Cooking for a family, while making family time

Deconstructed Berry Shortcake

Deconstructed Berry Shortcake

My favorite thing to during late spring and summer time is to take my kids berry picking to a few of our favorite local farms. This is my own little version of “farm to table”. We pick various berries and cherries in the morning and then whip them up for our dessert the next few nights.


Lemon or orange juice (about a tablespoon)
1 cup fresh picked berries, cherries or a combination, cleaned/pitted
1/2 cup Nilla wafers (or graham crackers, toasted waffles, etc)
Whipped topping (cool whip or whipped cream)
Pinch of sugar

Optional additional ingredients:

Almond slivers


I like to macerate the berries with a little sugar, just a sprinkle should do it and the juice from a lemon. Try to do this for 15 minutes to half an hour before serving. Macerating berries for anyone not familiar, is the process of soaking fruit in liquid and a little bit of sugar. This helps to both soften the fruit and allow it to release all of its natural juices as well.

Here is what the berries look like before and after macerating them.

Next it’s time to build our deconstructed shortcakes. We use Nilla wafers as our base, I like these more than short cake because of the crunchy texture they add. Once a base of cookies is placed down in your bowl or plate add a few spoonfuls of whipped topping and lots of berries with their yummy juices we just created.

Sometimes we top with almond slivers, crushed cookies or just more cool whip. Either way the kids eat it up and I love seeing the pride they take in knowing they picked and helped with dessert!

This doesn’t just have to be for dessert, it can also be a special breakfast. I like to toast and chop waffles as the base. Then top the same way as above with whipped topping and macerated berries.

Mom plus for this dish, it has all sorts of teachable moments. From talking about farming, to the importance of buying local and supporting our community by doing so. Not to mention making a dessert that’s healthy, but still sweet and yummy. The best part is not using the oven which is perfect during the hotter months when you’re trying to keep the house cool!

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