Summer is for shortcakes

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Hi! I have cream biscuit shortcakes today.

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I’ve always thought that strawberry shortcake is just about the most June dessert there is.  I love shortcakes in most any form with pretty much any fruit, but C and I both agreed this one in particular is about the most perfect iteration. We might be a little biased since we both are obsessed with these cream biscuits, but whatever – this is pretty perfect.

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Simple, unsweetened cornmeal cream biscuits for the base, unsweetened sliced strawberries (they are just so perfect right now!), and some ice cream or whipped cream to finish it off: such a perfect trifecta.

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I did a bit of baking on Saturday morning, which was a great way to start the day. A batch of cookies for C’s studio recital, and then shortcakes for later! No complaints there – it was a good day.

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We both agree that these biscuits are also the perfect morning biscuit – not sweet, just so satisfying. They’re crumbly and flakey in the best way and go wonderfully alongside anything you might eat toast with (ie eggs and kale!). Of course, we did that – are you shocked? Ha. I didn’t think so.

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I’ll keep it short and sweet today: do yourself a favor and whip these babies out! They come together and bake up quite speedily, which is a boon when it’s hot out and you don’t want to run the oven excessively. Happy baking!

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Cornmeal Cream Biscuit Strawberry Shortcakes

Lightly sweet, perfectly biscuity. Summer dessert at its finest and most simple! Whole grain and refined sugar free. Yield: 8 biscuits. I adapted this one from my previous cream biscuit recipe; a Wait are Those Cookies original.

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For the cream biscuits:

1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 c cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp unsalted cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 pint heavy cream + extra for brushing the tops of the biscuits
coconut sugar for sprinkling

For serving:

Sliced strawberries
Whipped cream or ice cream

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the butter using a fork, your fingers (my preferred method!) or a pastry cutter until the butter is the size of small peas. Stir in the cream and vanilla with a fork until blended.

Lightly knead the dough a few times in the bowl, then turn it out on to a floured board or countertop and roll out to about 3/4″ thick. Cut 6 biscuits out – either circular or square, you do you! Reroll the scraps for 2-3 more. Place the biscuits on the lined baking sheet, brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with a little coconut sugar if desired, and bake for about 17 minutes until lightly golden.

Remove from baking sheet and let cool before serving.

To serve, split them in half & pile with whipped cream or ice cream & strawberries! Simple, summery.

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All things lemon, almond & poppyseed

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Hi blog friends!

I have cream biscuits and meyer lemon curd for you today. These biscuits are a huge favorite around here; in fact, we ate all but one in two sittings but very nearly ate that last one too… I think it will last until tonight but I wouldn’t place bets past midnight!

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These cream biscuits are so fast to throw together and really, they are an excuse for me to use Straus cream, which is just the best thing ever. We ate them with lemon curd and ice cream for dessert, which is awesome, and then with just lemon curd alongside (any guesses?) eggs and kale for breakfast – also awesome, obviously!

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And yes, that mason jar was completely full of lemon curd as of last night. We might more appropriately call it a VAT of lemon curd… which I’m not at all sorry about.

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I am going to keep this short today – today was crazy busy and I’m tired of looking at a computer screen…

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I do want to leave these here:

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Jessie has been featured on here regularly and as of last week I had to say goodbye to her for now. I miss her terribly but I know she’s happily off chasing bugs in kitty heaven with her brother. Such great cats – they are very missed.

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I did some therapy baking this weekend – a batch of my favorite cookies (I should post those eventually… they keep getting eaten before I can take any pictures) – and then of course these biscuits on Monday.

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Side note – lemon curd freezes really well – I’d frozen two batches back in March and it was perfect to pull them out to accompany these for dessert. Obviously they didn’t last long – I’d consider them winners.

Happy May Day!

