Fresh berries are everywhere. I love them all. But I have to say, strawberries are my favorite.
Every since I was a young child, I knew this to be a fact.
And not just anything strawberry. I mean..none of that strawberry 'flavored' stuff. I need the real thing. Fresh, ripe red, sweet strawberries.
I found a recipe for Old-fashioned Strawberry Shortcake in a really super old cookbook called The American Woman Cookbook. Its a wonderful book, and fun to have around. I did make a few revisions, but kept the basics as they have been for over 70 yrs.
Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake
2 cups sifted flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoon dutch cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup shortening
6 oz chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups sliced strawberries
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
powdered sugar to garnish
Preheat oven to 450' F
Warm the milk just enough to dissolve the instant coffee in. Place in the fridge to cool.
Sift the flour. Then sift the flour with the baking powder, salt, sugar and cocoa powder. With a fork or pastry blender, cut the shortening into the dough to form crumbles. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the chilled coffee and milk mixture gradually into the flour crumbles to form a soft dough.
On a lightly floured surface, form dough into a ball. Roll out to about 1/2 thick and cut into desired sized circles. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush the tops with some of the melted butter (reserve the rest for serving).
Bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash, hull and slice your fresh strawberries. Mix with the vanilla extract and set aside until ready to serve.
Once the "muffins" are ready, let cool just long enough to handle without burning your hand. With a fork, split the muffins in half. Generously brush each side with melted butter.
Fill with whipped cream, strawberries, and dust with powdered sugar.
What's so timeless about this dessert isn't because it's been around for a long time. Not because there are cartoon characters named after it. Nor is it because it's quick and easy to make.
It's because the muffin, even though in this case is loaded with chocolate, remains a supporting character. It's not sweet and it's not over bearing. It allows the strawberry do with it does best. Shine. With it's natural beauty and sweetness that confirms to all that spring and summer are among us.