This post kicks off LunaCafe’s annual Love Rules! All Chocolate! All Month! celebration.
For the next several weeks, I will post nothing but very special chocolate recipes, each one perfect for sharing with those special people in your life. Click the link above for photos and pointers to all past chocolate posts. And don’t miss the post titled, The Wonderful World of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, which details 17 fabulous cocoas, including my picks for top honors.
Now on to the celebration!
To set the record straight and to put my mind at rest, as near as I can determine after years of looking for the ultimate and absolute distinction between scones and shortcake, there is none.
Shortcake is a lightly sweetened cream biscuit–which is exactly what a scone is. So if you can make a perfect scone (and YOU CAN after reading The Best Scones in the Entire Universe), you can also make perfect shortcake.
This is good news when it comes to important days of remembrance and acknowledgement, such as Valentine’s Day, which perhaps you forgot until your Honey surprised you with your favorite flowers. But no worries! This shortcake can be presented with full fanfare in under an hour and needs little embellishment beyond whipped cream and sweetened berries (frozen will work) or perhaps caramelized bananas and store-bought caramel sauce.
However, with just a bit more time and effort, you can present your Sweetie with a sensuous taste experience he or she is unlikely to stop raving about until NEXT Valentine’s Day.
This unusual shortcake has all the flavors that the Mayan Goddess of Chocolate, Ixcacao, would approve: chocolate of course, but also coffee, chile, cinnamon, and anise. Paired with a richly suave crèma and a brightly acidic strawberry sauce, it’s flavor-pitch perfect.
Mayan Chocolate Shortcake with White Chocolate Crema, Strawberry Lime Sauce & Strawberry Lime Salsa
Who doesn’t love classic shortcake smothered with fresh berries and whipped cream? We even make an occasional dinner of ONLY shortcake and berries at the height of strawberry and raspberry season each summer.
But in winter, the imported strawberries are far from wonderful and require a bit more finessing to bring out what flavor they do possess. Usually, I pass them by in the grocery store after the local season ends, but Valentine’s Day is the exception. If strawberries could talk, they would say only three words over and over: I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU. Thus, they are required for this over the top, spicy chocolate shortcake with its luxurious accompaniment of whipped cream, cream cheese and white chocolate.
Mayan Chocolate Shortcake (recipe below)
White Chocolate Crèma (recipe below)
Strawberry Lime Sauce (recipe below)
Strawberry Lime Salsa (recipe below)
1 cup heavy cream, lightly sweetened and whipped
4-6 whole strawberries, each cut lengthwise 3-4 times without cutting through the stem
thin lime slices, optional
- Up to 2 days ahead, prepare Strawberry Lime Sauce and White Chocolate Crema, and frig.
- Up to several hours ahead, prepare Mayan Chocolate Shortcake through Step 10, cover baking sheet lightly with plastic wrap, and frig. Up to 2 hours before serving, complete the recipe. If the shortcake has cooled by the time you are ready to serve it, reheat for a few seconds in the microwave.
- Just before serving, prepare Strawberry Lime Salsa.
- To serve, cut each shortcake in half through the center. On the bottom half of each shortcake, spoon a large dollop of White Chocolate Crema, and then cover with the top half of the shortcake. Pour some of the Strawberry Lime Sauce in a thin line (a squirt bottle works well for this) on each serving plate and position filled shortcake on top of each. Put a small dollop of White Chocolate Crema on each shortcake and push a whole strawberry into it, fanning the strawberry slightly in the process. Add Strawberry Lime Salsa to each plate, 2 lime slices if desired, and serve immediately.
Mayan Chocolate Shortcake
Tender, moist, not too rich, not too sweet chocolate shortcake on the wild side with a little heat from the chile powder, coffee to accentuate the chocolate, and warm winter spices.
1¾ cups King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour (6¾ ounces)
¼ cup natural, unsweetened cocoa (not alkalized)
½ cup sugar (none for savory scones and 4-6 tablespoons for sweet scones)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder (or Starbuck’s Via Ready Brew Italian Roast Coffee)
1 teaspoon ancho or New Mexico chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground anise
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
8 tablespoons very cold, unsalted butter, cut into 16 equal-size piec
1 large, very cold egg
¾ cup very cold cream
Beaten egg, for brushing on tops prior to baking
- In a mixing bowl, add and then whisk together the flour, sugar (if using), baking powder, baking soda (if using) and salt. Dump out onto a clean work surface.
