yessssssssssss… success!!!!

Remember those cupcakes I made?  The ones that didn’t look like the picture?  Yes… now you remember!  They tasted yummy but they just didn’t look they way I hoped they would.  Well… this time I GOT IT RIGHT!!!!!

This is what I used as my template:

and this was my final result…. (I’m so excited!!!)

shortcake / preserves / whipped cream / strawberry / shortcake

Totally comparable to the original.  Like I said… SUCCESS! If I were still living in the UK I would call these… gorgeous (since all food in the UK is gorgeous).

Pretty and elegant.  Perfect for a Stella & Dot party right?  My friend Tonya was hosting a bunch of us ladies last weekend and wanted to serve treats that were dainty and stylish.  I found this recipe in a wedding cookbook and just knew that they would be PERFECT!  They were.  Honestly… people who say that girls don’t eat should have come to this party – mini champagne cupcakes and these mini strawberry shortcakes (don’t be fooled by the word mini – it just meant I made that many more from the recipes) didn’t stand a chance (that’s a compliment to everyone who attended the party).

As you can tell from the picture, these are made in 3 major stages:

1.  making the dough and chilling it

2.  rolling it out, cutting out the rounds, baking them

3.  dressing the shortcake with whipped cream and strawberries

It’s really not overly complicated.  You can start and finish these within a few hours – I’d say a mornings worth of time… and that’s really because you need the chilling and then the baking and cooling times incorporated.  It’s not labour intensive at all.  I swear!  And if I can actually make these look like the picture… then you have to know it’s easy (remember the cupcakes as proof).

shortcake:

3/4 c. butter, room temperature

1/2 c. white sugar

zest of a lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 c. ground hazelnuts*

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

In the bowl of your stand-mixer and using your paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar – your goal is a light and fluffy batter.  I have learned that it’s not a bad thing to let your stand-mixer work for a couple of minutes… you really want the sugar to loosen up the butter (increase the speed from stir to a medium speed too).  Just remember to scrape the sides down from time to time.

Once you get to the light and fluffy stage, return the mixer to a lower speed and stir in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.  Add the ground hazelnuts and flour, mixing well to form a dough – the batter will gather around the paddle attachment.

Wrap the dough in plastic film and chill for 30 minutes.

Once you’re ready to roll out the dough, preheat your oven to 325 F.  Line a couple cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Lightly flour your counter-top and roll out your dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Using a 1 or 1.5-inch round cookie cutter, cut out your perfect rounds.  I made 24 1.5-inch rounds and then another 30 1-inch rounds.  As you place the shaped rounds onto the cookie sheets (1/2 inch space between each cookie – they don’t spread), you can gather the dough together and roll it out again – repeating until you have no dough left.

Bake each cookie sheet for 12 – 15 minutes (depending on size), leave on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.

* the original recipe called for ground almonds… I thought that the hazelnuts brought a nicer flavour…. the almonds probably wouldn’t be very evident in the overall cookie.

smaller disks in the background and then the larger disks – all stacked nicely

filling:

1 1/4 c. heavy cream

1 tsp (or more) vanilla extract

1/4 c. powdered sugar

3/4 c. strawberry jam

1 pint strawberries, cleaned and sliced, stems removed

Whip the heavy cream, vanilla extract and powdered sugar together until the cream is stiff (it should hold to the whisk attachment of your stand-mixer).

Place the whipped cream in your pastry bag with a large star tip.  Set aside.

To assemble your shortcakes (as per the picture)

place a teaspoon of the strawberry jam on the base of a 1.5-inch round cookie (spread evenly)

Pipe swirls of whipped cream on-top of the strawberry jam

top with a slice of fresh strawberry

Angle a second disk of shortcake on a slight angle.  Dust with powdered sugar and… done!

Repeat with the remaining 1.5-inch disks of shortcake (if you made all of the cookies this size, then continue until all the disks are used).

If you made some smaller disks (1-inch rounds) then assemble as following:  disk / strawberry preserves / swirl of whipped cream / slice of strawberry

Little nibbles of goodness… perfect for a summer party.

Now… if you wanted to make these… for say a winter / holiday party… I would top the little disk with nutella, pipe marshmallow fluff and then top that with a really boozey flambée slice of banana.  YUM. I am so making that for a holiday party!

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