Friday, March 9, 2012

Traci's Strawberry Shortcake
























Strawberry Shortcake is my favorite dessert.  It was also my niece, Traci's.  Traci died in an automobile accident at 18 years old.  I miss her every day.  She was a beautiful, vibrant girl and it's hard to imagine God's plan for her. I can see her up in Heaven taking charge of all the young ones and having a good time.  Traci was always great with kids.  I should know.  My kids adored her.

 I may have lived 3,000 miles away but I always managed to find a way to stay close to my sister's children.  I called my sister often and spent my vacations in Arizona.  This was before I got married and had my own children.  I had my own special connection with Traci.  I would ask her to "give me eyes" and this is the face she would make.  I made this tee shirt for her.

The last time I saw Traci was September 2004.  My kids had just started 4th & 5th grade.  It was not really a convenient time to travel to Arizona.  But, I had a very powerful urge calling me to go.  That had never happened to me before.  At the time, I thought it was to visit my father (who lived in Tucson).  Of course I also visit my sister's family in Phoenix.  This is the last time I saw Traci.  I now know I was called to see her.  I feel that it was a privilege to be able to spend time with her only six months before she died. 

 Megan told me yesterday that a friend of hers told her she looked "spiffy".  She just thought that was the funniest thing ever.  It made her feel good, but we got a good laugh at her friend's old-fashioned term.  Here is a spiffied-up version of strawberry shortcake.

 I dedicate this post to my niece, Traci, who I miss so much.

Strawberries

2 lbs. strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. Cointreau (orange liqueur) (may substitute orange juice)
grated peel of one orange




Mix strawberries, sugar, liqueur & 1 Tbs. of grated orange peel. Refrigerate while juices meld.



Biscuit

2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 Tbs. grated orange peel
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup light cream
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Grease cookie sheet.

Mix  flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and orange peel.  Add butter and mix gently until flour mixture is crumbled.  Do not over mix.  You can always get your hands in there and break up the butter so that it is better incorporated into the flour mixture.



Mix baking soda into the light cream.  Add cream and egg to the flour mixture.  Mix on low speed until fully mixed.  Place dough on a floured surface.  Gently knead dough, 5-6 times, adding flour if needed.




Press dough to 3/4". Cut biscuits with a  2-1/2" round cookie cutter and place on cookie sheet.  If you want larger biscuits, use a larger cookie cutter.  If you want higher biscuits, pat the dough down to 1" or higher.  Adjust cooking time.  (Oh, and I hope your smoke detector doesn't go off while you are at this part like mine is.  Looks like the oven needs a good cleaning :)





Brush a little bit of cream and a sprinkle of sugar on each biscuit. Try to not get any sugar on the baking pan.  It will burn the bottom of your biscuits.












Bake for 10-12 minutes


Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs. confectioners' sugar

Beat cream, vanilla and confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form.


Assemble Strawberry Shortcake

Cut two biscuits in half and spread with a little bit of butter. You can warm the biscuits first if you are not pulling them right from the oven and putting together.  If you are like me, I sometimes like to make the biscuits ahead of time, so most likely you will have to warm them up a bit.



Put them back together again.  Get a nice size bowl that will hold all the yummy strawberries.  Place the first biscuit on the bottom of the bowl (make sure it's together).  Place a nice-sized spoonful of strawberries and syrup on top of the first biscuit.  Place the second biscuit on top (make sure it's together).  Top with a smaller spoonful of strawberries/syrup.  Top with a dollop of whipped cream.  If you want to make it pretty, sprinkle with a little bit of orange peel.



If you made taller biscuits, all you have to do is use one biscuit.  You would still warm, butter and split, but the first spoonful of strawberries would go in between the layers.





Enjoy! Megan certainly is!

 This one is for you, Traci.  I love you.























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