{recipe} Brown Butter Berry Shortcakes

We have been getting the most gorgeous strawberries from a local farm stand out near Petaluma. In fact, we bought a 3-pack on Sunday morning and they were gone within a few hours. We stopped back at the stand for a full flat that afternoon, and after eating, sharing, and cooking pounds and pounds of strawberries for 24 hours – by Monday night they had all somehow disappeared.

One of the best things to come out of this strawberry extravaganza was these brown butter shortcakes. With the strawberries baked right into the fluffy, slightly sweet biscuits, all you need is a little ice cream or whipped cream and you’re good to go.

brown butter shortcakes

If you don’t have strawberries, these will also work with any kind of berry. I happened to notice that the raspberry bramble out in the backyard had hundreds of bees buzzing about last weekend, so I’m hopeful that those little pollinators are going to bring about a bumper crop later this summer. Raspberries, blackberries, marionberries, boysenberries, or even blueberries – I’m looking forward to making this summery shortcake recipe throughout the season.

Since today is Friday, it means we can hit the farm stand first thing tomorrow for a fresh batch of berries. Maybe two flats are in order? Is it possible to overdose on strawberries?

RECIPE: Brown Butter Berry Shortcakes
makes about 10 shortcakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (if they are huge, cut them into sixths or eighths)
  • 2 Tblsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • handful of coarse sugar (like turbinado or pearl sugar) for sprinkling

METHOD:

  • Cut butter into 4 pieces and place in a metal or enamel saucepan (if you use a pan that is dark in color on the inside, it’s almost impossible to see the butter browning.) Heat over medium heat until it melts. Keep watching closely, swirling pan occasionally, as butter foams up. As foam subsides, you will notice a nutty aroma and some brown bits in the bottom of the pan. The butter is ready when there is little or no foam and the bits on the bottom are brown. (If you are new to browning butter and want to see photos of the process, try these.)
  • Scrape butter into a small bowl and chill in the fridge or freezer to harden back to refrigerator consistency.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Combine strawberries with 2 Tblsp sugar and vanilla and set aside.
  • When the butter is hard, you can make the dough. Cut butter into small pieces. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or your fingers, until the butter pieces are about the size of lentils.
  • Gently stir in milk. The mixture may still be a little sandy or dry. Add berries and juice and stir to combine fully.
  • Form dough into 10 mounds on pan. Bake about 20-25 minutes, until bottoms are browned and shortcakes are cooked through.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.
  • These are best the day they are made, but will keep for a day in an airtight container.

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