Blogs > Cooking from Scratch

Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Monday, July 25, 2011

Simple Summer Shortcakes

I LOVE strawberry shortcake. AND, I'm an un-refuted, unapologetic food snob (especially when it comes to dessert). This week, I wanted to take advantage of the berries I had picked up (blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry) and make something special.

The thing about shortcakes is that they're a simple dessert, and lots of times, recipes for shortcake are COMPLICATED, because the way they're written is based on the pastry method (stay tuned for a future post about that), which is typically used to make biscuits, scones, and pie crust.

In my opinion, using the pastry method to make a simple dessert like a shortcake, especially in 100 degree heat (and don't forget to add the radient heat of your oven), is the wrong way to go about things. I prefer to make a simple drop biscuit, using the muffin method.

The muffin method is used, most obviously, for muffins, but also for crepes, pancakes, waffles, etc. The idea behind the muffin method is that you mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then bring them together in one bowl, folding the wet into the dry until they JUST come together. Don't worry if there are still a few lumps in the dough - I promise, it will be alright! Over-mixing will result in a heavy, dry, unappealing biscuit, so resist the urge to over-do it.

I found a recipe on a while ago (and don't start me on their recipes - they are just as wrong as any other website, but 38 times more complicated). Their method was correct, and, for the most part, their ingredient ratios were ok, but the oven temperature they recommended was WAY too hot. Here is my adaptation of their recipe. Feel free to make adaptations to mine (like adding the zest of an orange or lime, more sugar, etc.)

Simple Sweet Drop Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
3 Tb. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher or sea salt

8 Tb. butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup chilled buttermilk

*2 Tb. butter, melted to brush on the tops of the biscuits
*1/4 cup granulated sugar to sprinkle on the tops of the biscuits.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, and set aside. In another bowl, combine the 8 Tb. of butter and the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold gently together with a rubber spatula.

Spoon onto a parchment lined sheet pan, brush with additional melted butter, and sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake at a 450 degree oven until golden brown. Watch them very carefully.

For more information regarding the recipe, as well as instructional photos, visit our facebook page at

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