When making the biscuit dough, if at any point you feel the butter start to melt, stick the dough in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up. You want to keep your dough cold during the entire process to ensure light, fluffy, round biscuits. And be sure to taste your strawberries before macerating, as they may not need the full amount of added sugar.
To learn more, read "Short Stack."
Recipe adapted from Erik Niel, Easy Bistro, Chattanooga, TN
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
For the Chocolate Biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons, (3 ounces) chopped bittersweet chocolate
⅓ cup buttermilk
⅓ cup heavy cream
For the Macerated Strawberries:
1 quart fresh strawberries, stems removed then cut into ¼-inch slices
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (½ lemon)
6 thyme sprigs, plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves for garnish
2 to 3 drops rose water
For the Whipped Cream:
1½ cups heavy whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ vanilla bean, scraped and pod reserved for another use
1. Make the chocolate biscuits: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda, then whisk in the salt. Add the chilled butter. Incorporate the butter into the flour by sliding the flour mixture in between the palms of your hands to create a flaky, coarse mealy texture. Stir in the chocolate. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk and cream, mixing with one hand until the dough is shaggy and begins to come together.
2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Working quickly, gently press the dough together with your hands and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to an even 1-inch thickness. Fold once and re-roll to a 1-inch thickness. Using a 2½-inch biscuit cutter, press straight down through the dough without twisting. Gather and pat down the scraps if needed. Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet so they are just touching and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes before baking.
3. While the biscuits are chilling, make the macerated strawberries: Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside to macerate for 20 minutes, gently tossing once.
4. Bake the biscuits until lightly golden on top, 30 to 35 minutes. Make ahead: The dough can be made, cut into biscuits, frozen on a sheet tray and transferred to a resealable plastic bag for up to 1 month.
5. Make the whipped cream: In a large bowl, whisk the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until medium peaks form. Set aside.
6. Assemble the strawberry shortcake: Split the biscuits in half and arrange the bottom halves on plates. Place a spoonful of the macerated strawberries along with their liquid over the bottom of each biscuit and top with the whipped cream. Repeat with a second layer of strawberries and cream, then garnish with a sprinkle of thyme leaves and top with the remaining biscuit halves.