INDIANAPOLIS - One of my favorite times of the year is strawberry season. Farmer's markets and grocery produce aisles are filled with the scents of the fresh fruit and roadside stands pop up around the country laden with the luscious delights.
From strawberry pie to strawberry cobbler to jars of jellies and jams, the possibilities of desserts and dishes to make are endless. And of course, the mere simplicity of a plain bowl of succulently sweet strawberries can't be topped – except, maybe, with some whipped cream.
Not only are strawberries a taste bud delight, they are also chock full of goodness for your body. They contain a ton of Vitamin C, are high in antioxidants and are low in calories.
At the top of my list is strawberry shortcake. This dish is a long-standing tradition in my family during strawberry season and has graced many a family dessert table.
Usually, the assembly includes a biscuit-like cake made with butter, heavy cream and whipped cream, and then topped off with a heaping helping of homemade whipped cream.
However, you can make this dish with a healthy twist with just a few substitutions without losing any of the decadent delicious taste.
3 pints halved strawberries, divided
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
3 tbs. chilled stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup fat-free buttermilk
2 tbs. fat-free sour cream
8 oz. fat-free Greek yogurt
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whole strawberries for garnish
For the filling, you'll want to mix together one cup strawberry halves, ¼ cup sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and lemon juice in a bowl and roughly mash them. Stir in remaining strawberry halves, cover and let chill.
Preheat oven to 425°.
For the cake, blend together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender, fork or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Next, slowly add the buttermilk, stirring just until moist and dough is sticky.
Lightly flour a clean surface and turn out your cake dough, kneading lightly several times. Flour your hands to help keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.
Gently press the dough into a rectangle and cut it into equal squares. This recipe makes about 6-9 squares.
Place roughly one inch apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 425° for about 12 minutes or until the cakes begin to brown.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
For the topping, mix together the sour cream, yogurt and vanilla and whisk until the mixture starts to bulk up a bit.
Add the powdered sugar slowly, a tablespoon at a time. Chill until you are ready to assemble your dessert.
When the cakes have cooled, split in half horizontally, placing the bottom half on a dessert plate. Spoon the chilled strawberry filling over each bottom half. Place the tops of the shortcakes on top of the filling. Drizzle more filling or add fresh strawberries for garnish, finishing off your dessert with a big dollop of topping.
For more on food and for more recipes check out twinklevanwinkle.com.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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