It’s the ultimate summer treat: juicy strawberries piled on soft, moist oatmeal shortcakes, served with a dollop of maple vanilla cream. Homemade strawberry shortcake is an easy make-ahead dessert that makes you look like a genius in the kitchen: mix briefly in one bowl, drop by spoonfuls on a baking sheet, and in 20 minutes you’ll have a treat that never fails to delight both the least adventurous and the most sophisticated of guests.
Traditional strawberry shortcake has a biscuit base, not the spongy stuff they sell in the store. My friend David was in town this week from Vermont, and we had a debate about standard biscuits versus my scone-like oatmeal shortcakes, from an old Bon Apetit recipe that’s been my favorite for years. Then we had a debate about ice cream – my family’s standby – versus David’s newest discovery from the land of maple syrup: sour cream mixed with maple syrup and vanilla. In the end, David loved the oatmeal shortcakes and we all loved the sweet soft creaminess of the maple vanilla cream, proving that old favorites can get even better.
I’m late getting this out before Memorial Day, but I hope some of you will try it this weekend. See how easy:
Flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Add cold cubed butter and rub in with your fingers or a pastry cutter. I think it’s faster to use fingers. Quickly rub the butter and flour between your thumb and fingers, briefly but firmly pressing across, releasing and repeating with a fresh handful. Don’t squeeze and hold; you don’t want the butter to melt in the heat of your hand. You just want to rub the butter into the flour.
It only takes a couple of minutes to get the butter all rubbed in. Looks like a coarse meal, kind of like ground almonds.
Add milk and stir.
Makes a sticky dough.
Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. I make small shortcakes – half the size of what the Bon Apetit recipe makes. I’d rather have twice as many small ones, especially with kids around. This sheet has a half-recipe of oatmeal shortcakes and a half-recipe of baking powder biscuits.
In 15-20 minutes, they’re nice and golden.
Mix the cream while the shortcakes cool. Sour cream (use plain yogurt if you wish, though it won’t be quite as creamy), maple syrup and vanilla.
Better taste it to make sure. Hmm…mmm…better taste it again.
Split the shortcakes in half using a serrated knife. Top with strawberries and maple vanilla cream. Or stick with the tried and true and use whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
With a little extra sweetness, a little moist texture, we all liked the oatmeal shortcakes best. Strawberry shortcake is always good, but this is the strawberry shortcake of your dreams.
In fact, you might fix yourself another in the morning. Why not? Oats and strawberries make a fine breakfast too.
Strawberry Oatmeal Shortcakes with Maple Vanilla Cream
This old Bon Apetit recipe is an easy summer dessert that never fails to impress. A bit sweeter and more textured than a regular biscuit, these moist oatmeal shortcakes make a perfect foil for fresh summer strawberries. My friend David just turned me on to this wonderful maple vanilla cream, but you can’t go wrong with vanilla ice cream or real whipped cream either.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4 teaspoon if using salted butter)
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional), for sprinkling over shortcakes
- 1-2 pounds fresh strawberries, cut (depending on what strawberry-to-shortcake ratio your prefer)
- 1-3 teaspoons sugar to sprinkle on strawberries (brings out the juice)
Maple vanilla cream
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 t vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400° F (use 375° F if your oven runs hot; cooking these a little lower works fine too).
- Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.
- Add cold butter pieces and use fingertips or a pastry cutter to rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Add milk; stir until dough forms.
- Drop dough onto prepared baking sheet, making 6-8 large or 12-14 small biscuits. Sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons sugar.
- Bake until shortcakes are golden and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
- While shortcakes are baking, wash and cut strawberries. Put in large bowl and sprinkle with a bit of sugar to bring out their juice. Mix briefly and set aside.
- To make maple vanilla cream, mix sour cream with maple syrup and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- When shortcakes are ready, let cool for ten minutes. Use a serrated knife to cut shortcakes in half horizontally. Fill with strawberries and top with maple vanilla cream (or ice cream, whipped cream, or skip the cream and enjoy them plain).
Makes 6-8 large servings or 12-14 small servings.
- You can try greek yogurt instead of sour cream; it won’t be quite as creamy and you may need extra maple syrup depending on tartness
- You can make the shortcakes a few hours ahead and store loosely covered. They are good same day but become drier overnight.
Here’s the link to a printable version.