.M.G.
It was like God wanted me to make strawberry shortcakes and share them with you.
So… I did.
Three things you should know about this recipe:
1. You can totally do this. It’s really easy and doesn’t even take that long. I promise.
2. Everything here is from scratch, but if you run out of heavy cream it’s fine to drag the Cool Whip out of the freezer, stick it in a bowl and pretend you whipped it yourself.
3. You only need four ingredients for the whole thing (not counting Cool Whip).
One other thing: If you can get local strawberries at the grocery store/farmer’s market/whatever, or pick your own (or have your amazing neighbor pick some for you), do it. You won’t regret it. But if you can only get the regular, not-that-great strawberries that are available year round, then sprinkle a little extra sugar on top and let them sit for a bit longer to bring out some of the juice.
Red all the way through = awesome.
OK. Now you may be starting to worry about the biscuits. Please don’t. This is as easy as using biscuit mix. You don’t have to cut cold butter into tiny pieces or fold the dough like a business letter. You don’t even need a rolling pin.
All you have to do is pour some heavy cream into some self-rising flour and mix it just enough for it to form a sticky, wet dough ball.
You just use your hands to pat it into a circle, fold that in half and pat it out again. Then cut the biscuits out using a biscuit cutter or the mouth of a glass.
I should tell you that I made cream biscuits once before, and while they weren’t bad, they also weren’t super fluffy. I don’t really know why that was, but I have a feeling I stirred and kneaded and man-handled the dough too much. Just pat, fold and cut. Then, instead of rolling the scraps up in to a ball, just smoosh them together and pat them down again. It’s totally fine if they look a little raggedy when you put them on the baking sheet. Check out this slideshow on Serious Eats if you’re still worried about it.
I totally made these for dinner (don’t judge), then made them again the next night when we had about a dozen people over for a last-minute party. People were raving about them, and it seriously took about 20 minutes, including bake time.
Do try to get White Lily or Southern Biscuit self-rising flour, if at all possible. They’re made of softer, lower-protein, lower-gluten wheat, which means lighter, flakier shortcakes. If you can’t find that, try self-rising cake flour. And let me know how yours turn out!
Four-ingredient strawberry shortcakes (You can easily tweak the measurements based on your needs, but what is listed below should make about 9 large [not enormous] shortcakes. Adapted from Serious Eats and the Magnolias cookbook)
1 pint ripe strawberries
2 -3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
1 – 2 pints heavy (whipping) cream
Hull and quarter the strawberries and place the pieces in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar (more if they aren’t very ripe) and stir. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the flour in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon sugar and stir. Pour 1 cup heavy cream into the middle of the flour mixture. Stir just a little, then add more cream if the dough isn’t coming together or is still very dry. Use your hands to get everything into a very rough ball, then immediately turn out onto a clean, floured work surface.
Pat the dough down with the palms of your hands, then fold that in half and pat it down again until the circle or rectangle (whichever you prefer) is about 3/4 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter or mouth of a glass to cut out rounds, leaving as few scraps behind as possible. Place the unbaked biscuits on a cookie sheet.
Layer the scraps on top of each other and pat back down to about 3/4-inch thick. Cut out as many biscuits as possible. Repeat if necessary.
Bake biscuits at 400 F for 8-10 minutes, until they begin to turn golden brown on top. Remove from oven.
Whip remaining heavy cream (with an additional tablespoon or two of sugar, if desired) until it holds peaks. Spoon strawberry mixture (including some juice) and whipped cream into a split biscuit to serve.