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Marilyn Markel from Southern Season Gourmet Store in Mount Pleasant prepares a dessert with fresh strawberries and homemade shortbread.

16 (2-inch) biscuits

For the biscuits:

3 cups soft white flour

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

12 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, minced

1 1/3 cups heavy cream, chilled (more if necessary)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the strawberries:

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

For the whipped cream:

1 1/2 cups cold cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest


Heat oven to 450 degrees. Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar with pastry blender until lumps are removed. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture is coarsely uniform. Stir in crystallized ginger.

Combine cream and vanilla. Stir in vanilla cream with a spatula until a loose ball forms. Turn onto a floured board and knead 3 times, turning each time.

Roll out or pat into a square, 3/4-inch thick. Cut with a well-floured, 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place biscuits close, but not touching, on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, turning halfway through baking.

Combine strawberries, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Set aside. Whip cream with sugar, vanilla and lemon zest until soft peaks form. Serve biscuits topped with strawberries and whipped cream.

Marilyn Markel is Cooking School manager for Southern Season. She began her career as an instructor at the Central Market cooking school in Plano, Texas. In 2003 Markel moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., to develop Southern Season's new cooking school. She served as a judge for the James Beard Cookbook Awards in 2013.