The old-fashioned combination of biscuits, berries, and cream is one of the joys of strawberry season. These buttermilk shortcakes with sugary tops are cut from a square of dough that forms nine pieces (if you bake for eight guests, someone gets seconds!). Creating square biscuits is an efficient way of dividing the dough without scraps or rerolling bits and pieces. Once the dough is pressed or rolled into a square, tidy up the sides by pressing the blade of a chef’s knife or dough scraper against the edges to straighten them. You may still have some rounded corners; that’s OK. Fill them with whipped cream and strawberries just before serving.
|2¼||teaspoons baking powder|
|¾||teaspoon baking soda|
|½||teaspoon cream of tartar|
|3||tablespoons granulated sugar|
|⅔||cup buttermilk, or more if needed|
|2||teaspoons vanilla extract|
|½||cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon-size chunks|
|Extra flour (for sprinkling)|
|Extra granulated sugar (for sprinkling)|
1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and granulated sugar to blend them.
3. In another bowl, stir together the ⅔ cup buttermilk and vanilla.
4. Scatter the butter over the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender or two blunt knives to cut the butter into the flour until it is reduced to pea-size pieces. With your fingertips, gently crumble the mixture for a minute to reduce the butter to smaller pieces. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture. With a rubber spatula, stir gently until it starts to come together, adding more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if there are dry crumbs in the bowl. With your hands, work the mixture lightly in the bowl until it comes together to form a dough.
5. On a lightly floured counter, light press or roll the dough to a 7- to 8-inch square. Make 2 evenly spaced horizontal cuts and 2 evenly spaced vertical cuts to shape 9 biscuits. Transfer to the baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Sprinkle generously with sugar.
6. Bake the biscuits for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are golden brown and firm to the touch. Slide the biscuits off the parchment onto a wire rack to cool.
STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM
|2||pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved|
|¼||cup granulated sugar|
|1½||cups cold heavy cream|
|3||tablespoons confectioners’ sugar|
|1||teaspoon vanilla extract|
1. In a bowl, toss the strawberries and granulated sugar. Let the berries sit at room temperature for 20 minutes so they form juices.
2. In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat the cream just until it begins to hold a shape. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and continue beating until the cream holds soft peaks.
3. Use a serrated knife to split the biscuits in half horizontally. Line up the bottom halves and top with cream and berries. Set on the biscuit tops.