Strawberry Shortcake Sliders

Ever notice how people from big families eat fast? That’s because if you finish your food first, you’ll be assured of seconds. In our family we kids perfected the art of eating quickly with strawberry shortcake. If there was one food we dreamt of, fought over, couldn’t get enough of, it was strawberry shortcake. Made with biscuits. And real whipped cream. Sigh. There is no more of a perfect dessert than this.

Which is why, when my mother asked me to make something for her book club meeting, and with big, juicy, sweet strawberries showing up in the markets all over town (even at a street vendor on the corner of my block), that I couldn’t wait to make these mini shortcakes. I don’t take credit for the idea, or the name for that matter. We were served mini strawberry shortcakes at an event for Ruth Reichl when she was in town recently, and my pals Garrett and Amber took one look at them and called them “sliders”. Why a slider? Because like a burger slider, you can hold them in your hand to eat. They are perfect little finger food shortcakes.

Shortcake biscuits are typically very crumbly; the crumbles just absorb all of that extra juice from the strawberries. But with sliders, you don’t want them to crumble. So the solution is to add an egg to dough, to give the biscuits a little more structure, and to knead them just a few turns more than you would normally.

Strawberry Shortcake Sliders Recipe

  • Yield: Makes approximately 36 mini strawberry shortcake sliders.

Ingredients

Biscuits

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter (if using salted, skip the salt in dry ingredients), cut into small cubes and chilled (freezer for 15 minutes or longer)
  • 7/8 cup (that's one cup minus 2 tablespoons) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Strawberries

  • 2 baskets of fresh strawberries, rinsed, stems removed and discarded, sliced (1/8" to 1/4" thick)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar


Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

*Make sure your baking powder is less than 6 months old or it may be flat and your biscuits will have a hard time rising. If you don't have baking powder you can combine two teaspoons cream of tartar (a dry acid) with one teaspoon baking soda (a dry base) for the same effect.

Method

1 In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder for the biscuits. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a fork or a pastry cutter, or pulse in a food processor until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas.

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2 Use a fork to whisk together the cream, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl. Make a well in the large bowl of the flour mixture and pour the cream mixture into the center of it. Use a fork to mix until the dough is evenly moistened. The dough mixture should look shaggy. Knead the dough with your hands 8 turns or so to create a ball.

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3 Lightly flour a smooth surface. Turn the dough out onto the surface and pat or roll out until it is between 1/4 and 1/2-inch thick. Use a 1 1/2-inch diameter biscuit cutter (or a juice glass) to cut out round biscuit shapes from the dough. (It helps to dip the biscuit cutter in some flour before each cut, so that the dough doesn't stick to the form.) Place rounds on a baking sheet, space about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart from each other. Chill for 10 minutes in the refrigerator before baking.

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4 Heat oven to 425°F. Bake biscuits on middle rack for 12 minutes, or until risen and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool.

5 While the biscuits are baking, prepare the strawberries and whipped cream. Place the sliced strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle sugar over them. Gently mix so that the sugar coats most of the strawberries. Let sit until the sugar dissolves and the strawberries release their moisture.

6 To make the whipped cream, make sure you are starting with cream that is very cold. It helps to chill the bowl first too. Use a hand mixer (you can make whipped cream in a blender, but watch out; it's easy to over-whip the cream in a blender) to whip the cream until it just begins to firm up. Sprinkle the sugar and vanilla over the cream. Continue to whip until it is thick and holds its shape. Cover with plastic wrap and keep chilled until it's time to assemble the mini strawberry shortcakes.

7 When the biscuits have cooled to room temperature, gently break them apart, separating the tops from the bottoms. Place a strawberry slice or two on each bottom, and place a dollop of whipped cream on top of the strawberries. Then place the top biscuit piece on top of the whipped cream. Voilá! You have your slider. Alternatively, you can serve them without the top.

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Links:
Whipped cream technique from David Lebovitz's latest Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes
Biscuit cutters for sale at Amazon.com
Original mini strawberry shortcake idea from pastry chef Elaine Baker of Grange Restaurant in Sacramento, CA

18 Comments

  1. Joyce Pinson

    While in college, I used to waitress for extra money in the summer. We served these in ramakins, with regular size biscuits…layered using two biscuits. The biscuits were soaked with a strawberry simple syrup.

    A variation was alternating layers of fresh strawberries in simple syrup with stewed rhubarb.

  2. Ingrid M.

    A foodie in the checkout line who saw my strawberries and heavy cream told me the best sugar for whipped cream was powdered sugar. I’ve used it ever since, with great success.

