Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I like your awkward biscuit action

I am awkward.  No joke.  Like... bring up the wrong subject, make jokes/references only I would get, laugh at things that aren't universally funny (although I thought they would be right before I started laughing)... that kind of awkward. 

Most of the time I assume other people are just as much a weirdo as I am, at which point I'll say something totally off the wall I think they'll pick up on and then it's all *silence* and glances in every direction but mine (which means they feel awkward about my awkwardness).  

But it's fine.  It's cool.  It keeps things interesting (right?).  

Are you a little awkward?  Do you get all squirrelly at the work lunch table after you've said something out loud that probably would have been better left in your brain?  How do you unpack your weirdo tendencies?  Do you unpack them with others, or is it kept under wraps and everyone thinks you're just this ultra-cool, got-it-together kind of kid?  

When I get weird (which, let's be honest, is like, all the time), I get talking.  A lot.  I talk about obscure celebrity gossip no one has heard yet/cares about, current events, podcasts, and food.  Oh... I could talk about food all day long, if there was someone to listen.  Are you that person?  Because I haven't met you yet.  Let's talk.  

In the spirit of awkward, let's make the awkward transition to this next recipe, for which I am very proud of.  It's super simple, yet always a delight and I practically have it memorized now:  Strawberry shortcake.  This time, however, it is made with a twist.  Okay, okay... I just subbed out the whipped cream in favor of ice cream.  Big woo.  Just trust the weirdo and go with it.  It's basically a soft crumbly cookie with fresh strawberries and stracciatella ice cream.  Don't say no - say yes!

Let's let our freak flags fly, that's what I say.  

Strawberry shortcake is amazeballs good.  Why?  Because we aren't using the typical hostess cakes, pound cake, or any other actual cake you might have seen before.  Biscuits are made and mixed by hand with the help of buttermilk for creaminess.  The less pristine and perfect they are, the more freakishly good they will be.  Trust.

The biscuit dough is shaggy at best, which means you'll work for the little bits to stay tacked onto the main biscuit a little harder... but know that everything will work out (and even if it doesn't, it'll still taste crazy good!).    

Biscuit dough is brushed with more buttermilk and topped with cinnamon and raw sugar.  This takes it to another level and almost makes the finished product taste like pie.

They get puffy with little to no effort at all.  Almost like sweet cinnamon-y pillows, they are.  This recipe makes just two (one for you, one for someone else... or another for later?), but you can easily double it and make more, assuming you are feeling like a sharer.  

You know what they say... if you can't say anything normal, come sit by me.  Oh... and bring the shortcake.

Strawberry Shortcake with Ice Cream
Adapted from Williams - Sonoma

1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup buttermilk
cinnamon and raw sugar (for dusting)

*preheat the oven to 425 degrees F*

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a shallow bowl, combine the strawberry slices and 1 tablespoon of the sugar.  Stir to coat and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the rest of the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Drop the cubed butter over the top and blend in with the dry ingredients using a pastry blender (or two knives, or just your fingers).  Work until the mixture becomes course and resembles oat flakes.  Pour in the buttermilk and work with your hands until just moistened.  At this point the dough should be soft, but if it is too dry, you can add more a tablespoon at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide into two disks, about 3/4 inch high.  Place the disks on the prepared baking sheet.  Brush with more buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  

Bake the biscuits for 12 - 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.  

To assemble:  Cut the biscuits in half like a burger bun.  Divide the macerated strawberries between the two biscuit bottoms, then top with a scoop of ice cream (I used Stracciatella by Haagen Dazs, but chocolate or lemon would be amazing too!).  Place the tops on each stack and eat.  Be weird about it - no one cares.

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