Vegan Minted Strawberry Shortcake

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

What better way to celebrate the unofficial end of summer than with this classic Southern dessert? Strawberry Shortcake gets a little bit of an update here with sweet vegan biscuits, whipped coconut cream, and fresh strawberries marinated in lemon & mint. I have made several batches of biscuits lately - buttermilk, sweet potato, pumpkin, and now tonight's batch made with coconut milk and coconut oil. I will admit I've been skeptical about trying veganized biscuit recipes. The idea of giving up butter or shortening in a biscuit quite frankly scared the hell out of me. I know you probably won't believe me until you try them yourself - but I'm shocked to report that these things are better than any biscuits I've made!

Before we get into the biscuit recipe, I must emphasize that technique matters as much as the ingredients here. After giving myself a crash course in making biscuits this month I've learned a thing or two. In much the same way cutting chilled butter into your flour creates fluffy biscuits, so too can the coconut oil - however it must be in solid form. I use organic, virgin unrefined coconut oil, which in my opinion is the only kind you need. I've tried a few different brands and always come back to Nutiva. Great for cooking as well as for skin and hair!

Coconut oil melts at around 76° which means in my Florida apartment, it is almost always in liquid form. I got around that by measuring the 1/2 cup of oil into a small dish and popping it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. Every few minutes, I stirred it so that it wouldn't harden completely. I ended up with a bowl of thick, solidified coconut oil that was the texture of chilled butter. I also used full-fat coconut milk that was slightly chilled, which helped to keep the coconut oil from melting in the biscuit dough. The biscuits came out light, tender, and flaky, with a slight sweetness and coconut aroma. Heavenly. This isn't exactly a guilt-free dessert -- but anytime you can get this much goodness on a plate without dairy or butter, it's a step in the right direction!

Vegan Minted Strawberry Shortcake

2 c. sliced fresh strawberries
1 tsp natural cane sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Several mint leaves
6 Coconut Oil Biscuits
1 c. Whipped Coconut Cream

For the Whipped Coconut Cream:
1 can coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
2 tsp powdered sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Dash nutmeg

For the biscuits (Adapted from Whole Foods' Coconut Oil Biscuits):
2 c. + 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil, in solid form
2 tbsp natural cane sugar
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut milk, slightly chilled
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 17 min
Equipment Needed: Electric mixer (optional)

Both the strawberries and the whipped cream can be prepared ahead of time, in fact the strawberries taste better and develop more of a syrup after 10-15 minutes. If you haven't tried making coconut whipped cream, you're in for a treat. You can get the scoop here, from a previous dessert post. 

To the sliced strawberries, add some finely chopped mint leaves, the lemon juice and sugar. Toss to dissolve the sugar and use a fork to gently mash some of the strawberries to release their juices a little. Set the strawberries aside until you're ready to serve.

Preheat your oven to 425°. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and vanilla into the coconut milk. In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of flour, baking powder and sea salt.

Using a fork or pastry blender, cut the coconut oil into the flour mixture. I don't recommend using your hands for this as it would melt the coconut oil. What you want to end up with should resemble small crumbs. I actually found the coconut oil to be easier to work with than I do butter or shortening.

Slowly add the sweetened coconut milk to the biscuit mix, using the fork to gently stir the mix until a thick dough forms. You want to avoid overworking the dough, so just bring it together just enough to see that it's sticking and the flour has been incorporated.

Use some of the 1/4 c. remaining flour to lightly flour your working surface. Flip the dough out and gently knead a few times. The dough will feel like pie crust dough, but lighter. Keep your hands floured as you work with the dough, and add just enough flour to make a smooth dough. Again, careful not to overwork it or you'll end up with tough biscuits! Roll out the dough to make a large rectangle, then fold the right and left sides into the center to make a triple layered strip of dough 1/3 the original width. Slightly roll out this strip until the dough is approximately 3/4" thick. This creates flaky layers in your biscuits that will separate slightly inside when rising.

Confession...biscuits are one of the few things I make requiring me to roll out dough so I use a wine bottle instead of buying a rolling pin. Just peel off the label and fill with water. I'm sure that's saving me all of $15, but if it ain't broke don't fix it right?

Use a cup to cut out your biscuits into 3 - 4" rounds. Or you could use a biscuit cutter, if you have such a thing. Once you've cut out all that you can, gather the dough back together and very gently roll it out again to cut the remaining biscuits. 

Place the biscuits upside down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I've always wanted to follow the instructions in recipes that called for parchment paper, so I finally picked some up this weekend. It's kind of a pain that the rolls are bigger than the width of my cookie sheet so they have to be cut, as opposed to just lining with aluminum foil like I would have done. I don't know if the parchment paper contributed to the magic of these coconut oil biscuits, but let's just say they did. Yes, I wasted $3 on parchment paper, but I won't purchase a damn rolling pin. Somewhere in my head this all makes sense.

Use a pastry brush to paint the tops of the biscuits with the remaining tablespoon of coconut milk, and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Bake at 425° for 15 - 17 minutes until the biscuits have risen and the tops are slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes. Or, immediately bite into a hot biscuit and scald the roof of your mouth as I did. They're worth it.

To serve, slice the biscuits in half (you probably won't even need a knife, mine separated easily by hand!) Spoon a good portion of strawberries over the biscuit bottom, top with whipped coconut cream and the biscuit top, followed by a dollop more of cream. If desired, garnish with additional mint leaves. 


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  1. Just found your blog via BLMGirls...this recipe is PERFECT for me. I don't "do" eggs and I am always looking for dessert recipes that don't require them. You have a new follower via Bloglovin'!

    1. Thank you, and welcome! I'm looking forward to experimenting w/ more vegan desserts...dairy & eggs are an issue for a lot of people I'm learning!