Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes

Serves 6.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup chilled whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400*F. Line baking sheet with parchment.

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat cream and vanilla to stiff peaks. Stir cream into dry ingredients until moist. Dump contents onto a floured board and knead until the dough forms a ball. Pat dough into 3/4 inch thickness and use a 3 inch round cutter (a glass would work, too) to form biscuits. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Pat out remaining dough and cut additional biscuits to a total of 6.

Bake 15 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

2 pounds small strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add strawberries to a large bowl, with sugar and vanilla. Gently stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours for juices to form, stirring occasionally.

White Chocolate Mousse
8 ounces white chocolate (chopped or use wafers)
1 2/3 cups chilled whipping cream

Combine white chocolate and 2/3 cup cream in a heavy medium sized saucepan over low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted, remove from heat. Cool until temperature reaches 70F, stirring occasionally.*

Whip cream in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold half the cream into the chocolate, then fold in remaining cream. Cover and chill 2 hours (or more).

*I've had to relearn this lesson over and over when it comes to making a ganache out of white chocolate. You MUST let the ganache cool to 70*F - no cheating! - or the texture will go crazy once you refrigerate it.

(I followed the original recipe's instructions, and cooled the ganache for 30 minutes. It felt cool to the touch, so I proceeded with folding in the whipped cream. The result looks more like ice cream, and tasted...not good.)

Whipped Cream
1 cup chilled whipping cream
confectioners' sugar

Whip cream in chilled bowl (set a stainless steel bowl & whisk in the freezer for 5 minutes for best results) until soft peaks form. On medium-low speed, add confectioners' sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until desired sweetness is reached. Increase speed and whip to soft peaks.

Serve shortcakes with strawberries and white chocolate mousse or whipped cream.