Strawberry shortcake has always been a favorite dessert of mine, reminding me of the carefree days of summer at my grandparents' house, where we'd buy strawberries by the pound and eat them in just about everything.
Our family always preferred the biscuit shortcake to the spongecake variety, which was too sweet and ruined the strawberries, according to my grandma. I think she was right. A light, fluffy biscuit with just a touch of sweetness and enough heft to handle seriously juicy berries is the ticket to perfect shortcake.
Since we eat shortcake often, I've created a recipe that includes a little extra fiber and protein by subbing out half the white flour with whole wheat flour. (Whole wheat pastry flour is particularly great for baked goods.) But with the husk and germ of the wheat comes a slightly darker, nuttier color, which isn't quite what children may be craving for dessert. My easy solution: Embrace the beautiful brown color and enhance it with a little cinnamon.
Suddenly, wheaty biscuits are transformed into cinnamon shortbread. The flaky texture comes from just a little bit of butter, while low-fat plain Greek yogurt subs in for the traditional heavy cream and buttermilk. The berries are made perfectly tangy and sweet with some balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, an homage to my grandma, who used apple cider vinegar in just about everything. Balsamic is a little sweeter and more balanced than apple cider vinegar, so it's a nice upgrade.
The final touches of mint and orange zest add nuanced flavor, so the berries shine through without a ton of extra sugar. And instead of whipped cream, I mix up a luscious vanilla cream from part-skim ricotta and Greek yogurt.