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Roasted Strawberry Shortcake Scones {National Strawberry Shortcake Day}

Strawberry Shortcake was one of those desserts that conjures up memories of childhood.  But as hard as I try to envision exact circumstance, I cannot.  I just remember that it being a treat.  I don't actually remember all that many desserts coming out of our kitchen when I was a kid.  I'm talking elementary school age.  That must be why the few I remember seem special.

I remember cherry pie being pulled hot and bubbly from the oven.  Sometimes it was apple.  Or blueberry.  And I'm pretty sure that an hour previous it was in a box in the freezer.  But with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream melting over the top of it, it was heaven.
I also remember cookies.  They weren't usually homemade.  Homemade came when I visited grandma during the summer and we broke out the stand mixer and the bag of Nestle's morsels.  At home, we had cookies from those plastic bulk boxes at Meijer.  I would take hold of those long plastic tongs and peek into the bins stacked high with sweet choices.  My favorites were the ones that tasted of almond and looked like a shell with a faint glaze.  Or the spiced brown ones flecked with thinly sliced almonds that looked like windmills.  Occasionally a round sugar cookie with scalloped edges and colorful sprinkles embedded in the top.  And actually, I still love all of those.  Even crave them from time to time.

And like I said, the other dessert I remember is strawberry shortcake.  We didn't eat them on biscuits or another type of shortcake.  Nope.  We had those little sponge cakes that came in crinkly cello packages.  We'd pile them high with macerated strawberries and top them with big daubs of whipped cream.  Probably Cool Whip.  But man, were they good!  Sweet spongy delights.
The grown-up me prefers my Strawberry Shortcake to contain a more substantial "cake".  Biscuit-style.  Or a dense yet tender scone.  Mmm Hmm.  Even better.  The way they soak up the sweet, sugary juices rendered from the strawberries?  Without getting soggy?  Oh yeah.  That's my kind of shortcake now.

These scones are extra special because they have roasted strawberries marbled right inside.  Really, I don't even need the toppings to conjure up thoughts of breezy spring days with persistent breezes moving the kitchen curtains.  Although, piling on a fluffy pile of whipped cream that's been lightly sweetened and kissed with a hint of lemon is nothing to complain about.  Nor is that addition of juicy, macerated red berries.

Eat them alone or enjoy them split and smothered.  Either way is bound to put a smile on your face.

Roasted Strawberry Shortcake Scones
by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10-14 minutes (+ time to roast strawberries)
Keywords: bake roast bread dessert vegetarian strawberries American spring summer

Ingredients (serves 6)
    Roasted Strawberries:
    • ½ lb. strawberries, hulled & halved (or quartered)
    • olive oil
    • vanilla sugar
    • pinch salt
    Roasted Strawberry Shortcake Scones:
    • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • 4 Tbs. (2 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into smallish cubes
    • 3 Tbs. vanilla sugar + more for sprinkling
    • ½ c. heavy cream, plus more for glazing
    • 1 large egg
    • ¼ c. roasted strawberries (from roasted strawberries above), roughly chopped
    Roasted Strawberries:
    Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scatter strawberry halves (or quarters) on lined tray. Drizzle lightly with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with sugar and salt. Roast ~30-40 minutes, or until strawberries release their juices and the juices have thickened a bit. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

    Roasted Strawberry Vanilla Biscuits:
    Preheat oven to 425° F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture, squeezing and pinching until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with chunks no bigger than the size of a pea. Add vanilla sugar and vanilla bean seeds; whisk to combine.

    Pour the half cup of cream and egg in a small dish and beat with a fork. Pour this into the flour mixture and combine gently. The dough will look pretty dry and shaggy. Turn out onto work surface and press out very gently. Spread roasted strawberries over dough.

    Quickly pull the dough together into a rough mass. Press and knead until it just comes together. To keep the scones tender, try to do this in as few kneads as possible...preferably no more than 12. Don't worry about the excess flour, not all of it will be absorbed. Pat into a rough circle, ~1" thick. At this point, you can cut fat circles. Place on a lined baking sheet.

    Pour a splash of cream in a bowl and lightly brush the top of the scones. Sprinkle a little sugar on top, if you wish. Slide into preheated oven and bake for 10-14 minutes, until pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.

    If you want to turn your scones into Strawberry Shortcake:Strawberries:
    1½ lb. strawberries, hulled & halved
    3 Tbs. vanilla sugar

    Toss strawberry halves and sugar in a bowl. Set aside to allow strawberries to release juices for at least one hour.

    Whipped Cream:
    1½ c. heavy cream
    ~3 Tbs. confectioners sugar
    splash of pure vanilla extract
    finely grated zest of ½ lemon

    Place everything in a large bowl and whip until soft (or stiff...whichever you prefer) peaks form.

    Put it all together:
    Cut scones in half lengthwise. Divide most of the strawberry mixture among the bottom halves of the biscuits. Dollop whipped cream on top of the strawberries. Set the top halves of the biscuits over everything, sort of "off-set". Top off with the rest of the strawberries that you left in the bowl and more whipped cream, should you desire. Enjoy!
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    Today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day.  Will you be celebrating?  What's your favorite Strawberry Shortcake recipe?  

    Driscoll's was kind enough to send me some coupons for a few dollars off of their berries.  I haven't used them yet, but they will be put to use very soon.  Perhaps to relive a childhood memory of those pies I mentioned.  They also passed on some fun facts about strawberries and the history of Strawberry Shortcake to help celebrate today.  And now, I share them with you:
    • California out-produces all of the strawberries grown across American and the world
    • Each strawberry has 200 individual seeds
    • The earliest printed recipe for Strawberry Shortcake was found in a cookbook published in 1847, "The Lady's Receipt-Book" by Miss Leslie
    • Strawberry Shortcake Parties became popular in the US around 1850, celebrating the coming of summer
    • Early American recipes for Strawberry Shortcake called for pie crusts in rounds or in broken up pieces.  This is the a favorite among Southerners
    • The Shortcakes are actually biscuits but other popular cake bases are angel food, pound cake, sponge cake and corn muffins
    • The legendary James Beard used hard cooked egg yolks mixed into his dry ingredients for the shortcakes; Rose Levy Beranbaum also uses cooked egg yolks in her recipe for biscuits in her Pie and Pastry Bible.
    • Strawberry Shortcake is the most widely known shortcake dessert but adding other berries like blueberries and blackberries is often done - especially throughout the summer.

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