Fourth of July Strawberry Shortcakes

Dede WilsonDede WilsonI recently did a TV segment on The Weather Channel making strawberry shortcakes. While filming, I wanted to feed the crew, so I made a few dozen individual portions in jars, since they would be easy for them to carry around the studio.

Well, those mini-jarred versions weren't even supposed to make it on the air, but they did, and everyone went nuts over them. Before that moment, I never realized how great strawberry shortcakes are in a jar. You get all the goodness of the classic dessert - sweetened biscuits, whipped cream, and strawberries - all in an easy-to-carry container. Made at least a couple hours ahead of time, the sugared berries start exuding even more juice and it soaks down into the biscuits. And, well, you know the saying that goes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? Yup, that's these: strawberry shortcakes-in-a-jar.

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This is perfect for the Fourth of July, when so many of us are outdoors, either in our own yard or visiting friends. The jars can be covered and stacked in a cooler so they even make a great potluck or picnic dessert. Keep track of the jars as they can be re-used for another time. The jars are also great because there's also natural portion control, too - as long as you can keep it to one per person. For shopping, note that you need one pound of strawberries plus nine more for garnish.

Strawberry Shortcakes in Jars Recipe


INGREDIENTS:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 pound strawberries, preferably small to medium-sized, plus 9 extra, sliced in half vertically, for garnish

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DIRECTIONS:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and set aside. Measure the mouth of the ½-pint clear glass canning jars you'll use and choose a cookie cutter that will allow the shortcakes to fit, but are as wide as possible (I used a 2-inch cutter).

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix briefly on low speed using the flat paddle attachment to combine. Grate the chilled butter on the large holes of a box grater directly into the bowl. Mix on low-medium speed until the butter is distributed evenly, but there are still pockets of butter, which is desirable. Slowly add the milk, with the mixer running, and mix just until the dough comes together in large clumps and there is no dry mixture left on the bottom of the bowl. Do not overmix. You can whisk the dry mixture together in a bowl, cut the butter in with a pastry blender and mix the milk in with a large rubber spatula if you want to do it by hand.

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Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead very gently just until the dough comes together. Pat it gently into a flat rectangle about ½-inch. Cut out shortcakes using cookie or biscuit cutter. You won't get them all done at once. Gently re-form the dough to cut out the remaining shortcakes. Arrange the shortcakes on the prepared pan, evenly spaced apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops and bottoms are very lightly colored golden brown. Cool on the pan set on a rack. Use immediately or shortcakes may be stored at room temperature for up to 8 hours, loosely wrapped in foil.

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Remove the stems from 1 pound of the strawberries. Slice vertically into thin slices; place in mixing bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of sugar and allow to sit for 15 minutes or until berries have exuded juice and sugar is dissolved. Fold juice and berries together well.

At least 1 hour before serving and up to 6 hours ahead, whip the cream and confectioners' sugar for the topping in the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whip attachment on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Alternatively, you may whip by hand or with a hand-held electric mixer.

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Slice the shortcakes in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Place the bottom halves, cut side up, in the bottom of the jars. Spoon over a generous dollop of cream, a few slices of strawberries with juice, then more cream. Crown that with shortcake top half, more cream, berries, cream and top with half a berry as garnish. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours. Cover with lids if traveling with them to a picnic. They pack well in a cooler.

Recipe Details:


Servings: 18
Cuisine: American

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-Dede Wilson, The Daily Meal