RECIPE: STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE WITH ORANGE WHIPPED CREAM FOR NATIONAL STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE DAY!

Growing up, my dad would always answer the phone: "Duffy's Tavern, where the elite meet and eat!" Then he would proceed to ask the caller (no matter who it was) if they wanted to come over for some strawberry shortcake. Well, we would rarely actually have strawberry shortcake... but for some reason, my dad thought his little joke was so funny. I did NOT think it was very funny when there was a boy on the phone for me.... And guests probably did not think it was very funny when he would offer it to them and there wasn't any. My mom would save the day because she always had some sort of homemade dessert in the kitchen; a cobbler or maybe a fresh batch of fried pies so nobody was ever terribly disappointed. Strawberry Shortcake was always saved for special occasions and my dad STILL loves it,,, and now I love it when he asks people that crazy question. (That's me with my sweet dad.)

A few years ago, I worked with Driscoll's Berries on a National Strawberry Shortcake Day promotion... their shortcake recipe was so good, I don't see the need to change it.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE WITH ORANGE WHIPPED CREAM

(Shortcake recipe courtesy of Driscoll's Berries)

Makes 8-12 servings

Shortcake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup low fat buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Strawberries and Orange Scented Whipped Cream:

2 (16-ounce) packages Driscoll’s strawberries, divided

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups cold whipping cream or heavy cream

1/2 cup Confectioners sugar

`1 teaspoon grated fresh orange zest

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier orange liqueur (optional but very delicious)

DIRECTIONS:

For the shortcake: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.

Combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract and stir into the flour mixture until just moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 4-5 times with floured hands. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle and transfer to the prepared cake pan. Gently press down on the dough until it fills the bottom of the pan and the center has a slight depression. Brush the top with the yolk and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 21-23 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove shortcake from the pan and cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes.

For the strawberry filling: From 1 package set aside 11 berries with a stem on, remove the stems and halve the remaining strawberries then toss with 1 tablespoon sugar in a bowl. Remove the stems from the strawberries in the remaining package and leave whole. 

For the Orange Scented Whipping Cream: Combine the heavy cream, Confectioners sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and orange liqueur, and orange zest in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer on high to stiff peaks.

To assemble: Carefully split shortcake in half horizontally using a serrated knife. Place the bottom half of the shortcake, cut side up, on a cake plate and spread with 1 1/2 cups whipped cream. Arrange stemmed whole strawberries around the edge of the shortcake with the points facing in the same direction in a slightly overlapping layer. Spoon the halved strawberries into the center of the shortcake. Spread 1 cup whipped cream over strawberries and place top of shortcake; cut side down, on top. With the remaining whipped cream make 8 evenly spaced dollops around the edge of the top of the short cake and one slightly larger one in the center. Rest one untrimmed berry, with the point facing in the opposite direction the first layer, on each dollop around the edge and the 3 remaining on the center dollop. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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COOKIE RECIPE: OLD FASHIONED PECAN SANDIES

My dad has always loved these cookies! Pecan Sandies are a such classic and I had totally forgotten about them until I ran across my mom's recipe. Buttery, pecan goodness- the cookies just melt in your mouth! Making them brought back a lot of memories... I know I keep saying this but cooking with your kids and sharing treasured family recipes creates memories that will last forever. This is a great batter to mix up and keep in the fridge or freezer. Just slice and bake as needed!
 

OLD FASHIONED PECAN SANDIES

Prep Time: 20 minutes     Cook Time: 19-22 minutes

Yield: 3-4 dozen, depending on size

INGREDIENTS

2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (4 sticks /  1 pound of butter)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup Confectioners sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Before you start, know this is a dense dough. If it is crumbly, do not be tempted to add more liquid or butter. Use your hands to shape it; mold it into a log and chill. It WILL turn out.

Cream butter and granulated sugar together for 3 minutes on medium speed of your mixer. Reduce speed. Gradually add the Confectioners sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Increase the speed to medium and add the water and the vanilla and beat well. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour. Turn off the mixer and remove from the stand. Fold in the pecans. Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap. (the dough may be crumbly; don't worry) Shape the dough with your hands and roll into a log. Chill for at least one hour.

Slice into discs. Put them onto the prepared sheet about 2” apart. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit  for 15-17 minutes or until bottom of the cookie is golden. Don't allow it to brown; you simply want the edges to color. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with more Confectioners sugar, if desired.

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MY TOP 5 BISCUIT RECIPES FOR NATIONAL BISCUITS AND GRAVY DAY

FEBRUARY 21 IS NATIONAL BISCUITS AND GRAVY DAY!

What could be a better way to start the weekend than with biscuits and gravy? Here are four of my favorite biscuit recipes from my blog and a very entertaining interview with Alton Brown by William Shatner as Alton makes biscuits and gravy. His famous Ma Mae's biscuit and gravy recipe is below.

MOM'S WEEKNIGHT BUTTERMILK BISCUITS The recipe my mom made most often. While she never wrote it down, I made these with her so many times, I doubt I will ever forget how to make them. Get the recipe...

THREE INGREDIENT WHIPPING CREAM BISCUITS My mom would make these biscuits at times if she wanted to serve Strawberry Shortcake and had no cake. They are not sweet but certainly sweeter than buttermilk biscuits. Get the recipe...

BACON CHEDDAR BISCUITS While the texture of these wonderful bites is more like a muffin than a biscuit, take care to make them when you have a crowd or you will eat the entire batch. Get the recipe...

BISCUITS AND CHOCOLATE GRAVY It is said that women living on farms around North Alabama would make chocolate gravy for leftover breakfast biscuits as a treat for the children when they could not afford sweets or desserts. Now, they are more of a brunch item. Made with cocoa and sugar, they are affordable yet rustic decadence. Get the recipe...

ALTON BROWN'S BISCUITS AND GRAVY RECIPE Alton makes his Ma Mae's biscuits and gravy for William Shatner during an episode of Shatner's Brown Bag Tastings. For Alton, a booze and Star Trek lover, that experience must have been the pinnacle. Watch the episode if you want a chuckle. They don't walk through the recipe but Alton does share quite a lot about himself during his chat with Shatner. Get the recipe or watch the video.