Jun 26 2011
As a kid, I didn’t like strawberry shortcake. Oh, I loved strawberries. But the shortcake, not so much.
You see, I’d only tried strawberry shortcake at my grandma’s house. She would always make her “baking powder biscuits,” which tasted like, well, baking powder. My grandma can make a mean pie, great cookies, and amazing pan-fried chicken…but those biscuits? Well, let’s just say they were not to my liking.
Next, I tried those little sponge cakes. Maybe you’ve seen them at the grocery store – they always come in packs of four. They were okay, but they really, really soaked up the strawberry juice and became a bit soggy. Better, but not something that would incite a craving.
Then I tried strawberries with angel food cake. Now that combination was magic, though not technically “shortcake”, as B has repeatedly pointed out to me.
He liked the shortcake recipe on the back of the Bisquick box (using – you guessed it – Bisquick), and talked me into trying it when he made some. Know what? It’s good. I’ve even made it a few times myself since then.
But a few years ago, as I flipped through the pages of Bon Appetit and spied a recipe for chocolate shortcakes, I was transfixed. I knew the time had come to try my hand at making strawberry shortcake, even if the shortcake included chocolate. Hey, it’s still a shortcake, so it counts, right? RIGHT?
Since that time, I also happened to see an interesting recipe in the Bon Appetit Desserts cookbook, which is where I found the inspiration for the white chocolate mousse, even though it didn’t turn out as I had hoped.
How could I have forgotten that white chocolate ganache needs to be brought to 70*F before being chilled (not exactly easy in the summer), or bits of chocolate will separate out? I mean, that’s only happened to me twice before at Christmas when making these truffles – you’d think I’d remember such an issue.
I’ve updated the mousse instructions so they should work, based on my previous experiences. I also added a recipe for whipped cream, in case you want to forgo the mousse.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup chilled whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400*F. Line baking sheet with parchment.
Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat cream and vanilla to stiff peaks. Stir cream into dry ingredients until moist. Dump contents onto a floured board and knead until the dough forms a ball. Pat dough into 3/4 inch thickness and use a 3 inch round cutter (a glass would work, too) to form biscuits. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Pat out remaining dough and cut additional biscuits to a total of 6.
Bake 15 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
2 pounds small strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add strawberries to a large bowl, with sugar and vanilla. Gently stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours for juices to form, stirring occasionally.
White Chocolate Mousse
8 ounces white chocolate (chopped or use wafers)
1 2/3 cups chilled whipping cream
Combine white chocolate and 2/3 cup cream in a heavy medium sized saucepan over low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted, remove from heat. Cool until temperature reaches 70F, stirring occasionally.*
Whip cream in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold half the cream into the chocolate, then fold in remaining cream. Cover and chill 2 hours (or more).
*I’ve had to relearn this lesson over and over when it comes to making a ganache out of white chocolate. You MUST let the ganache cool to 70*F – no cheating! – or the texture will go crazy once you refrigerate it. Think I’m exaggerating? Take a look at this picture:
I followed the original recipe’s instructions, and cooled the ganache for 30 minutes. It felt cool to the touch, so I proceeded with folding in the whipped cream. The result looks more like ice cream, and tasted…not good. Waste of good chocolate.
1 cup chilled whipping cream
Whip cream in chilled bowl (set a stainless steel bowl & whisk in the freezer for 5 minutes for best results) until soft peaks form. On medium-low speed, add confectioners’ sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until desired sweetness is reached. Increase speed and whip to soft peaks.