I have been completely uninspired about cooking this summer. Even when I’m not making anything that requires actual heating, I want to spend as little time as possible in my kitchen chopping or mixing ingredients. But every so often, I am asked to bring a dish to pass somewhere so I suck it up, turn on the oven, bake my heart out, pack up my goods, and leave my hot apartment to enjoy my food in someone else’s hopefully air-conditioned abode.
Last week Monday, I attended an “American Desserts Potluck” event in honor of a group of visiting Chinese ESL teachers. I knew some of the other American teachers were bringing rhubarb pie and apple crisp. So, charged with the task of making a very American dessert, and thinking of a good summer dessert at that, I decided to whip up a batch of Grandma’s VVG Shortcake. The Chinese teachers told me that they really enjoyed this dessert because it’s not too sweet. Rich, yes, but not too sweet.
1/3 c. shortening (I used butter)
2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt (optional – ok, maybe not for Grandma, but definitely for me)
3/4 c. milk
Cut shortening into flour. Mix in remaining dry ingredients. Mix in milk until just blended. Roll dough onto a floured board and knead 20 – 25 times. Roll or pat into 1/2″ thickness and use a 3″ cookie cutter* to make shapes. Bake at 450º for 10 – 12 mins. Bake a little longer if you decide to put the dough in a cake pan.
*Normally, I use a 3″ cookie cutter to make the shapes, but went with a smaller one this time so that all of the Chinese teachers could have a little taste of shortcake. I baked them for about 8 mins.