This is absolutely my favorite recipe for a shortcake – these Best Shortcakes – Cream Scones. Even tho there’s very little cream involved, but there is a little and preferably whole milk! And while you might look at these and think “drop biscuit” and possibly identify these with a Bisquick thing (believe me, nothing could be further from the truth) these are really so much more, and you’ll “get it” at the first bit. At our house, we hope for leftovers after I make my Three Berry Shortcakes so we can gobble up one or two for breakfast.
When I serve this to most people, at first glance, I can tell the don’t expect the utter fantastic fantabulousness of these shortcakes. Ad I can tell because they’re always so casual as they get ready to take a bite and then their eyes literally light up with surprise at first taste. And when that taste is accompanied by sound effects (more than once I’ve gotten a little moan) isn’t that what keeps us cooks going? A thousand criticisms can be wiped away but one small guttural response!
About Best Shortcakes – Cream Scones:
Make these and you’re going to feel like a pastry chef! And serve them and I swear you’ll feel like a genius! Finny thing is, there are only a few ingredients, and whether you whip them up with a food processor or by hand, they take just minutes to prepare and no time to bake up. Yanno, you don’t have to tell anyone how easy these are if you don’t want to. A little mystery ups the street “cred.”
I know they’re all rough and rustic. Don’t let that fool you – if you could imagine the most delicious, tender, rich scone ever, that’s what the shortcake is. It would look more refined perhaps if it were patted out and rolled, but what you’d lose is the drama, the height and some of the tenderness, not to mention the bumpy nubbly top to catch and hang onto to the luscious whipped cream and the berries and sauce. Oh my.
Please see the Three Berry Shortcakes for our favorite way to serve these during any summer Holiday – it’s the perfect Red, White and Blue dessert. The shortcakes are also wonderful eaten as scones, either baked with a small fruit like blueberry for instance or baked with dried fruit like raisins or currants.
Making Best Shortcakes – Cream Scones:
There are only two things to know about making these scones. The first is to use cold butter, cold milk and work quickly so the shortcakes don’t warm up, especially since they are shortcakes and it is likely you’ll be making them in the summer when it might be warm in the kitchen. I open up the butter wrapper, cut the butter into 1/2″ pieces and toss it in the freezer right on the wrapper while I measure the other ingredients. Only when I’m ready for it do I pull out the butter and the milk.
The other is to not overthink these. And by that, I mean work quickly, work simply and don’t overwork that dough. You want some big chunks of butter along with some small chunks and you’ll just want the dough to barely hold together. I can’t stress enough how important it is not to overwork. Just trust the process, gather the dough together and proceed. I included a couple of photos so you can get an idea of what you’re shooting for while making the dough.
This dough could be patted into a rectangular shape or rolled and cut with a biscuit cutter, but here’s why I prefer them in their rustic form: Shortcake is a sturdy, but delicate concoction all at the same time. Every time this dough is manipulated, it goes a bit from an extremely moist, tender crumb inside to a bit sturdier, less airy and more compact crumb. I embrace the rustic look and shape because they are so perfect inside. The perfect texture and crumb, moist throughout, and absolutely the best, ever, shortcake.
And just one more thing…be a little careful when brushing the tops with cream and sprinkling with sugar. If too much drops to the cookie sheet and pools there, it can burn around the edges before the shortcakes are done. It doesn’t taste (or look) great.
Saving Money on Best Shortcakes – Cream Scones:
I’ve gotten to the point where I buy almost all my baking goods, including perishables like butter, cream, eggs, and milk, at Aldi. Their everyday prices rival the best grocery store prices. You buyer’s club will usually have good prices on these items, too, but the quantities are always going to be arger.
If you don’t have either nearby, you can save money by cherry-picking sales, paying special attention to the butter and cream prices, around any holiday. The best sales are usually from pre=Thanksgiving through New Years and around Easter. Biu at a low and stock your freezer. Butter can literally be half-price during one of the great baking holidays like Easter or Christmas…I used to just count the weeks until the next holiday and buy enough to last until the next.
It’s a good idea to always freeze flour or any flour containing item when you bring it into the home to avoid the possibility of any “peskies.” Three days in the freezer does it. 30 days in the fridge works, too, but that’s admittedly a long time!Print
Don’t be fooled by looks! These are some of the best shortcakes you’ll ever taste!
- Prep Time: 8 - 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 16 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
- 3 ¼ cups of flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk or half & half
- 2 tablespoons sugar (this is additional sugar)
- A little milk, half & half or cream to brush tops
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a food processor and pulse several times. Cut the butter in half, then in small pieces. Add to flour and pulse, carefully, several times. You want large pieces (about the size of a pea) left. Gradually add milk or half & half while pulsing. Stop when it still looks crumbly – it shouldn’t be totally mixed at this point.
Dump on to counter and mix a little with your hands until it just holds together, but is still very shaggy looking. Divide into six pieces. (Note, sometimes we divide into 8 and just bake for a little less time.)
Place on baking tray in mounds. Do not attempt to smooth out, they should be “clumps” – lining the tray with parchment or foil helps with clean up. Brush tops with milk or cream – just use a little from the whipping cream you’ll use to serve with it. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 – 17 minutes. Do not overbake – better to sacrifice a little browning than to have dry shortcakes. Watch carefully. Turn the tray halfway through.
Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container. These are best the same day, but still good the next. The crispy exterior tends to soften with storage.
To make the scones use whole milk or half and half or a mixture of milk and cream. Full cream is too rich, but the scones are excelent with either milk or half and half.
Keywords: Desserts, Shortcakes
I’ll be sharing Best Shortcakes at Fiesta Friday #290 this week. I’m “hosting” this week, along with Angie of Fiesta Friday, so be sure to stop by and check out all the posts from all the bloggers! I’m seeing great things so far!