Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

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Summer has officially arrived in California. Strawberries are finally in season! There are strawberries sold on the side of the road year-round. It's really a bait and switch, because the strawberries that you get in the fall or winter just taste like slightly strawberry-flavored water with strawberry texture. Ick.

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I went to the beach this past weekend, and on the way home stopped by a truck selling strawberries on the side of strawberry fields. I probably ate about a third of the giant box just driving home. They were so sweet and juicy. Now, I have not had my grandma's strawberries in years, so I can't really compare, but I imagine these came close. (I'm sure she would disagree.)

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I've made this strawberry shortcake recipe several times. And it does not disappoint (unless your baking powder is old and not very active, then they just come out a little flat). It's from Cook's Illustrated. I can't point to their recipe online because they require a paid subscription, but I have their awesome book that has more recipes that you will ever need. It's true, I think some recipes are unnecessarily complicated (blueberry muffins require you to make blueberry jam), but a lot of them are spot on.

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The dough comes together within 15 minutes in the food processor, the shortbread bakes in 12 minutes, the whipped cream comes together in literally about 90 seconds. About a third of the quartered berries are mashed with sugar and the rest are left crisp - so you get the perfect mix of berry you can chew and strawberry juice to soak the barely sweet shortbread. It's a summer staple!

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