Valentine's Day Heart-Shaped Strawberry Shortcakes

7:48 AM

Before kids, I could take or leave Valentine’s Day. Cheesy cards, overpriced meals and a second mortgage for long-stemmed roses – no thanks. Chocolates, strawberries, champagne – yes, please! And now that I have kids, I adore homemade valentines and look forward to making special treats with my boys. And yeah, chocolates, strawberries and champagne are still up there.

So when I found out there was going to be a “Friendship Day” Party (is this a sign that Valentine’s Day is going the way of Christmas Trees?) at my son’s first-grade class, I started to search for food ideas that were delicious but not overloaded with sugar (I do like my son’s teacher after all). That’s when I found a recipe for heart-shaped strawberry shortcakes. Festive? Yes! Healthy? Yes (with some tweaks). Delicious? Oh yeah! Check out the recipe after the jump.

Strawberries in February?

I used to buy strawberries in New England only during the summer months. But after attending “Paint Boston Red with California Strawberries” event hosted by the California Strawberry Commission and MommyNiri, all my preconceptions were thrown out the window. Some quick facts*:

  • California’s unique coastal environment, western ocean exposure and moderate temperature are the perfect conditions for growing strawberries year-round 
  • All California strawberries are hand-picked for the highest quality berries, then rushed to coolers within 24 hours 
  • Flavor is influenced by growing conditions, stage of ripeness and variety. Size is not a factor in determining flavor

Heart-Shaped Strawberry Shortcakes

  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into 12-14 pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 pints strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Whipped cream (canned or fresh)

1.     Heat over to 350 degrees F. Using stand mixer (with paddle attachment), mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed until combined (10-15 seconds).
2.     Scatter butter over the top and beat on medium-low speed for 30 seconds, until butter is broken down and the mixture becomes mealy.
3.     In a small bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and cream. On low speed, pour in egg mixture all at once and beat for 10-15 seconds, until dough comes together.
4.     Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and press it out into a circle about 10 inches in diameter and 1-inch thick. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out hearts, re-rolling scraps until dough is used up. Place them on a ungreased baking sheet several inches a part. Makes about 2 dozen hearts.
5.     In small bowl, whisk remaining egg and brush tops of dough hearts with the egg.
6.     Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until light golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes and transfer onto a cooling rack.
7.     While shortcakes are in the oven, stem and cut strawberries. In a medium bowl, toss strawberries with lemon zest and sugar.
8.     Top each heart shortcake with whipped cream and strawberries with their syrup and enjoy!

What are your favorite strawberry recipes? Are you a fan of Valentine's Day?

*Source: California Strawberry commission. I was not compensated for this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products or services mentioned. Opinions are my own.

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