Shortcakes make awesome desserts because they come together quickly and they’re relatively forgiving. Still, with a biscuit dough and rustic flavor, I’m always left feeling like they’re better suited as a breakfast item, rather than the end to a posh meal.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to come up with a recipe for you that has the ease of preparation of a shortcake but is impressive enough to score big on the final act. What I came up with is a chocolate shortcake that’s richer and more decadent than your average shortcake, lighter and fluffier than a brownie (though no less chocolatey), and involving significantly less effort than a full-blown chocolate cake.
I stuck with a fairly standard biscuit dough, but crammed in about as much chocolate flavor as possible before the dough threw it’s hands up in the air and refused to rise. With about as much chocolate and coco powder in this shortcake as there is flour, even the most unapologetic chocoholic can’t accuse you of skimping on the chocolate.
Because chocolate is the primary flavor in the shortcakes, it’s important to use the best quality cocoa and chocolate you can find (I used Scharffen Berger cocoa powder and Valrhona Caraïbe 66%). Other than that, don’t overmix the dough and you should end up with tender, fluffy shortcakes that are literally oozing chocolate out of every pore.
While the contrast of creamy white, berry red, chocolate brown and mint green make for an impressive plate, what’s more impressive is how easily this all comes together. With about 10 minutes of prep and 20 minutes in the oven I can’t think of many desserts that can rival this one one on the taste/effort ratio.
Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
Food blogger Marc Matsumoto created this chocolate strawberry shortcake recipe that takes only 30 minutes to make. He explains how he varied his chocolate shortcake recipe on the Fresh Tastes blog.
- 130 grams (4.6 ounces) all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
- 50 grams (1.8 ounces) sugar (about 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon)
- 23 grams (0.8 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder (about 3 tablespoons)
- 7.5 grams (0.26 ounces) baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 2.5 grams (0.08 ounces) baking soda (1/2 teaspoon)
- 0.75 grams (0.027 ounces) salt (1/8 teaspoon)
- 57 grams (2 ounces) unsalted butter (4 tablespoons) very cold, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) dark chocolate chunks
- 2/3 cup plain yogurt (shaken until runny)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 300 grams (11 ounces) mixed berries tossed with 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- mint for garnish
- Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the flour, 50 grams sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a food processor and pulse several times to combine.
- Scatter the butter over the flour and give it 6-8 one second pulses until the the butter is broken up into small even pebbles.
- Dump this mixture into a bowl along with the chocolate chunks and mix to distribute the chocolate. Add the yogurt and stir until just combined.
- Working quickly dump the mixture onto a well floured surface and use your hands to pat it out into a 1-inch thick square. The mixture will be sticky so make sure you use enough flour on the board and on your hands.
- You can either use a knife to cut the shortcake into squares, rectangles or triangles; or use a cookie cutter to make hearts, circles, or stars. I was able to get 5 round shortcakes using a 3-inch cutter. If you use cookie cutters, be sure to use sturdy ones as you'll need to cut through the chunks of chocolate embedded in the dough.
- Place the shortcakes on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a few inches between each one, as they will spread.
- Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter and sprinkle on the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake the shortcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out without any batter on it (though it may have some melted chocolate on it), about 15-20 minutes.
- When they are done, you can serve them warm, or let the shortcakes cool in a the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to let them cool completely.
- To serve, core and slice up the strawberries and toss any other berries you're using with some sugar. In a separate cold bowl add the powdered sugar and cream and whip using a whisk until it holds soft peaks.
Yield: 4-6 servings - depends on how big you cut the shortcakes
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marcs been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.