Strawberry Shortcake (Dairy-Free option)
Picking your own strawberries is a sure sign summer is coming. Strawberry picking is one of our favorite activities in the late Spring and Summer. It’s quite literally the farm to table experience. And there is just something about eating a berry (or any other fruit) that grew just miles from where we live. They’re sweeter somehow and they taste so much fresher than what we typically find in the store.
Strawberry Shortcake is an obvious use for fresh strawberries. It was one of my favorite desserts growing up. In California, our berries were fresh and (somewhat) local, so this treat always reminds me of childhood. My Mom would make the recipe on the Bisquick box. No judgement – Bisquick knew a good thing. But, I made these from scratch and I made two batches – a “regular” version and a dairy-free version. I asked my taste testers which they preferred and was surprised that they could hardly tell the difference. I served mine with a homemade coconut whipped cream, but you can also use regular whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Most strawberry shortcake recipes call for tossing the berries in sugar and lemon juice. I don’t do that. Fresh strawberries are so naturally sweet, I just slice them on and put them on top. You really don’t need any more sweetness in this recipe, I assure you.
This year, we went strawberry picking on Mother’s Day. The weather was perfect and the picking was good. We picked two varieties of strawberries. One produced tiny berries that are candy-sweet. The other was described as the “champagne” type. Can you guess which ones I chose?
I always love watching my kids in this picking process – whether its strawberries, apples or pumpkins. Their personalities are so evident. My daughter fixates on picking the very best, flawless fruit she can find. She will examine, assess and discern whether the fruit is perfect. Only then will she pick it. My son, on the other hand, will pick whatever’s in sight. Ripe, unripe, bruised, damaged, rotten…who knows what ends up in his basket. But they both have fun and that’s all that matters.
I hope you have the chance to pick strawberries with your kids. It’s a great experience and you can do so many things with the berries – think: smoothies, ice cream, on top of waffles or – in my unbiased opinion – as strawberry shortcake. Whatever you do, enjoy!