Strawberry Lemon Shortcakes

Strawberry Shortcakes are one of my all-time favorite desserts.  I love shortbread and the not too sweet crumbly texture.  I especially like them with macerated strawberries, whipped cream, and delicious strawberry syrup.

Most shortcake is too dry for my liking.  However, I have discovered a secret ingredient that adds tons of moisture to the shortbread-cream cheese. It's definitely not a classic shortbread ingredient, but it definitely makes a huge difference in the density and deliciousness of the shortbread.

Strawberry Lemon Shortcakes

For the shortcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the strawberries:
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup sugar

For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the shortbread:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, lemon zest, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Pulse for about 30 seconds until all of the ingredients are combined.  Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse for another 30 seconds until the dough starts to resemble pea-sized pieces.  Add the cream and vanilla and process for 30-45 more seconds until you have a dough that forms a ball.  Remove the dough from the processor and place on a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough into 9 equal portions, each weighing about 3 1/2 ounces each.  Transfer the shortbread cakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill for about 1 hour in the refrigerator.  While the shortbread cakes are chilling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bake the shortbread cakes for 25 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the baking sheet and place on a wire cooling rack until the cakes are completely cool.

To make the strawberries:
Combine the strawberries and sugar in a large bowl and toss to completely coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible.  The longer the strawberries sit, the better.

To make the whipped cream:
Combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl of a stand mixer. Whip on medium until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate immediately.

To assemble the shortcakes:
Split each shortcake and spoon a generous portion of the strawberry syrup from the strawberries over each side. Let sit a few minutes so that the shortcake absorbs the syrup.  Place a few strawberries on the bottom portion, followed by the whipped cream.  Place the top of the shortcake on top and add more whipped cream and strawberries.


XO, Sabrina

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