Studded with chunks of sesame halva and bittersweet chocolate, these strawberry shortcakes from baker Samantha Seneviratne are delicious enough to eat all on their own, but when layered with cream and strawberries, they really shine. If fruit with chocolate isn’t your cup of tea, feel free to omit the latter.
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tsp. vanilla extract
cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
cups (219 g) all-purpose flour
cup (50 g) granulated sugar
tsp. baking powder
tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt
tsp. baking soda
Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
oz. sesame halva, broken into ½”–1″ pieces
oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Sanding sugar (for sprinkling)
lb. fresh strawberries, hulled, quartered
Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk egg, buttermilk, vanilla, and ¼ cup cream in a small bowl to combine. Whisk flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, work butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add halva and chocolate; toss to combine. Drizzle in egg mixture and stir with a fork until crumbly but incorporated.
Turn out dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Knead once or twice to bring together, then pat into a 6″ square. Using a bench scraper or a knife, cut into 8 equally sized rectangles; space apart. Brush tops with cream, then sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Bake biscuits until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 20–25 minutes.
Do ahead: Biscuits can be formed (but not baked) 1 month ahead. Freeze on baking sheet until solid, then transfer to freezer bags. Bake from frozen.
While the biscuits are baking, combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Let sit, tossing occasionally, until juicy and glossy, about 10 minutes.
Whisk cream and remaining 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar in a chilled large bowl to medium-stiff peaks.
To serve, split biscuits and spoon some whipped cream and berries over bottoms. Top with remaining biscuit halves and spoon remaining whipped cream and berries over.
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