Today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day, the perfect time to treat yourself. But if you’re partial to healthy desserts, it is possible to make healthy strawberry shortcake too!
Strawberry shortcake is one of those special summer dishes that never goes out of style and can follow any meal. The name of the dessert alone conjures up an iconic feeling of sitting outside with family and friends as the sunlight slants golden in the distance, as you dip a fork into a tasty combination of cake, whipped cream, and fruit.
With innumerable ways to serve the dish, it deserves a spot on tables everywhere, from modest picnics to high-fashion dinners. And since strawberries are relatively easy to grow and plentiful in the warmer periods of the year, a good strawberry shortcake recipe is a must-have for your kitchen cookbook.
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But while strawberry shortcake is a treat for your taste buds, it’s not always the healthiest dish on the menu. Especially when it becomes a regular on the table, as it does in a lot of homes throughout the summer months when strawberries are plentiful. There are, of course, countless ways to put together this favorite recipe and if you’re looking to impress, we’d suggest our Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake recipe.
How to Make Healthier Strawbery Shortcake
If you’re hoping for the same great taste but trying to spare the calories, there are several ways that you can trim down that shortcake recipe to a healthier treat that is still worth craving:
Lighten Up the Cake
First, we recommend focusing on the cake. While a fluffy, sweet shortcake is hard to pass up, you might want to opt for a biscuit that won’t pack quite as many calories. We have a recipe for a Strawberry Shortcake that features a biscuit too. And it’s not too difficult to make quick substitutions to our dish—consider putting the biscuit together without sugar. If you want to cut back even more, try opting for a scone recipe, like this one, and maybe use a 2% milk instead of heavy cream.
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Making smaller servings also helps you stick to healthier eating intentions.
Select the Best Berries
When choosing strawberries for your dessert, the best advice is the same that we give for any produce: buy local. Nothing tastes better than a batch of strawberries that were picked in the past few days. And supporting local farmers will always be a great decision. If you can’t get to a farmer’s market, try going organic. Unfortunately, the strawberry market is rather monopolized by region—roughly 80 percent of the strawberries in the United States come from California—so it always seems difficult to find quality organic strawberries. If you’re not buying organic, be sure to soak the berries for a while to wash away the pesticides and other chemicals that might be clinging to them. And if you have a green thumb, grow your own strawberries!
Whip Up a Lighter Whipped Cream
The final ingredient included in strawberry shortcake is whipped cream, and even if you’re counting calories, it wouldn’t be fair for us to suggest an incomplete dessert. But there are plenty of tasty alternatives to whip-from-a-can. This homemade whipped cream recipe is easy to make and tastes much fresher than those tubs of whipped cream that you might buy from the supermarket.
ICO Professional Whipped Cream Dispenser, $33.99 from Amazon
This N2O powered canister fluffs up 1 pint of liquid dairy into over 2 quarts of delicious whipped cream.
But if you’re trying to cut back on dairy, consider a vegan coconut whipped cream instead.
When serving this iconic dish, there are plenty of ways to dress it up; a strawberry drizzle is always a safe option, but don’t be afraid to experiment—just remember, you might add in some extra calories. If you’re really feeling outside-the-box, try a chocolate sauce finish or a light caramel. But whatever you choose, make sure that you enjoy this dish with friends.