Basil Balsamic Strawberry 'Shortcake' with Vanilla Bean Whipped Coconut Cream

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

-A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost (1915)

This was a mistake.  No, really this was a mistake.  I was trying to make a pie crust while day dreaming and accidentally added a few wrong ingredients.  Instead of throwing out the batter and starting again, I decided that when life gives you sweet biscuits you should always make strawberry shortcake.  So this is not exactly shortcake, but it is definitely tasty and healthier!  I was then inspired by my young basil sprouts (still growing indoors) to incorporate their refreshing flavor.  I am eagerly anticipating a bounty of basil to come from my outdoor garden this summer!  I am first time gardener and cannot wait to have home-grown vegetables, herbs, and flowers grace my table in the coming harvest season.  I am just learning about the ways of raised-bed gardening but have already enjoyed the beauty of new life through the growth of my indoor seedlings.  I can only imagine how rewarding it will be to tend a fully sprouted garden!

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Basil Sweet Biscuits 

  • 1 cup walnuts 
  • 4 dates
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil (ripped or chopped into tiny pieces) 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 eggs 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place walnuts and dates in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds until broken up into a fine meal.  Remove walnut-date mixture from food processor and add to a large mixing bowl.  To mixing bowl add flour, baking soda, basil, and cardamom and stir just until combined.  Add honey, oil, and eggs and gently stir just until everything is incorporated.  Do not over mix.  

Using hands* take palm-sized amounts of dough in hand and form into small ball.  Slightly flatten balls on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until bottom of biscuit is golden brown.  Makes about 8-10 biscuits.  

*Tip: wetting hands makes this sticky task easier

Balsamic Strawberries 

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 cups strawberries 

Preheat oven to 375. Cut strawberries into bite-sized pieces and set aside.  In a bowl mix together honey and vinegar.  Add strawberries and toss until coated.  Place strawberries on baking sheet lined with silicon mat and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (refrigerated overnight) 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup

Place metal mixing bowl in freezer for five minutes.  Take refrigerated coconut milk and flip can over and set on counter.  Open inverted can. Translucent liquid should have risen to the top while white solid content stays below.  Pour liquid contents into separate container (you can save for other dishes).  Remove white solid coconut milk from can and place in frozen metal mixing bowl.  Add vanilla, honey, and vanilla bean to milk and mix on high speed with whisk attachment until mixture forms soft peaks.  Can be refrigerated for a few days. 

Assembly:

Cut biscuit in half and place on plate.  Place a dollop of whipped coconut cream in between the two biscuit pieces to form a sandwich.  Scoop a spoonful of strawberries on top of biscuit sandwich.  Garnish with basil leaf and serve.  

Enjoy my new favorite spring-time treat!