There are still many people from my generation who don’t really know what a shortcake really is. So accustomed are they to the store bought Hostess brand shortcakes, that they don’t understand that, in reality, shortcakes are much less like a Twinkie, and much more like a sweet biscuit. Very similar to a plain vanilla scone, these old fashioned shortcakes are a divine compliment to mounds of freshly whipped, sweetened, vanilla flavored cream, and a heap of fresh macerated berries. Since I still have blackberries coming out of my ears, I decided to continue with this week of very berry madness, and whip together this easy, but incredibly comforting dessert. I have always had great success with Ina Garten’s shortcake recipe with a few of my own modifications. I up the sugar from one tablespoon to a third of a cup, add about a tablespoon of vanilla which the recipe doesn’t call for, and I also toss in a little freshly grated orange zest into the wet ingredients for that little background note of fruitiness. I have also found that it is important to chill the cut dough for at least an hour, lest you risk the chance that your shortcakes bake up in amorphous mounds (which, granted, will still be delicious). Before baking I brush the tops with a beaten egg, and dip the top of each shortcake into turbinado sugar, which adds a nice sparkle, sweetness, and crunch. These are best served warm out of the oven, but the good news is that the shortcakes can be made, cut, and refrigerated up to five days in advance, and you can simply bake them off right before you want to serve them, making them perfect for summertime entertaining. Whether with strawberries, peaches, or assorted berries, these shortcakes are always a crowd pleaser. Enjoy!
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