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Almond Poppyseed Cream Biscuit Shortcakes with Meyer Lemon Curd

Barely sweetened but indescribably creamy, these biscuits are a perpetual favorite around here. They work with pretty much any fruit – we ate them this time with lemon curd and vanilla ice cream. I love this for dessert since it is barely sweetened – there is only a little sprinkled over the tops of the biscuits and the lemon curd only has 2.5 tbsp for the entire batch. The lemon curd is one you’ve seen many times on here, and the cream biscuits lightly adapted from Alice Medrich of Food52, here. Yield: 6 shortcakes.

For the cream biscuits:

1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
4 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tsp baking powder
heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c + 6 tbsp cream
1 tsp coconut sugar, to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with three pieces of parchment, to prevent excess browning. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and sea salt. Create a well in the center and pour in the cream and almond & vanilla extracts. Using a rubber spatula, push the flour into the cream (not stirring), until everything is moistened. This really only takes a few seconds! The dough will look shaggy and porous. Drop large spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle generously with coconut sugar. Bake for 14-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet front to back once halfway through, until golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely (or eat warm).

Maple Lemon Curd:

2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1/3 c lemon juice
zest of 4 lemons
pinch of sea salt
2.5 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

I used a double boiler for this lemon curd, which literally is a game changer. Highly recommended! Heat water in the bottom of the double boiler until it’s at a high simmer. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, sea salt, and maple syrup. Add in the coconut oil one tbsp at a time, whisking continuously, not adding the next tbsp until the first is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until the lemon curd thickens and will coat the back of a spoon (or your whisk leaves tracks) – usually around 5 to 8 minutes. It’s a noticeable change when it happens, so just watch the cooking magic! Remove from heat and store in a glass container in the fridge until ready for use.

Serve biscuits with a giant dollop of lemon curd and vanilla ice cream for dessert, or just lemon curd alongside breakfast. The biscuits keep well loosely covered in foil on the counter overnight, but I would definitely bake them the day you plan to eat them – they are best that way!

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Camp Musings and Cream Biscuits

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I have returned from my mountain home away from home!

Not that I’m especially happy about this – camp is my favorite place, and reality is, um… less fun. I’m pining and going through wilderness withdrawals, that’s for sure.

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There is nothing that compares to 10 days off the grid with my camp family in the mountains – laughing till my stomach hurts, swimming in a lake so brisk it takes your breath away, listening to the wind sighing in the pines, and going to bed under a skyful of stars and a full moon, smelling like woodsmoke and campfire.

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It is such a joy to witness the camp experience of so many girls who come to love camp just as much as I do – I am beyond grateful to have Two Sentinels in my life, both the place and the people! Camp has truly shaped who I am, in more ways than I can count. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite snaps from this year – doesn’t nearly do it justice, but it’s a start.

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The only thing missing up at camp is an abundance of summer fruit – so of course I pounced on the berries and stone fruits as soon as I got home.

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I’ve been eyeing peaches for weeks now, waiting for peak season, and I think we’re there!

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These are perfect; they really don’t need to be messed with, but I like to have my fruit be a little saucy when I’m serving shortcakes. These particular peaches are paired with a cream biscuit (because I’m obsessed, both with this form of biscuit and with Straus creamery heavy cream – I could literally drink the bottle. Someone take it away!) and with either ice cream or more of that amazing heavy cream… no need to even whip it, just pour it straight over your shortcakes and imbibe.

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It’s hot out and I just ran my oven and I don’t even care. Summer is for shortcakes and if that means I have to swelter a bit, so be it! I’ve been outside in nature’s A/C for the last week and a half anyway so who cares. The only thing missing is the lake! That would be so good right now.

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So! Not only do peaches make your kitchen smell like summer, but this dessert comes together in about five seconds flat. And the oven only has to be on for 15 minutes! No excuses – you’ll thank me later. Happy summer!

