Nothing Shy About These Shortcakes ~ #Baketogether

Post image for Nothing Shy About These Shortcakes ~ #Baketogether

by Abby Dodge on July 3, 2012

Those of you who know me know that I am not shy – not in life, not with people and certainly not in my desserts. I love desserts with big, bold flavors – vanilla, coffee, chocolate, mint, berry, citrus or what have you – I want that primary flavor to be a stand-out, you know, a really show-stopper that leaves no doubt on the palette.

That said, desserts, like main courses, are best when the flavors are complex. So, while the main flavor is bold, there should be subtleties layered into the dessert to create intrigue and keep the palette guessing. The iconic Mexican  Mole is an excellent example of layering flavors to create a multifaceted, and captivating composition. Think about it..  this sauce is no one-note number instead it is memorable and unique because of the careful balance of spices, chocolate and subtle sweetness with only a few stronger, stand-out flavors.

So, what does Mexican Mole have to do with July’s BakeTogether? Everything. While, no, it’s not a savory (Sorry #TeamSavory), it is a recipe that, at its core, carries a big flavor profile ~chocolate~ but it’s also one that is easily adaptable to different complimentary flavors ~ sea salt, ginger, cayenne, peanut, lime ~ creating complexity, depth and, ultimately, a dessert that will be distinctly your own.

“Nothing-Shy-About-These Double Chocolate Shortcakes” come with an additional bonus for you creative bakers out there. It’s not just ONE recipe for you to tinker with, it’s THREE: shortcakes, whipped cream & macerated strawberries. Here are a few ideas for switching things up but feel free to streeeetch your limits here with one or all three elements. We are, after all, baking together so show us what you’ve got.

Add texture and/or flavor to the shortcakes: We discussed this a bit up top but pretty much any flavor and/or ingredient can add complexity to these shortcakes. I’ve added chopped chocolate to double up on the choco goodness but you can add nuts, nibs, herbs, spices, chili peppers. Bring it.

Change the shape: I bake my shortcakes in squares for several reasons. First off, I find this shape the easiest and fastest to shape and cut. The dough get less wear and tear without the re-rolling and, frankly, I like being a bit contrary. That said, make ‘em any shape you like. Large ones, small ones, star-shaped ones and minis, heck, we like ‘em all.

Change the berries: I used strawberries but any combo of berries will work and you can also easily add a stone fruit (hello cherries!) to the mix, if you wish. And don’t forget the seasonings in the compote. Sure, berries are stand-alone flavorful but sometimes they get lonely and what some company. Along with natural pairings like citrus, ginger and lemongrass, you might consider herbs, hot peppers, spices, or pink peppercorns. One last thought: what about cooking some or all of the compote to concentrate all of those wonderful flavors? Hummm….

Add more or different flavors to the Whipped Cream: Adding booze, citrus zest, lemon grass, ginger or herbs (you know how I love herbs in my sweets) are easy additions. You can also switch in brown sugar or honey or agave for the sweetener as well as just using straight up heavy cream. Or, maybe you are in the mood to whip up a quart or two of ice cream. To this, I’ll simply say “yes, please”!

Add a drizzle or a glaze: Caramel? Chocolate? Vanilla bean? Yes. Yes you can.

If you are new to #baketogether – Welcome! Read this short bit about how we roll:  “rules”. And please upload the BakeTogether badge to your site – it’s up there on the right side of the site.

It’s all about balance.. it’s all about flavor and it’s all right here in this month’s #baketogether. So, go ahead and stretch your limits,  find your balance and share your brilliance.

ps. This recipe originally appear on www.chefjamie.com as part of my monthly column and radio appearance “Baking With Abby”. Check out Jamie’s comprehensive site as well her fun, informative radio program “Food & Wine with Chef Jamie Gwen” {I’m on at the beginning of every month} on Sunday Mornings 8 to 10 PT live in your radio and computer!