Makes 8-12 3-inch shortcakes.
2 ½ cups flour
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder*
7 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Alternatively, use 1 teaspoon baking soda + 2 teaspoons cream of tartar.
3-inch biscuit cutter
Large lightly greased cookie sheet
Sift dry ingredients. Cut in the butter. Beat egg until light. Add milk and vanilla. Dough will be soft and very sticky.
Turn out on a heavily floured board. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough. Pat out to ½” to ¾” thick, and cut out circles, placing them on the cookie sheet with some space in between.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden on top, and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Split the biscuit, add homemade whipped cream, sliced strawberries and/or fresh blueberries inside, put the top on, and add another layer of cream and berries. You can do this as part of a make-your-own dessert, so that people can choose just berries, berries and cream, or a full single-serving berry shortcake.
Acknowledgements / History: This recipe was passed down from Frances Stith Nilsson, and was originally in a slim volume of Virginia recipes, currently missing and so as yet unidentified. It was made as one large biscuit (cooked for 14-16 minutes), which then became a strawberry shortcake. Strawberry shortcake was served as dessert for years at the Stith family table, by request of her father, my grandfather. The directions for cutting and rolling are from the King Arthur Flour recipe for strawberry shortcake.