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Whole Grain Shortcakes with Peaches and Cream

Lightly sweet, perfectly fluffy biscuits with a craggy crust. Summer peaches don’t need much adornment – these were in varying degrees of ripeness so I threw them in a pot for a minute to somewhat homogenize – tossed with vanilla and served with cream and/or ice cream: the ultimate summer pairing. Refined sugar free and whole wheat. Cream biscuits lightly adapted from Alice Medrich of Food52, here. Yield: 6 shortcakes.

For the cream biscuits:

  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 c whole spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 c + 6 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar, to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with three pieces of parchment, to prevent excess browning. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together whole wheat, spelt, baking powder, and sea salt. Create a well in the center and pour in the cream. Using a rubber spatula, push the flour into the cream (not stirring), until everything is moistened. This really only takes a few seconds! The dough will look shaggy and porous. Drop large spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle generously with coconut sugar. Bake for 14-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet front to back once halfway through, until golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely (or eat warm).

For the peaches:

  • 3-4 large peaches, cubed
  • vanilla to taste
  • zest & juice of one meyer lemon

Toss everything into a small pot, and heat over medium until the peaches start to release their juices and make your kitchen smell amazing. Remove from heat and let cool before serving.

To serve: you do you! Cream, ice cream – whatever floats your boat. I like a ton of peaches and a drizzle of cream (or a large blob of ice cream)… or maybe both. Store any leftovers (really?! who are you??) on the counter covered in foil. Or just eat immediately, which would be my recommendation. Although they are excellent for breakfast, so maybe save one or two ;)

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Summer = Shortcakes. Forever and always!

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I’ve decided that every summer needs to have at least one shortcake, because summer and shortcake are just made for each other. Gloriously excessive gluts of fresh berries, stone fruit, or both… shortcake is best friends with all of them.

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Shortcake is also fast, simple, and doesn’t heat up the kitchen (too) much; besides, even if it does, it’s worth it.

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These were definitely worth it! Not only were they a delicious very late night snack to accompany a prerecorded watching of the GC time trials from the TDF16 (nerd alert, sorry not sorry), they also made an awesome side to eggs and greens the next morning for breakfast. Nothing better than a versatile shortcake…

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In other news, the world’s most giant zucchini decided to make an appearance in the yard (it was subsequently turned into vegan, gf brownie bars as well as sautéed with kale for the obligatory savory part of dinner).

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I also brought back the dashboard cookie the other day since I really wanted cookies and it was way too hot to even consider turning on the oven. They turned out great as usual, and my car smelled amazing for about five seconds.

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But anyway. Back to shortcakes. The other funny thing is that I seem to always make them right before I leave for camp, which I do on Monday. Maybe summer = camp = shortcakes? Who knows. Whatever though, I’m just happy I made and ate them and sad that they’re gone. These were delicious with only strawberries, and with strawberries+raspberries… despite not really eating dairy these days, these were eaten with ice cream and it was SO worth it. Because sometimes you are reminded that life is short, and should be enjoyed to the fullest.

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That being said, it’s summer! Make shortcakes! These are grain free and paleo, so have at it. Give your summer berries a playdate with their best friends shortcake and ice cream. Your return on investment will be delicious!

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Grain Free Shortcakes with Summer Berries

Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, paleo (for those who eat butter). Lightly sweet, slightly vanilla-y. Excellent with any kind of berry (or stone fruit) that you happen to have on hand. I didn’t do anything to the fruit since it was so perfect; just slice and eat. Serve with ice cream, non-dairy, whipped cream, coconut whipped cream… the options are endless. Recipe lightly adapted from The Roasted Root, here! Yield: 7 medium sized shortcakes (go either bigger or smaller for 6 or 8 cakes, up to you!)

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  • 2.5 c almond flour (not almond meal, the consistency is different)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted*
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Ice cream or whipped topping of choice for serving
  • Summer berries or stone fruit for serving!

*coconut oil also fine, though I used butter and they were awesome because…. BUTTER.

