I have a confession to make. Those spongy little shortcake cups that you find strategically placed near the strawberries at the supermarket? I love them. They were most likely baked somewhere very far away, much longer ago than I care to guess, but still, they hold a special place in my heart. Strawberry shortcake has always been one of my favorite desserts. Sweet, tart, and textured, it was a summertime staple to follow many weekend dinners in my family. In an attempt to gastronomically mature, I branched out a bit and tried several variations of the dessert over the years, substituting my beloved little yellow sponge cakes with buttermilk biscuits, angel food cake, and puff pastry. But nothing that I tried could measure up to the perfectly shaped, sticky-sweet vessels that I so adored. That is, until now.
The welcome arrival of an early spring, much to my delight, also means an early start to strawberry season. Recently, the berries in the grocery store have started looking edible again, and that calls for celebration in my book. This recipe’s “almond-oat” title piqued my interest, and the result was a shortcake more perfect than I could have imagined. The “cake” itself resembles a thick shortbread cookie, but lighter and softer. When assembled, the shortcake soaks up the juices from the sugar-marinated strawberries making for a moist, yet slightly crumbly base for the dessert. The almonds and oats lend a nutty, savory flavor to the shortcakes, leaving the saccharine aspect of this treat to the fluffy whipped cream and fresh strawberries glistening with grains of sugar.
The cellophane-wrapped sponge cups are officially banned from my kitchen, because these shortcakes are my new go-to. They’re short and sweet…just how I like my men….err, desserts.
Hannah Doolin is a magazine journalism major at Syracuse University. She loves giraffes, new nail polish colors, and flip-flop weather.
Almond-Oat Strawberry Shortcakes
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Instead of using a food processor, I used the world’s greatest kitchen utensil: my Magic Bullet. You may need to divide the dry ingredients into two batches in order to pulse them, but it worked just fine.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup chilled heavy cream, divided, plus more for brushing
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
Preheat over to 375°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse flour, oats, almonds, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until finely ground.
Add butter; pulse until only pea-size pieces remain. Add 1/2 cup cream and 1 tsp. vanilla; pulse until large moist clumps form. (After pulsing in the butter, I stirred the other wet ingredients in by hand, which worked just as well.) Transfer to a work surface.
Knead until dough comes together, about 4 turns. Pat into a 4×6″ rectangle. Halve lengthwise, then crosswise into thirds. Arrange on prepared baking sheet. Brush with cream; sprinkle with 1/2 Tbsp. sugar.
Bake, rotating sheet halfway through cooking, until golden brown around edges and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Set biscuits on a wire rack; let cool. Biscuits can be made 8 hours ahead. Store cooled biscuits airtight at room temperature.
Meanwhile, combine strawberries, and 1 tablespoon sugar, in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Let strawberries sit, tossing often, until juices release. Whisk 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl until peaks form.
Cut warm or room-temperature biscuits in half; place bottom halves on plates. Divide whipped cream and strawberries over. Top with remaining biscuit halves.