Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake Tips
What’s the difference between shortcake and biscuits?
Shortcake is derived from an old English version of the word "short," but was not meant to imply a diminutive pastry. Back then, "short" referred a baked good that was made crisp with the addition of fat, traditionally butter or lard. Shortcake, as we know it today, is a crisp, crumbly cake usually made with butter, although some recipes may call for shortening. Its crispy exterior and soft, flaky interior have a texture similar to traditional biscuits and scones.
Does my butter have to be cold?
Yes! The secret to flaky biscuits is to keep the butter cold. Pieces of cold butter create steam pockets as they melt, lofting the dough layers. Not sure which brand of butter to buy? Here are some of the best butter brands
, according to our Test Kitchen.
What other fillings or flavors can I add to this recipe?
There are so many possibilities! While strawberries are the most popular, you can easily switch up the flavors with raspberries, blueberries, cranberries or blackberries. Bananas and stone fruits such as peaches and nectarines also make divine fillers. Try Mixed Fruit Shortcakes
for a delicious blend of several kinds of fruit.
Keep in mind that most fruit fillings require mixing with granulated sugar to macerate—which draws out the fruit’s juices, so it become soft, sweet and saucy—and sometimes a splash of lemon or orange juice. We recommend seeking out a specific filling recipe if needed. For a chocolate twist, add a dollop of hazelnut spread to the bottom of the biscuits or mix in a few drops of chocolate syrup with your whipped cream.
What shortcuts can I use for this easy shortcake recipe?
If you need to whip up dessert in a hurry, rely on a convenient store-bought biscuit/baking mix, such as Bisquick, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for baking. A large tube (16.3 oz.) of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits will yield equally good results. If all else fails, slices of pre-made pound cake or angel food cake work, too. We love fresh berries, but if you’re pressed for time or the berries are starting to look moldy or shriveled (fresh strawberries, in particular, have a short seasonal window), pick up a 16 oz. container of frozen sweetened sliced strawberries. Pie filling in the flavor of your choice will also work in a pinch. There’s nothing like the soft, billowy peaks of freshly whipped cream, but if time isn’t on your side, store-bought whipped topping works fine, too. —Amy Glander, Taste of Home Books Editor, contributed to this article
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