Cook’s Corner

I thought weekends are a perfect time, at least for me, to try a new recipe…. a new cookie or a chicken dish…..maybe a quick grilled burger with fresh salsa….

So I came up with a new segment for Pineridge Hills…

I would share some of my favorite cookbooks and cooks with you on the weekend!

I have this obsession – I love to collect cookbooks…..yup, I finally admitted it… husband has been noticing that my collection is constantly growing….I keep them all in the little nook at the end of the counter in my kitchen (And on one of the bookshelves in the office!)…..Some are rather old….so old that the pictures show women cooking in a dress, starched apron and pearls!

Yes…..really old….

actually I might as well admit that I am a “Bookie”…..I love books, love to read and write…..but that’s another post for another day…..Today I want to share a great Baking book I found a few years back…..I guess the idea that the first Cook’s Corner post is a baker  from New York who had opened this delightful bakery in my home town of Brooklyn, NY doesn’t come as a big surprise!  Her recipes are simple and the end result ….yummmmmmm……

Book: The Sweet Melissa Baking Book         Baker: Melissa Murphy cookbook 1

Melissa has appeared recently on “The Chew” with Mario Batalli…..she has closed her bakery and is now enjoying Farm Life  on  “PROMISE FARM”, in Flemington, NJ.  Follow her and her new adventure on her blog:

Today I’m sharing her recipe for  simple “Strawberry Shortcakes”….

The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.jpg


2 c. all purpose flour

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

2 tbsp. sugar plus 1 tbp. for glazing

1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest

4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1 c. cold heavy cream

2 tbsp. whole milk or heavy cream, for glazing


1 dry qt. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced


1 c. cold heavy cream

3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flower, baking powder, salt, 2 tbsp. of the sugar, and the zest.  Using a pastry blender, cut in  the butter until t resembles a coarse meal.  Little by little, stir in heavy cream until the dough starts to hold together (you may use a bit more cream if need be).
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Pat together to form a rectangle 5 inches by 71/2 inches long that is about 1 inch thick.  Cutr the long side of the dough into thirds, and the width in half to form six 2 1/2 – inch squares.  Place the shortcakes 3 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
  3. Brush the tops of the shortcakes with the milk or heavy cream and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Remove to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

While the shortcakes are cooling, prepare the strawberries.  In a medium bowl, combine the sliced strawberries with sugar.  Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes to macerate.


In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whip cream attachment, beat the heavy cream and vanilla on medium speed.  In a slow steady stream, add the sugar and beat until the mixture forms medium-stiff peaks.

The whipped cream is best used when just made, but can be refrigerated in an airtight container overnight and beaten again before serving.


Fork split each shortcake in half horizontally.  Place one half on each six plates.  Spoon 2 tbsp. of berries on each.  Top each with a large dollop of whipped cream.  Spoon more berries on top.  Place each of the remaining halves on top of the berries.  Garnish with more cream and berries, if desired.  Add a sprig of mint for garnish….

Simple, elegant and delicious!

Happy Weekend!







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