As much as I enjoy a lighter dessert, often a piece of fruit after dinner, I also find that a decadent treat with bites of chocolate, whipped cream and fresh berries is what I’m looking for at the end of a special meal. Each component of my raspberry chocolate shortcakes with lavender infused white chocolate cream dessert can be made ahead and put together on the plate right before serving. This time of year as fresh berries become abundant and less costly in the markets, a dessert featuring them makes sense on all our menus. Both the chocolate cream shortcakes and the lavender infused white chocolate cream are quick to make earlier in the day. The scones can also be baked right before serving dinner if you prefer them to be warm from the oven. However, they need to rest several minutes after baking as they will crumble if they are cut in half while too hot. It’s still early in the season for fresh berries so expect more recipes featuring them here in the coming months, maybe a sorbet, ice cream or a dessert pizza.
I recently have started back hiking in the hilly open space surrounding our town a few mornings a week after taking a break that stretched into months of daily walks on the much easier streets of my neighborhood. I think the warmer mornings inspired me to get up early and hit the trails with a good hiking partner and friend.
I didn’t realize how much I missed our hikes and conversations. I found quality time spent with a close friend and regular doses of vigorous exercise in the great outdoors were things that I had been missing. I find that it’s too easy to let other things get in the way of regular exercise even if we enjoy it and are healthier as a result. As I was driving home after setting up a time to meet for our hike next week I realized that I would be out of town on that date. As soon as I got home I emailed my friend to reschedule and also sent a message that I want to keep this going, I don’t want to let what I enjoy and what is important to my well being slip away again without a good reason. I guess I’m lucky because even though I like to cook and eat, I like my exercise too.
Ingredients and Directions for Raspberry Chocolate Shortcakes with Lavender Infused White Chocolate Cream
Adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet
3 baskets (6 ounces) fresh raspberries
Powdered sugar for sprinkling on top of shortcakes
Fresh lavender flowers for garnish
For the Lavender Infused White Chocolate Cream Sauce
5 ounces good quality white chocolate, I used Ghirardelli Premium Baking Bar White Chocolate
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
1 cup heavy whipping cream, less 1 tablespoon reserved for brushing on scones
For the Chocolate Cream Shortcakes
1 & 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon heavy cream and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar to brush on top of scones before baking
First make the lavender infused white cream sauce. Create a double boiler by bringing 1 inch of water to boil in a medium saucepan with a stainless bowl set on top. Turn off the heat and place the chocolate, water and lavender in the bowl over the steaming hot water. Let the mixture rest for a minute until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Strain out the lavender after 10 minutes. Set aside until cool but still soft and fluid.
Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer to soft peaks. Slowly add the white chocolate and continue to whip until the mixture is thick and creamy looking. Chill in the refrigerator until serving.
Make, cut out and bake the chocolate cream shortcakes. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 10 seconds until to blend. Add the small cold butter cubes and pulse several times until the butter is cut into smaller pieces. Pour in the cream and pulse until the dough holds together in clumps.
Scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface and pat into a circle about 1 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter cut out 8 circles from the dough. Place the dough circles on the parchment lined baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with the reserved heavy cream and sprinkle with the sugar.
Bake the shortcakes for 14-16 minutes and cool on a metal rack for at least 10 minutes or until they can be sliced in half without falling apart. They are better served slightly warm but may be served at room temperature if you make them earlier in the day.
Assemble the Raspberry Chocolate Cream Shortcakes. Split the shortcakes in half. Place a spoonful of lavender infused white chocolate cream on each plate with the bottom half of the shortcake on top. Top with another, more generous spoonful of the white chocolate cream. Divide the raspberries between the plates, placing some on top of the cream and some around the shortcakes. Place the shortcake tops over the cream and raspberries. Garnish with fresh lavender flowers over a spoonful of white chocolate cream, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.