I’ve been on a bit of a roll lately with classic treats I loved from childhood. I started a few weeks back with The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars, then it was these Blueberry Muffins, and now today we’re on to Strawberry Shortcake.
It’s a gluten free version, but it’s also paleo as well which is just a nice bonus. I always struggle to call something ‘gluten free’ or ‘paleo’ for fear you might think it can’t possibly be good if it’s healthier. I know this fear stems from my past where I’ve had one too many bad experiences with healthier recipes. But trust me when I say, once you get the hang of healthier treats, they’re even better than the originals.
I know, I know… I would’ve scoffed at such a big statement at one time. But it’s really true, treats made with whole food ingredients have so much more flavor. The trick has always been recreating a good texture without the magic of white flour. There’s obviously a few gluten free flours that do a great job, but I’ve found myself avoiding them for quite a while now.
I used to make treats occasionally with gluten free flours, but we would both always get a stomach ache. So I figured it was time to cut out the gluten free flour. Neither one of us feels our best eating wheat, but we both feel even worse eating gluten free flour. Which leads us to learning to bake grain free or paleo.
So far I’ve found we both love a combination of almond flour with just enough tapioca starch to make the texture right. And it’s a great combination for strawberry shortcake because it’s just the right amount of biscuit texture, but still retaining a slight crumbly/cake like texture I find to be essential in shortcake.
Besides the all important ‘shortcake’ part of this recipe, strawberries are an even more important part of the equation. You need the ripest berries you can find because they will have the best flavor. If you can find garden strawberries locally grown from a Farmer’s market, you will be rewarded for your efforts.
Since strawberry shortcake is a simple recipe, it relies heavily on the flavor of the individual ingredients. So if the berries are flavorless and the texture of styrofoam, there’s no amount of honey drizzle that can make up for that.
All that being said, once you have the ripest berries you can find, you’ll want to slice them up. Then drizzle on just the smallest amount of honey, and toss them together. A small amount of sweetener added helps the berries to ‘macerate’ which is just a fancy kitchen term for the strawberries letting go of some of their juices.
Once again to get my crazy side out – macerating the berries is critical because those released juices are so good soaked into the biscuits, and swirling around with the whipped cream. But do feel free to ignore me and all my ‘it’s critical’ statements, I only mention it so you can have the absolute best strawberry shortcake possible!
This shortcake is super easy to make, just mix everything together in a bowl…
… until a sticky dough forms. Then portion it out into 6 biscuits, using your hands to pat them into shape. The dough is definitely too sticky to roll out, but I found patting it into rounds with my hands to be the easiest. For some reason it doesn’t stick to your hands like to does to the counter or rolling pin.
Once they’re baked and all golden brown, you want to let them cool before cutting them in half. I found a bread knife to be the best way to slice through without crumbling the tops.
Then it’s time to pile on the strawberries, whipped cream…
… and a drizzle of honey if desired.
And let the flavors of summer begin!Print
- 1 1/2 cups fine almond flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder, see notes
- 1/4 cup melted ghee, butter, or coconut oil
- 2 Tablespoons melted honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 Teaspoon almond extract
- 4 cups thinly sliced strawberries
- drizzle of honey to taste
Homemade Coconut Whipped Cream:
- 2 cans full fat coconut milk, refrigerated, see notes
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, tapioca starch, baking powder until thoroughly combined. Then add in the ghee, honey, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Mix until a sticky dough forms.
- Portion the dough into 6 parts, and form each into a biscuit shape using your hands.
- Place the shortcakes onto the prepared baking sheet. Then bake until they’re puffed in the middle and golden, about 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the shortcakes from the oven, and let them cool completely before slicing them.
- Meanwhile, wash, dry, and hull the strawberries. Thinly slice them and drizzle with just a touch of honey. Stir the berries just to combine, then set them aside to let them macerate, (which is just a fancy term for letting them sit until they become juicy).
- When you’re ready to serve the shortcakes, make the coconut whipped cream. Scrape off the hardened coconut cream that rises to the top, and reserve the liquid for another recipe, (like a smoothie). Add the coconut cream to an electric mixer and whip until light and fluffy. Then add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whip again to combine, then serve the whipped cream with the berries, and shortcakes.
Baking powder can often have additives which means it’s not always gluten free or paleo. To be on the safe side, you can make your own by using 1 part baking soda and 2 parts cream of tartar, and using the mixture right away.
I’ve found it’s best to refrigerate the coconut milk in the refrigerator door. I used to place them on the top shelf, and I would sometimes get lumpy/grainy whipped cream. But since I started putting them in the door, my whipped cream turns out perfectly. I think it’s because the temperature in the door isn’t quite as cold.