strawberries

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Cupcake

I just don’t get tired of strawberries. Maybe because the season for local berries is so short- and sweet. Local strawberries are at all the markets now- and they are fabulous. The season for local berries is short and I try to use them as much as I can. I also will freeze some for use throughout the year.

I was making cupcakes for some friends and decided to make some with strawberries. As you might expect, they were a big hit. The berries add sweetness and color in a delicate, natural way. You could also  make these with frozen berries.

 

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

2/3 cup whole fresh strawberries

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

2 large egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing. Makes 12.

Strawberry Frosting

1/2 cup whole fresh strawberries or frozen strawberries, thawed

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold

Pinch of coarse salt

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not over-mix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream. Makes enough for 1 dozen cupcakes.

Fresh Strawberry Crepes

Strawberry Crepes

Strawberry Crepes

With what looks to be a great strawberry season this year I am looking forward to a lot of cooking with and just eating of fresh strawberries. One of my favorite dishes is Strawberry Crepes. The crepes take a little time but the end result is so worth the effort. These can be served as a dessert, but also for brunch or breakfast.

Strawberry Crepes

1 recipe dessert crepe batter- see below

2 lbs.fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

sugar to taste- start with 1/2 cup, then adjust to your taste

1 t. vanilla

1 t. grated orange peel

powdered sugar

whipped cream, optional

Make the crepe batter (recipe below) and cook the crepes. Toss the berries with the sugar, vanilla and orange peel. Place a crepe on your work surface and spoon berries down the middle. Fold up the sides of the crepe and move to serving dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients until you run out of something. I tend to put a lot of the berries in each crepe so I run out of berries and have left over crepes. How much fruit you put in each one is completely up to you and your taste. Dust filled crepes with powdered sugar and top with extra berries- if you have any left. You can also add some whipped cream on the top. I list it as optional- but I really think you’re going to want that whipped cream. Makes about 12 crepes, give or take.

Dessert Crepes

 1 c. flour

4 eggs

1 1/2 c. milk

1 T. sugar

2-T. orange-flavored liqueur or orange juice concentrate

1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled

 Mix all ingredients in blender (except butter) until smooth, scraping sides often. Add butter and blend well. Let stand for 30 minutes before using, or batter can be refrigerated, covered, over night. Beat again, just before using.Heat 6 or 7 inch skillet. Brush with butter or oil and pour in about 2 teaspoons of batter, tipping pan to cover bottom of pan completely with batter. Cook until edges start to brown, turn over and cook until lightly browned (about 2 minutes per side.) Crepes can be made day ahead or even placed between sheets of waxed paper and frozen. Makes 20.

 

Strawberry Shortcake “Sliders”

Strawberry Shortcake Sliders

Strawberry Shortcake “Sliders”

While we were enjoying these at dinner last night one of my friends said they looked like sliders and the name stuck. I made the shortcake base with cream scones and used an ice cream scoop to put the batter on the baking sheet. They ended up looking like little sandwich buns. Split and filled with sweetened strawberries, I replaced the top and added chocolate ganache and whipping cream to finish them off. They were a big hit. The scone was tender and not too sweet. Satisfying and light at the same time.

Strawberry Shortcake “Sliders”

The shortcakes
2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
½ t. salt
1 T. baking powder
1 1/4  c. heavy cream or 1 cup half and half
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add cream to form soft dough. Stir mixture until it just holds together. Using an ice cream scoop place batter on baking sheet a couple of inches apart. You should get about a dozen. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden. Makes about 12. Cool on rack until ready to use.

The berries

2 lbs. strawberries, sliced thin

1/2 c. sugar, or to taste

Combine berries and sugar in medium bowl and place in fridge until ready to use. Berries should be in the sugar for at least a couple of hours and can even be prepped a day ahead to allow the juices to come out of the berries.

The ganache

1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips or 6 oz. semi sweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 c. heavy whipping cream.

Combine both in double boiler or in microwave and heat until mixture is just warm enough to melt the chocolate. Stir until smooth.

The whipped cream – use whipped cream, sweetened or unsweetened according to your taste.

Assembly: Slice the caps off the tops of the shortcakes. Place a generous spoonful of the sliced berries on the bottoms of the shortcakes and spoon some of the strawberry liquid over them as well. Place the tops of the shortcakes back on and spoon on a dollop of the chocolate ganache. I let me get to room temperature so it didn’t drip down exactly as I had planned. Top with some whipped cream and serve. Makes about 12.

"sliders" with berries added

“sliders” with berries added

Ganache added

Ganache added

Ready to serve.

Ready to serve.