Thursday, July 11, 2013

Perfect for a Picnic

You know I'm a fan of picnics.  There's no better way to enjoy summer, in my opinion.  You know what's even better than a picnic?  A picnic where there's very little mess.  And THAT is why I love single-serving, finger-food, no-utensil type options.

Speaking of, remember this gem from Delia Creates back during my picnic series?  Yeah.  How low-key, no-mess can you get than putting your entire lunch on sticks??

But let me come to the true point of this post.  What food says summer like no other food?  Ok, besides ice cream.  And popsicles.  Ok, so what FRUIT says summer like no other?  STRAWBERRIES!  I love them.  And my absolute favorite strawberry dessert is strawberry shortcake.  Love it.  
I went to Farewell BBQ and needed to bring something summery for dessert.  Of course, I wanted to share strawberry shortcake, but it seemed like a lot of mess and plates and plasticware and FUSS.  So I devised a way to turn one of my summer favorites into a portable, finger-food version!

FIRST things first!  Let me share some recipes with you.  They're fairly basic, and you may already have them handy in your repertoire, BUT if you don't now they're all in one place for you!

I should preface my "shortcake" recipe by saying 1) this isn't REAL shortcake (which, if you so desire, you can find here) and 2) I don't like angel food cake.  And I REALLY don't like those little ones you use for strawberry shortcake.  I prefer a hardier, butterier, biscuit-like shortcake.  

So, here's the recipe I generally use:

Easy Shortcake Biscuits
2 1/3 C Bisquick mix
1/2 C milk
3 T sugar
3 T butter, softened

Mix everything together with a mixer until well combined.  Preheat oven to 425.  Place rounded scoops of batter on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden.

There are an infinite number of ways to prepare your strawberries, but this is the method I used for my cupcakes:

Chunky Strawberry Syrup
1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced
1/3 C sugar
1-2 T flour
1/2 tsp vanilla

Put the strawberries in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the sugar, flour and vanilla and mix well.  For thicker sauce, use 2 T of flour, for thinner sauce use 1 T.  Use a potato masher or similar to mash many of the strawberries, leaving some small chunks.  Mix again and cook until it barely begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and let cool.

I don't have a potato masher, so I used this:

Which is actually a "guacamole maker." (???) Yeah...

And now, for the whipped cream.  Not like I haven't shared this with you again and again because homemade whipped cream is so very ridiculously better than store-bought...

Homemade Whipped Cream
1 half pint of Heavy Cream (sometimes called whipping cream or heavy whipping cream)
1/4 C powdered sugar

Pour the heavy cream in your mixers bowl and use the whisk attachment.  On high speed, whisk the cream until it begins to thicken.  Don't get impatient, if you add the sugar too soon, it WILL NOT THICKEN.  Once the cream starts to get thick and keep it's shape, add the sugar.  Continue whisking until the whipped cream is your desired consistency.

So, let's talk about what makes this a finger food, huh?

Put your biscuit batter into well-greased cupcake tins.  
Bake them for 10 minutes (or until golden).  Let them cool a bit.
"Core" the biscuits - use a small spoon to scoop out a hole in the center of the biscuits.
Place each cupcake in an extra large cupcake paper (I got mine at the dollar store).  Spoon the strawberry sauce into the hole.
Spoon whipped cream on top.


Easy.  No fuss, no mess.

I bet you're wondering what to do with all the insides you scooped out aren't you?  Well, there's bound to be leftover strawberry sauce and cream, so I don't have to spell it out, do I??

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

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