- Distribute the butter over the dry ingredients and toss lightly to coat the pieces with flour. Using a large, heavy rolling pin, roll over the mixture to flattened the butter. Using a dough scraper, push the mixture together and then repeat the rolling process. Repeat two more times, scraping off the rolling pin between each process.
- Scoop the mixture into a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and frig for at least ½ hour to chill the butter.
- Meanwhile, in a glass measuring cup with a pouring spout, whisk the egg and then whisk in the liquid. Cover and frig until needed.
- Remove the bowl from the frig and add the very cold liquid. Use a large, flexible spatula to gently fold the liquid into the developing dough so that the dough becomes uniformly moistened. Do not stir the dough!
- Turn the dough out onto the work counter and very gently move it around a bit to ensure that all portions are uniformly moistened. Do not knead the dough!
- If desired (for extra flakiness), after the dough is formed, flatten somewhat and gently make 2 letter folds (as for flakey pastry or croissant dough) in opposite directions. This will help to build flakey layers in the baked scone.
- Pat the dough into the desired shape and then cut 8 equal-size scones. If there are scraps, push them together gently, pat into shape, and cut into the desired shape. (To cut heart shapes, first divide the dough into 6 equal-size pieces and then shape each one to accommodate the cutter.)
- Put the scones onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and either bake or cover with plastic wrap and frig until ready to bake, as much as a day later.
- Just before baking, brush the tops (but not the sides) of the scones with buttermilk, cream, or beaten egg. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar or other garnish of choice.
- Ten minutes before baking, set an ovenproof dish filled with ¼ cup water on a rack in the bottom third of the oven. (The steam will enhance the scone’s rise.)
- Bake at 375° in the upper third of the oven for about 15-16 minutes, depending on scone size, or until the scones are light brown on the bottom and just golden on top. Do not overbake! Overbaking produces dry scones.
- Remove scones to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before devouring them. Scones are at their absolute perfection within an hour out of the oven.
- To store, let the scones cool completely, then seal in an airtight Ziploc bag for as long as a day before eating. Otherwise freeze the scones and later reheat in a 350° oven for 5 minutes or in a microwave for 10-15 seconds.
Makes 6-8 shortcakes.
White Chocolate Crèma
Imagine lofty whipped cream blended with tangy cream cheese, and then add melted white chocolate. Heavenly!
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped or pistoles
1 cup cream cheese (8 ounces)
¼ cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
- Put the white chocolate in a small glass measuring cup. Using a microwave oven and 15 second bursts of power, melt the white chocolate. Stir with a dry wooden chopstick between power bursts. You won’t be able to tell that the chocolate is melted without trying to stir it periodically. Do not overheat or the chocolate with seize (turn dry and gritty), and you will have to begin again with a new batch. Remove from the oven and let cool somewhat while you proceed with the recipe.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until completely smooth.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and with the mixer on low, slowly add the cream until it is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Scrape the bowl a few times during this process.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat just until the cream begins to whip. (Yes, it will whip with the other ingredients.)
- Scrape the barely warm white chocolate into the mixture and continue beating until the cream is fully whipped. The crèma will be thick.
- Remove the crèma to a storage container and frig until needed.
Makes 2½ cups.
Strawberry Lime Sauce
This zippy sauce brings out all the sparkling flavor of strawberries at their peak and is wonderful with any number of simple desserts, such as rich vanilla ice cream, tart lemon custard, brown sugar-glazed fresh peaches, and yes, Mayan Chocolate Shortcake.
1 pound (about 3 cups) fresh strawberries, stemmed (you can use frozen, thawed strawberries in a pinch)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup strawberry jam or red currant jelly
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, puree the strawberries and sugar. Reserve.
- Put the jam or jelly into a saucepan over medium heat and warm just to melt, whisking until smooth. Remove from the heat.
- Add the melted jam or jelly and lime juice to the strawberries in the processor, and pulse to incorporate.
- Strain the sauce through a triple mesh strainer into a storage container.
- Adjust flavor balance as necessary by adding additional sugar or lime juice (depending on tartness of berries).
- Chill thoroughly and serve cold.
Makes about 2 cups.
Strawberry Lime Salsa
Strawberries go from ordinary to extraordinary with just the squeeze of a lime.
24 large strawberries, stemmed and sliced (1½ cups sliced)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
4 leaves fresh mint, minced, optional
- In a mixing bowl, toss the strawberries, lime juice, sugar, and mint if desired.