    My father is the whipped cream master here and he usually uses powdered sugar. This time we followed David Lebovitz’s approach to whipping the cream, using granulated, and were very pleased with the results. ~Elise

  3. michael tuohy

    Glad you were inspired by Elaine’s dessert! She’ll be very happy to know.

  4. E. Peevie

    Num num. I will be making these tonight.

    Also, I thought you might like this article from the NYTimes about photographing food. Slate.com tweeted it and said “It reads like an Onion story” which totally caught my attention:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/dining/07camera.html?hp

    What an interesting article, thanks! ~Elise

  5. Elaine Baker

    Elise, I’m so glad you enjoyed them! They were such a hit at the Ruth Reichl reception that I’m putting on the menu at Grange this week :)

    Elaine Baker, Pastry Chef
    Grange Restaurant/Citizen Hotel

  6. Kim

    My boyfriend and I will be hosting his parents and grandparents and some other family members for dinner on Friday night…these will be perfect! However, I’m traveling throughout the week so it will be difficult for me to make my own dough and get everything together. Can I improvise with a store bought dough? If so, what kind would you suggest?
    Thank you for an awesome recipe!

    You might try using frozen puff pastry dough. ~Elise

  7. Becky

    These look wonderful, but say, for instance I had to make something quick, what biscuits, from the refrigerated section at the grocery store would you recommend for this? I’m thinking that the ‘butter’ ones wouldn’t be quite right here.

    Great question. I haven’t the faintest idea. There is a lot of butter in these biscuits by the way. ~Elise

  8. Elizabeth Robertson

    When cooking scones/sliders/biscuits/shortcakes, if you pace them close together, you will get soft sides. This also prevents lopsided ones. These will work with all sort of fruits, Kiwi’s, peaches, and all types of berries. How pretty it would look with different fruits on them on a party platter.

  9. Jackie

    Wow, this post, along with Elizabeth’s comment gave me a great idea…I have some fresh kiwis in the fridge and some homemade strawberry jam and puff pastry in the freezer…all I need now is some heavy cream! I’m going to cut the pastry in little squares before baking, let the kiwis sit in some sugar while that bakes, and assmeble with the kiwis, whipped cream and jam.

  10. Cindi Richins

    Love this recipe! I make a similar dish that my family LOVES. I put a little lemon zest in with the strawberries. It gives it a great freshness. I also brush the tops of my shortcakes with a little butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

  11. Mother of Pearl

    Great idea! One of the best things about having a spring birthday is getting to have strawberry shortcake for my birthday cake every year. Just one question – how big are your strawberry baskets? Quart? Pint? Something else?

    Great question. Okay, so I just measure a basket. It’s 4 1/2 inches long, by 3 3/4 inches deep, by 2 3/4 inches high (or 11cm x 9cm x 6.5 cm) where the strawberries peek way over the top. ~Elise

  12. Emily

    These were a HUGE hit at a party today! Thanks for the great idea! I doctored the strawberries up a bit with some fresh mint and blackberry brandy and I had to use my heart and star shaped cookie cutters to go the extra mile in cuteness. Awesome recipe.

  13. Taryn

    These are so cute! When I first glanced at the photo I thought the cream was pink, so I might try to achieve that with a touch of jam or food coloring. I have to make the biscuits the day before though to save time – what’s the best way to store them? I don’t want them to get too mushy in a Tupperware but I don’t want them to get stale, either. Any suggestions? And what’s the best way to store any leftovers?

    You need to store the biscuits and the strawberries separately. The biscuits you can wrap tightly in plastic wrap. But be warned, biscuits are best eaten fresh out of the oven, they very quickly get dry, and aren’t nearly as good the next day. ~Elise

  14. Kelly

    I made these for a holiday party and instead of cutting them in rounds, I used holiday-shaped cookie cutters. The stars worked the best – they looked great and tasted wonderful.

  15. Jun Belen

    Oh my! Thanks for the idea. This would be great this weekend for brunch!

  16. alyson

    I made these yesterday and the biscuits burned at the bottom..has anyone had a problem at 425?

  17. Miriam

    I tried these this morning and it was flavorful to taste, but my biscuits didn’t rise very much..only a little. Can you ever use too much baking powder? I measured mine according to the directions.

    Also is there a way to freeze and bake later? If so, at what temperature should frozen biscuits be cooked?

    • Elise

      Could be your baking powder is too old. Baking powder is essentially a dry acid combined with a dry base, and eventually over time the molecules will find each other and combine. If this happens while you are baking, great, because the result is the air pockets that are the leavening you need. If this happens in the can because it’s been sitting around too long, your baking powder isn’t strong and you end up with flat biscuits.

      As for freezing and baking, I haven’t done that with this recipe so don’t know what to tell you.

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