BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Short and Sweet

17 Comments

Good things come in small packages. Navigating the world as a vertically challenged person, this particular truism is one that I hold close to heart. Height, or lack thereof, should never be viewed as an obstacle, but rather celebrated for all the unique benefits it provides. Leg room is never an issue when flying, even on a cut-rate coach ticket, for example, and it’s effortless to slip in (or out) of a crowd. I’d like to think that a smaller size means that all the good things inside are merely condensed and intensified to fit, amplified into a more pure form. Although that can’t be said for all people, that’s certainly the case for strawberry shortcake.

Modern interpretations of this sweet biscuit sandwich stretch the definition, often towering higher than a modest layer cake, but at its core, the concept remains short and sweet. Today, I’m here to push the boundaries further, albeit in the opposite direction. Flattening out the assembly into one thin plank, this confectionery rendition measures less than a centimeter tall, dazzling with flavor rather than lofty aspirations.

Encased in darkly caramelized toffee, crispy quinoa stands in for cake or biscuits, adding just the right cereal note to support the star players. Strawberries, dried and sliced, are both beautiful and flavorful; removing the excess water creates a far sweeter treat than fresh fruit, while simultaneously extending their shelf life to suit any season. Whipped cream is out of the picture, handily replaced by a luscious drizzle of white chocolate instead.

Although shortness often carried negative associations, like being short-tempered or getting short shrift, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t celebrate the more compact things (and people) among us. There’s no need to drone on and turn this into a long post; let’s keep it short and sweet, starting with a morsel of strawberry shortcake toffee, shall we?

Strawberry Shortcake Toffee

1/2 Ounce Freeze-Dried Strawberries, Divided
1/3 Cup Crispy Quinoa Cereal or Crispy Rice Cereal
3/4 Cup Vegan Butter
1 Cup Demerara or Turbinado Sugar
1 Tablespoon 100% Grade B Maple Syrup
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3 Ounces (1/2 Cup Chips or Finely Chopped Pieces) Vegan White Chocolate, Melted

Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, lightly grease, and sprinkle half of the freeze-dried strawberries along with all of the crispy cereal over the bottom, as evenly as possible. Set aside.

Grind the remaining dried strawberries down to a fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder. Combine it with the vegan butter, sugar, maple syrup, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan and set over moderate heat. Stir just to moisten all of the sugar, and then keep your spatula out of the mixture until the very end. Instead, swirl the pan gently to mix the contents, which will help prevent premature crystal formation.

Allow the margarine to melt and sugar to dissolve before clipping a thermometer to the side of the pan. You’ll want to bring the sugar to a steady boil, until it turns a deep amber brown color and reaches 300 degrees, which is also known as the “hard crack stage” of candy making.

Turn off the heat, carefully stir in the vanilla as it may sputter angrily, and immediately pour the mixture into your prepared pan. Try to pour it evenly over the goodies within so as not to displace the goodies at the bottom.

Let cool completely before snapping into more manageable pieces. Drizzle with melted white chocolate, and let set once more before handling. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

17 thoughts on “Short and Sweet

  1. I’m saving this recipe! Also, short people, ftw! :-D

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  2. I would never have thought about quinoa in this way, Hannah. But I guess that’s why you’re developing recipes and I’m not. :-) I can, however, enjoy your expertise.

    janet

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  3. This looks oh so delicious!

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  4. I love this version and the use of quinoa, can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

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  5. Great ideas for small packages of quinoa> A really different perception.

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  6. I love this short and thin sweet treat. But I am short and fat! :(

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  7. This is an unusual strawberry pie! I definitely want to try. I think it’s very tasty.

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  8. Pingback: Modish Taste | Short and Sweet

  9. This sweet biscuit sandwich is pitch perfect for breakfast! Can’t wait to give it a try and start the day with it, Hannah!

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  10. These look like a perfect snack:)

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  11. woow, i have to try it :)

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  12. Looks delicious! I’ll have to give this recipe a try 😙

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  13. What an amazing presentation of a recipe of taste for desert and life…the short and the long of it. Thank you!

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  14. Short and sweet, like you. :-) Love this re-imagined shortcake as toffee! so compact and much more portable.

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  15. Pingback: Strawberry Shortcake Toffee - Yum Goggle

  16. THis is such a creative idea! I’ll have to give this a try

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