- Let macerate for up to ½ hour in the frig, and then serve.
Makes about 1½ cups.
- AZCentral: Superb Shortcake in a Few Short Steps
- BakingBites: Grilled Peach Shortcakes with Candied Ginger
- Cake, Crumbs and Cooking: Clotted Cream Shortcake
- Cookin’ Canuck: Chocolate Shortcake with Raspberries, Ice Cream & Fudge Sauce
- Cooking for Engineers: Basic Biscuits
- Culinary Life in Berlin: Cream Scones Versus Shortcake
- Food Network: Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake
- Frontera Grill: Strawberry Tres Leches Shortcake
- Los Angeles Times: A Short Path to Shortcake Nirvana
- Pinch My Salt: It’s Strawberry Time
- SmittenKitchen: Strawberry Shortcake
- The Goddess of Chocolate
Check out these additional CHOCOLATE recipes, which are from the first, second, and third (thus far) Love Rules! All Chocolate! All Month! celebrations at LunaCafe:
- Bittersweet Chocolate Orange French Toast for Lovers
- Fried Banana Split with Mexican Chocolate Sauce & Strawberry Lime Salsa
- LunaCafe Otherworldly Silky Fudgy Brownies
- Quintessential Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce
- The Wonderful World of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- White Chocolate, Cardamom & Coconut Beignet
- Bittersweet Chocolate & Cabernet Butter Cake
- Bittersweet Chocolate & Montmorency Cherry Morning Love Muffins
- Bittersweet Chocolate & Toasted Walnut Cookies Perfecta Mundo!
- Burnt Sugar & Rosemary Chocolate Tarts
- LunaCafe’s Ultimate Chocolate Pudding
- Luscious White Chocolate & Raspberry Rose Petal Cheesecake
- Mexican Hearts of Fire Cookies
More Scones from LunaCafe:
I Love Hearing from You!
Let’s talk. Include your blog URL and CommentLuv will automatically link back to your most recent blog post. Happy baking! …Susan
Copyright 2011 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.
Those are seriously wonderful looking! What a fun Valentine’s treat.
Where can we get that nifty heart cutter that you use on the short cakes?
Susan S. Bradley
Ruth, so sorry, I don’t recall. It was likely either Sur la Table, Kitchen Kaboodle, Williams Sonoma, or Crate & Barrel in Portland, Oregon. The plunger isn’t absolutely necessary, but it is nice. Good luck!
This is super tempting to try but unfortunately I can’t stand chilli…haha! Any recommended substitute?
Susan S. Bradley
Akira, no worries, just leave it out. 🙂
Susan S. Bradley
Louise, thank you so much! 🙂 Any berries will work of course or maybe serve with ice cream and caramel sauce. I even enjoy these all by themselves. 🙂
These look so good and you are so right, they are a scone of another name. I love the sparkle the sugar crystals give the crust. In fact, I found some sanding sugar in the cupboard the other day and used it on yet another batch of scones and loved the slight additional crunch it gave the crust. I’ll be trying these as soon as I find some decent fruit.
Forgot I wanted to have you look at something..I found this sauce recipe to serve over shortcake that appealed to me as a replacement for creme anglaise (I can’t get past all the egg yolks creme anglaise uses; I just don’t care for the flavor they lend) Since you have more experience than I, does this sound more like a sub for a clotted cream? I would love to try this with this shortcake recipe.
Here’s the site link:
Susan S. Bradley
Susan, I’m sure it will be lovely but very very rich. For the same calories, you can have a mountain of luscious whipped cream. 🙂
God. These look amazing. I’ll definitely try them this Valentine’s Day.
Susan S. Bradley
Curele, thank you! 🙂
in the white choc crema, when do you add the T of juice? sometimes it matters how and when…the whole of the gorgeous dessert gives credit to each component separately which is a rare treat! thank you for sharing such details for a real wow! finish! (enjoyed your research!)
Susan S. Bradley
Thank you, Rose, and good catch! 🙂 Actually the 1 tablespoon of lime juice is specified in the Strawberry Lime Sauce and should be added along with the jam. I made the correction to the post.
This is Goodness in all its Glory!!! My husband will love this (and so will I)- Valentines Day will be so sweet this year – thank you for sharing your recipe. Love Rules indeed.
Wow, this is impressive! Your valentine will be happy for sure. 🙂