Looking through old photo albums this week I am reminded that William was surrounded by some loving friends his whole life. How lucky was he to grow up such a happy and loved child.
I marvel at how huggable these guys were back in the day. Do boys these days still hug like this? Or has the bully thing really gotten out of hand as portrayed in the media?
And it just wasn’t the guys who were hugging…..
Taking a walk down memory lane brings smiles and I won’t lie…a few tears. His friends for life continue to be my friends. They take care of me in so many ways because they love him. Yes, they love him. That makes me smile. Old photos remind me to be grateful for small things like hugs and friends and even frogs. I miss everything about the old days, but I am still able to marvel over all the fabulous things his friends are doing today. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
On to something new. This is not your grandma’s strawberry shortcake. Recently, I saw a recipe in a Cuisine At Home Magazine called “shortcake bars” and I immediately knew I wanted to mess with it. Everyone loves strawberry shortcake this time of year, but the truth: it’s difficult to get the shortcake (and the berries for that matter) part right…First, freshly baked shortcakes can’t sit. If they are not eaten warm from the oven just forget it. They dry out quickly. Naturally the solution to fixing a dry shortcake is to top it with…. a ton of sugary, syrupy berries which then creates an overly sweet, soggy mess…the pitfalls are endless when it comes to this dessert.
So here is your new 4th of July dessert. It is perfectly portable and can be made a day ahead. If you would like it a bit saucy go ahead and mix the fresh berriess with some melted jam or preserves or go all out and make a fresh berry coulis.
Very Berry Shortcake Squares
1½-cups all-purpose flour
½-cup white whole wheat flour
¼ cup sugar
1-tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1-cup fresh blueberries
½ cup small stemmed strawberries*
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ cup heavy cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup chopped almonds, optional
1-cup strawberry-blackberry jam (I use Smucker’s)
2 teaspoons sparkling sugar, optional
Toppings: fresh berries, sweetened whipped cream
Heat oven 375F. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment leaving a 2-inch overhang for easy removal. Spray pan and parchment with non-stick baking spray. In large bowl, stir flours, sugar, baking powder and salt; cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until crumbly. Stir in berries and zest. Mix heavy cream and egg together; add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until dough comes together. Divide dough in half. Pat half the dough over bottom of prepared pan. Spread jam evenly over dough in pan. Mix almonds (if using) into remaining dough and crumble dough evenly over the top. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if desired. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into 3-inch squares. Top with berries and whipped cream.
*I grow a French strawberry variety called fraise. The berries are sweet, but maybe only ½-1-inch long. If you use regular strawberries dice them up into smaller pieces.