Chocolate-Strawberry Shortcakes

It seems like strawberries are in season all year round in Southern California, but strawberries are now truly in season at the local farmers’ markets now during the early months of summer.

It would be a crime to cook fresh strawberries in the summer. Fresh, super sweet, sometimes tangy strawberries should be enjoyed exactly as they are. Well, almost… you see I’m a sucker for great Strawberry Shortcake. This recipe was edited out of my new book because of space limitations. I didn’t want it to get lost so I am including it here.

The chocolate biscuits bring an additional flavor thrill to this classic springtime dessert.

Ingredients

4 cups sliced strawberries

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 beaten eggs

1/4 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing

1/4 cup of buttermilk

1 tablespoon crystalline sugar

1 1/2 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

2 teaspoons Grand Marnier

1/4 cup chocolate sauce

Directions:

For the Strawberries

1. Put about one-third of the strawberries in a medium bowl and, using a potato masher, crush them into a chunky puree.

2. Slice the remaining berries 1/4 inch thick and stir them into the mashed berries.

3. Add the granulated sugar and let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

For the Shortcake Biscuits

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450ºF.

2. Line a large, heavy baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.

4. Cut in the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

5. Combine eggs and 1/4 cup cream and buttermilk; add wet mixture all at once to flour mixture and stir until just moistened.

6. Gather the dough and knead three or four times. Do not over-mix.

7. Using a scoop drop the dough into 6 portions onto the prepared baking sheet.

8. Lightly brush the tops with the additional cream and sprinkle the crystalline sugar on the tops of the biscuits.

9. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool slightly on a wire rack.

For the Whipped Cream

1. In a large, chilled, metal bowl and using chilled beaters whip the cream and sugar to soft peaks with an electric hand mixer.

2. Add the vanilla and Grand Marnier and mix well.

Assembly

1. Using a serrated knife, split the warm biscuits in half horizontally and transfer the bottoms to 6 dessert plates.

2. Spoon about 3 quarters of the macerated berries and juice evenly over the biscuit bottoms. Don’t worry if some of the berries or juice spill onto the plate.

3. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and cover each with a biscuit top.

4. Spoon more whipped cream and berries over the shortcake tops.

5. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and serve immediately.