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I admit, I was hanging on as long as I could. After all, summer never seems to last long enough. And I had to have strawberry shortcake at least once. Chocolate strawberry shortcake, that is.

First, the easy part: instead of just plain whipped cream, what we have here is half cream, half sour cream, whipped until it just barely holds together.

Second, also easy: strawberries macerated in orange juice and Grand Marnier liqueur.

And finally, not too much harder: chocolate cream biscuits, almost black as night. So deep and dense, they were too dark to take a sharp photo whole. So I had to take a bite.

Done properly, the sweetness of the strawberries is balanced by the richness of the biscuits and the tang of the cream. If you’re clever, you’ll adjust the amount of sugar you use to the ripeness of the berries. The whole recipe takes no more than an hour to prepare, tops, if you prepare the strawberries and cream while the biscuits are in the oven.

And if you double up on berries like me, you may even have a biscuit or two to crumble into your next batch of vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake
Adapted from Epicurious

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pounds strawberries, sliced or quartered
8 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
Freshly squeezed juice of one orange
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup chilled sour cream
A few pinches of salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Put a metal bowl in the freezer to chill for making whipped cream.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup cream and vanilla extract until firm peaks form. Very gently stir the cream into the flour mixture until it just barely holds together in moist clumps.

Transfer the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. It’s going to fall apart, but that’s ok. Keep gathering and regathering the mixture together, using gentle pressure and gradually incorporating more dry ingredients, until the dough forms into a ball.

Pat the dough out by hand to 3/4 inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round cutter*, cut out biscuits. Gather the remaining dough, pat it out again, and cut out more biscuits. You should get at least six.** Place biscutis on prepared baking sheet. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

While the biscuits are in the oven, stir together strawberries, 6 tablespoons (or less) powdered sugar, orange juice, Grand Marnier, orange zest and a pinch of salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Whip together remaining 1/2 cup cream and sour cream in the frozen bowl until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat to stiffness.

Serve biscuits whole, topped with a generous helping of strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream. Store biscuits in a bag on the counter.

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