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted butter, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, eggs and vinegar until combined. Using a spoon, stir the wet into the dry until incorporated. The dough is moist but should be workable (you can chill it for a few minutes if it’s not). Scoop dough balls in the size of choice and roll them gently in your palms before putting them onto the baking sheet a few inches apart. Flatten them slightly with your fingers or palm.

Bake for about 15 minutes (mine were perfect at 15) until the top is golden and cracked. A tester should come out clean. Eat immediately, or let cool on a rack (I like them room temperature).

Serve with ice cream or whipped topping of choice (mine was vanilla caramel gelato) and fresh strawberries — I love my fruit so much, I didn’t do anything to it, but feel free to doctor your fruit as you see fit.

Store these overnight in the fridge — they’re also great cold for breakfast the next day!

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baconbaconSHORTCAKEbaconbacon

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Helllooooooo, I made you something with BACON!

And maple, and blueberries, and none of those sneaky little glutens. Tsk tsk.

Gluten free maple bacon shortcakes with vanilla blueberries!

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I know I know, for those of you who know me on fb or instagram, you already saw this nonsense. But life is life, and this is the first time I’ve had five minutes to sit down and actually write something.

Today also happens to be the last day of my job! Sad :( I will definitely miss everyone. But that also means that I leave for camp on Friday (wheeeeee!!!!!) and then grad schools starts four days after I get back from camp. Heeelllpppppp where has the time gone?! Jeez. To compensate for the ridiculousness that is my schedule right now, I seized a free hour on Sunday and made shortcakes! Also because I always seem to have this habit of baking right before camp, and that just couldn’t be ignored.

And also, bacon.

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Maple and bacon are a match made in heaven, and then you add shortcakes and blueberries and maybe ice cream, and then you have nirvana. Or at least something really close…

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Side note. Most annoying thing ever is when your long skirt gets trapped under the wheels of your desk chair. Grrrr.

Back to food.

And a doodle!

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And trolls!! These are the cutest little guys ever. And no, I don’t think they’re creepy.

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But actually, let’s go back to food…

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Gluten Free Maple Bacon Shortcakes with Vanilla Blueberries

Gluten free, egg free, and possibly dairy free (mine weren’t, but you could always sub coconut oil for the butter). The bacon flavor isn’t overwhelming, but it adds a nice savory note that contrasts the sweet of maple and blueberries. These stay fairly flat, but I found I could slice them easily with a paring knife. Yield: 5 large shortcakes. Shortcakes adapted from From Jessica’s Kitchen!

Shortcakes:

  • 1.5 c white rice flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/4 c tapioca starch
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • very scant 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 c unsweetened hemp milk (or other non dairy bev)
  • 1/2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1.5 oz salted butter, chilled + diced
  • 1.5 oz chilled bacon grease
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

*more to taste if you want… mine were lightly sweet

Blueberries:

  • 1 pint of blueberries (or more — I used 1 pint for three of us, but the next night I used fresh ones as I used all of the sauce)
  • a good splash of vanilla
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together rice flour, tapioca starch, flaxseed, baking powder, and sea salt. In a liquid measure, stir together melted 1/2 tbsp of butter and hemp milk. Using a fork, or a pastry cutter, or your fingers (my preferred method), cut the butter and bacon grease into the dry ingredients, until it resembles coarse sand and the butter/bacon grease chunks are evenly distributed. Stir in hemp milk/butter, followed by maple syrup. Mix just until combined.

Flour a clean work surface, and turn out the dough. Pat it into a circle about an inch thick, and use a cookie cutter (my method) or a biscuit cutter or a knife or whatever to make the shortcakes. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely, or eat warm.

While the shortcakes are baking, cook the blueberries over medium heat in a small saucepan. Once they have gone all saucy and delicious with a few berries still left whole (roughly 5-10 minutes, I never actually time this), remove from heat and stir in vanilla and chia seeds. It will thicken as it cools.

Serve shortcakes with blueberry sauce and any type of ice cream / non dairy dessert / coconut cream that rocks your world!

