1 3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder*
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cold shortening, cut into 6 pieces
1/4 cup cold butter - not margarine, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk, plus 1 or 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 16-oz container fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
11/2 cups whipping cream, beaten with 2 tablespoons sugar or 3 cups Cool Whip or 1
6.5 oz can Reddi-Wip
9 fresh strawberry halves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425°. Add flour, cocoa, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor or medium size bowl. Add shortening and butter. If using the food processor, pulse 6 to 8 times or until until the shortening and butter pieces are the size of pencil erasers. If using a mixing bowl, cut shortening and butter in with a pastry blender or two table knives until they are the size of pencil erasers.
Pour buttermilk and vanilla over dry ingredients in the bowl. If using the food processor, pour it through the food chute while pulsing just until dough starts to form a ball. Be careful not to pour to slowly or you will over mix the dough. Stir dough in the mixing bowl just until it looks "shaggy". Use the extra 1 to 2 tablespoons buttermilk, if needed to get this look and feel. The dough should not be wet like muffin batter but not as dry as a yeast bread dough.
Scrape dough out onto a floured work surface. With floured fingers, gently form the dough into a ball. Gently pat dough down to 1-inch thickness. Pull one side over to the other side and gently press it slightly into the bottom half. Now pull the left side over to the right and press down. Repeat twice. You are trapping air between the layers which will give you the best "lift" and mile high biscuits. Gently pat dough down to 1-inch thickness - about a 6"x7" rectangle.
Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter or circle cookie cutter, cut out 5 biscuits and place in an greased 8-inch cake pan or cast iron skillet. Press the remaining dough together to cut out the last biscuit. Brush with melted butter.
Bake at 425° for 11 or 12 minutes or until biscuits do not leave an indention when touched on the top. Chocolate biscuits will not be golden or lightly browned. Let cool completely in pan. Actually, they are fabulous warm with strawberry jam at this point, but hold off if you're going to have any to make shortcakes!
Combine strawberries and 2 tablespoon sugar and let stand 10 minutes. This will create the strawberry "syrup" you will want for the shortcakes.
2lice chocolate biscuits in half horizontally and place bottom halves on serving plates. Spoon about 1/3 cup strawberries on bottom halves. Dollop about 1/4 cup whipped cream on strawberries and place top halves of biscuits on top of whipped cream. Dollop about 1 tablespoon whipped cream on top of biscuit; place a strawberry on top for garnish and drizzle with any remaining strawberry "syrup".
Tip: I store my shortening in the freezer for the best pie crusts and biscuits.
Tip: Don't have buttermilk? No worries. Add 1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar per cup of milk and let it stand 5 minutes.
Tip: Biscuit dough should be slightly sticky before rolling out. Working with fingers lightly coated with flour or cocoa powder is better than adding more flour to the dough.
*I used Hershey's Special Dark because I love the rich color it gives but regular cocoa is fine. It is a mix of regular and Dutch process cocoas.
Gild the Lily: Drizzle with chocolate syrup or melted hot fudge ice cream sauce.