Every month I look forward to Bake Together with Abby Dodge, I was especially excited about this months challenge. I adore strawberry shortcake and Abby decided to give this American classic a twist by making a chocolate shortcake, our challenge was to make it our own, keeping the basic premise of the challenge of course,but we are able to make changes, adding our own creative spin. I made the shortcake as directed by Abby but baked it as one sheet, slightly thinner than Abby’s. After it cooled I cut rounds with my biscuit cutter. It’s the same basic idea but slightly different execution. Instead of Strawberries I used some beautiful apricots which I macerated in sugar and cognac. The whipped cream is lightly sweetened and flavored with cognac also. Chocolate and apricots are delicious together and the cognac rounds it all out beautifully. Thanks Abby for another great month of baking with you!
1 lb apricots cleaned and sliced (don’t peel)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs good cognac
Place the sliced apricots in a bowl add the sugar and cognac and gently stir to combine. Cover and let sit for an hour or more.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbs super fine sugar
1 tsp cognac
Whip in a cold bowl with cold beaters until it’s thick and the desired consistency,
Double Chocolate- Strawberry Shortcakes
Makes 8 servings
For the Shortcakes
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled
3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (7 7/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (1 ounce) unsweetened, natural cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chopped chocolate or chips
2 tablespoons sanding sugar (turbando, demerara), optional
To make the shortcakes:
1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a nonstick liner.
2. Cut the butter in half lengthwise, cut each half lengthwise again, and then cut each strip into 8 pieces. Pile the butter onto a plate and slide it into the freezer until ready to use. Measure the buttermilk in a 1-cup Pyrex measure and add the vanilla. Using a fork, whisk until blended and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
3. Put the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Add the cold butter pieces and, using short pulses, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal with small pieces of butter (about pea-sized) still visible, about 1 minute. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and add chopped chocolate.
4. Pour the buttermilk and vanilla over the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir and fold until it forms a shaggy, moist dough with some floury bits remaining. Scrape the dough and any remaining floury bits onto the counter and knead a few times until the dough is evenly moist and holds together well.
5. Gently press the dough into a thick 8 x 4 -inch rectangle. Using a large sharp knife, trim the edges to make a neat rectangle and cut into 8 equal squares. Arrange the biscuits on the prepared cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle the tops with the sanding sugar, if using. Bake until puffed and spring back when the tops are gently pressed, 16 to 18 minutes. Move the sheet to a cooling rack and let the biscuits sit until they’re cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature
Place bottom half of shortcake on serving dish, spoon on apricots. Put top half on top of fruit. Spoon on the whipped cream, drizzle with some of the syrup from the apricots and enjoy.