Thursday, February 19, 2015

Nutella Strawberry Shortcake

It's Thursday again!  Hello, everyone!  Is it just me, or does 2015 already seem to be flying by?  My husband and I were going over our calendar, and by the time the dust settles around here, it's going to be June, we (for now) have a seemingly slow summer, then the holidays are here again, and it's 2016!  All you seem to hear while you're growing up, "Time flies as you get older!  Just you wait!"   And, of course, as you get older, you want it to fly can't wait to do everything adults do; they make it look so fun.
Now that I'm a full fledged adult (when did that happen?!), I like to look back over my favorite foods as a kid, and try to get some of that time back, even as it whizzes past me at lightening speed.
When I was a kid, one of my favorite desserts (aside from ice cream, of course) was hands down strawberry shortcake.  The sweet biscuit, strawberries and whipped cream....I just could not imagine a better end to my day.
Now, one of my daughters favorite books is, "The Poky Little Puppy", and if I've read that book once, I've read it a million times per day (easily twice per day, most days, for the last 3 years), not counting the amount of times I read it as a kid!  One of the things that the poky little puppy sees is a ripe, red strawberry, and he somehow automatically knows that the humans back home are making strawberry shortcake; they rush home and...well, I'm not going to give away the end of the story, in case you haven't read it!  

I don't do spoilers!
So, as my daughter and I were making the biscuits for this, she asked what we were making, and I said, "We're making the biscuits for some strawberry shortcakes!"
Instantly, her face lights up, and she says, "Like my book!  "The Poky Little Puppy"!!!"
I love how much she loves to help me in the kitchen (I literally cannot even go into the kitchen for a glass of water, without her trailing behind me, asking what we're going to cook).  She's learning to knead breads, do math, whisk...she's learning so much, and growing so fast, and I'm so, so thankful that we have digital cameras.  I can take thousands of pictures, and have, and not have to worry about how much it's going to cost to get them developed, or if one turned out blurry, or I managed to just capture the back of her head as she's turning away from the camera, that it's a waste of a picture.
In today's digital era, I can look at it as soon as I take the picture, and delete if needed.  I've saved tons of the blurry ones, though, because it just shows that she's in constant movement.  Constantly growing, running, and learning...
Wow!  I seem to have gotten a bit off track!  Strawberry shortcake!  That's why we're here, right?  I kept to a pretty traditional recipe, but tweaked it just a bit, to include some Nutella.  I didn't have Nutella as a kid, but now that I have it, I can't imagine strawberries without it!
Here's your grocery list;
For the shortcakes:
2 C All purpose flour, plus some for dusting
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, fresh out of the fridge
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 C milk, plus 1 Tbs.

1 quart of fresh strawberries, sliced
Whipped cream (either freshly whipped, or store bought)

To start off with, in a medium sized mixing bowl, put your flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in, and whisk these together, making sure that they are well mixed; set this aside.

There are two important steps to getting a tender, flaking biscuit with this recipe: the first, is to keep the butter as cold as possible, and the second, is to knead this dough as little as possible before cutting.  But, first things first, the butter.  Since this will have to be cut in (I went over how to "cut in" in my homemade tortilla post) as quickly as possible, I use a pastry blender, but you can use two knives to "scissor" in the butter, or even use your fingers to work the butter into the flour.  However, a quick word of caution, if using your fingers, only use the very tips of your fingers, otherwise your body heat will cause the butter to warm up, and you want the keep the butter as cold as possible.
You want to cut this in, so that the butter is mostly pea sized; if there are bits that are bigger, that's okay, but you want them mostly pea sized.  Make a well in your flour/butter mixture, and set aside for a moment.
I like to cut my butter up with a knife before tossing it in.  Kind of giving it a head start.

Now that your butter has been cut into the flour, lightly beat your egg with your milk, and add it to the well in your flour/butter mix.  Mix it, until it just comes together; since you will be kneading this next, you don't want to overwork it in the bowl.  It will look lumpy, bumpy, and you may have some flour leftover in the bowl.  No worries.

This dough will look like it won't come together.  You'll dump it out onto your work surface (that has been dusted with flour, right?  Yes, okay, just checking), and it will look like a hot mess.  This is fine.  This is normal.  This is what you want.  Just lightly knead it for a couple of minutes, just until it comes together.  This will take about 2 minutes, or so.  Once I got it together, my daughter took over the kneading and finished it off.  I figured there wasn't much damage a 3 year old could do, especially since this doesn't need a lot of elbow grease.

Once your dough has come together, pat it down into about a 1" disk, and use your biscuit cutter to cut out your biscuits.  Don't have a biscuit cutter?  No problem, just flip a drinking glass upside down and use that.  I've done that numerous times.

I was cutting the biscuits, and my daughter was putting them on the baking sheet (ungreased, and parchment paper isn't necessary); you can see her little hand there in the picture.  Try to get as many biscuits cut out on your first go 'round with the dough, and roll the scraps back together and cut out some more; so on and so forth until you don't have any dough left.  We had two tiny little scraps left, that my daughter wanted to make Mickey Mouse ears with on one of the biscuits.  You can put these directly into a 425* preheated oven, and bake them for 10-20 minutes, or, I like to pop them into the fridge and let them rest for at least an hour, up to....well, all day, really, if you want.  I usually let them rest for two to three hours.  Aside from being able to do this ahead of time, this also allows the butter to firm back up, in case it has gotten a little soft with all of the handling.  
Right after I put the biscuits into the fridge, I pull the strawberries out.  I have very sensitive teeth, and do not like having cold fruit, so I like to pull it out, so it's room temperature by the time I'm ready to eat it.  Slice your strawberries up, and put about 1 Tbs of granulated sugar on top of them, and give them a stir; set these aside for a couple of hours, so that the sugar begins to break the berries down, and make a syrup in the bottom of the bowl.

Once you're ready to bake your biscuits off, preheat your oven to 425*, and pull them out of the fridge.  Lightly brush the tops of your biscuits with the 1 Tbs of milk, and sprinkle the tops with a little bit of sugar.  Pop them into the oven, and bake for 10-20 minutes (a big gap here, depending on how cold your biscuits are to begin with).  Once they have just begun to turn brown, pull them out, let them cool on the pan for a couple of minutes, then move to a cooling rack, to cool completely.  

After they have cooled completely, put some of the Nutella in a zip top bag, and cut the corner off.  This is the easiest way for me to get the Nutella onto the biscuit, without tearing the biscuit up in the process.  Layer on your strawberry slices, then dollop generously with the whipped cream.
Funny story here.  I went grocery shopping, and totally forgot to grab the heavy cream.  My husband went out a couple of days later, and said he would pick it up.  Okie doke, no problem.  Except he couldn't find it.
He texted me, saying that he'd found the whipping cream, and I said that would be fine.  I wanted the heavy cream, because I was had a couple of other recipes I'm going to work on, and heavy cream and whipping cream are pretty interchangeable.
He came home with no cream, though, because he said he couldn't find the heavy cream.
Some cream is better than no cream, but I had no cream.
Thankfully, while I was at the store, I did pick up a tub of Cool Whip, though, because one of my husbands favorite desserts is sliced strawberries with Cool Whip.
So, I didn't have any cream to whip up for myself, but I did have some Cool Whip.  

Anyway, put your whipped cream on, and top off with the top of the biscuit, and garnish as you wish!  Even dusting with some powdered sugar would be lovely.  

....there were no leftovers....