Perfect Shortcake means something different for each person, but if you give this recipe a chance, you just might agree this is the Perfect Shortcake.
I grew up thinking shortcake was a totally different creation. To me, store-bought sponge shortcake was what made strawberry shortcake so delicious, and I actually didn’t know it was served any other way until the first time my mother-in-law, Harriett, served it. She used her mother’s recipe and the shortcake looked like biscuits. I was pretty confused (and worried) when I saw her pouring precious strawberries over them. I have to say, it was very good, but I still loved my soggy shortcake best.
One month ago I decided to take up my own challenge to create the Perfect Shortcake recipe. After three tries, I finally got it just right.
This shortcake is mildly sweet with a tender crumb. It has a slight crunch on the outside and a sprinkle of coarse sugar on top. It is a cross between a biscuit and shortbread and I’m so happy with the result and hope you will be, too.
Perfect Shortcake takes Strawberry Shortcake and Peach Shortcake to the next level – the “This is the best shortcake I have ever had” level. Now I’m not saying you have to choose my favorite over your favorite every time. Every-other-time would be just fine!
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse salt
- 6 tablespoons cold or frozen butter - cut into cubes
- 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- coarse sugar Demarara, turbinado or raw sugar to sprinkle on top before baking
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place all dry ingredients (except the coarse sugar) in the bowl of the food processor fit with the metal blade.
- Pulse until flour mixture is well combined.
- Add the butter cubes and pulse until the butter is large bean-sized.
- Add vanilla and almond extracts and pulse 1-2 times.
- Add cream and pulse again until the dough just begins to form. The dough should be shaggy and sandy.
- Place the dough on a clean work surface and press it gently together into an oval shape. Handle it as little as possible – the dough should barely hold together and sill be slightly sticky.
- Lightly flour a rolling pin then roll the dough to an ½ inch thick.
- Cut into the desired shape – a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter or a jar turned upside down work well.
- Place the shortcakes on the prepared baking sheets.
- Brush each shortcake with a thin layer of milk.
- Sprinkle with coarse, raw sugar.
- Bake at 425F 14-16 minutes or until golden brown.
- The shortcake should be golden and slightly firm to the touch and should feel a little crispy but not too hard.
- Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely before serving.
- See notes for storing and/or freezing.
Perfect Shortcakes can be kept in an airtight container up to 3 days.
They can also be frozen in an airtight freezer container for later use, but I recommend letting them thaw covered and in the same container in which they were frozen. When ready to serve, reheat the shortcake in a preheated 400F oven for 3-5 minutes.