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Baking. Because… camp is imminent!

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Welcome to my ritual.

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I ALWAYS bake before I leave for camp. I’m not sure when this started but… it did (shocking, I know… me? Baking?! Weird) and I have no reason to be breaking this delicious trend.

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And I leave tomorrow! This totally snuck up on me but I am so ready for ten days of mountain fun with my camp fambam. Dirt. Hair that could scrub out a pot (yes, I was told I should do that last summer and immediately decided I would shower; as much as I love having steel wool for hair) (my hair does really interesting things when it isn’t washed for a zillion days) (yes I’m too lazy to shower because I just get dusty again and I’m camping and I’m in the lake soooo who cares?!). Enough with the parenthetical rambles. Moving on.

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Campfires where I go to bed smelling like woodsmoke… brownies to die for even though they’re made with a mix, I’m obsessed… eating outdoors, every meal… stars so bright you think your eyes are malfunctioning… singing the most ridiculous songs because you can… yoga on the dock… a complete technology detox… beautiful scenery…friends. My indescribable camp family. So much Two Sentinels love!

But anyway, haven’t left yet, and in between last minute packing, I made these!

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Whole wheat buttermilk biscuit peach shortcakes with vegan caramel sauce and ice cream.

Because fruit.

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Peeeeeaaacheeesssss. My favorite part of summer. Actually that would be a tough call since I love berries equally as much… all the fruit. I want ALL of it!! But besides that, we happened to have an excess of peaches this week so instead of eating them all leaning over the sink with juice going everywhere, I made dessert. Of course.

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And happily fulfilled my pre-camp baking ritual! Happy days. See you on the flip side, let’s hope I get all the dirt off this time (unlike last year.. you know it’s good when there’s still dirt on your face *after* your post-camp shower…)!

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Whole Wheat Peach Shortcakes with Vegan Caramel (And ice cream. Obvs)

I like barely sweet shortcakes, since they highlight the super-sweetness of perfectly in-season summer fruit. Mmmm. These are whole wheat, made with buttermilk for a bit of a tang. Perfectly balanced against the sweet peaches and maple caramel.. and ice cream. Because summer dessert = ice cream. Or whipped cream, also fine, I just went with what I had. Shortcake recipe lightly adapted from Food52, here, and caramel borrowed from Blissful Basil, here! Yield: 6 shortcake/biscuits; I made a half batch of caramel for 4 peeps, so those measurements are listed below. Makes about a cup.

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For the shortcakes (whole wheat is good for youuuu! So is a little butter now and then):

  • 1.75 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into smallish pieces
  • 3/4 c buttermilk (mine was low fat)

For the filling:

  • An excessive amount of peaches, diced (I leave the skin on mine), tossed in a bit of coconut sugar if yours are less than perfectly ripe
  • ridiculously delicious ice cream of choice

For the caramel (full of healthy fats and good nutrients!! Winning):

  • 1/6 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c unsalted, creamy almond butter
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 runneth-over tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 450, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter using your fingertips (my preferred method) or a pastry cutter, until things start looking like coarse cornmeal and the butter is distributed evenlyish. Make a well in the center (look! You get to play with your food!), pour in the buttermilk, then use a spoon or spatula to stir it all together, until just combined (do try not to over mix). Divide the dough into six cute little balls, then flatten slightly and place on the baking sheet. Bake for just about 15 minutes, until the tops are firm and lightly browned. Let cool slightly on a rack before serving.

While the shortcakes are baking, make caramel!

In a small saucepan over medium, heat coconut oil, almond butter, maple, and sea salt over medium until all are melted and incorporated. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or two, which is excellent for instant gratification. Turn off the heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm or cold, and store leftovers in the fridge!

I could tell you how to assemble your shortcakes but that might insult your intelligence… but I would suggest cutting them in half to get maximum cake square footage to soak up excessive amounts of ice cream and caramel and peach juice…

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