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The Picnic: Book Signing and Shortcake Recipe

The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket shares everything you need to plan an effortless outdoor get-together: no-fail recipes, helpful checklists, and expert advice. With variations on everyone’s favorite deviled eggs, 99 uses for a Mason jar (think cocktail shaker, firefly catcher, or cookie jar), rules for scoring lawn games, and refreshing drinks to mix up in crowd-friendly batches, let The Picnic take the stress out of your next party and leave only the fun. On Saturday from 9am-12pm, the authors of The Picnic will be at the market, signing books and sampling recipes. Come stop by, say hello, and pick up a copy of this beautiful book! In addition, we've included a wonderful recipe (below) from the book to give you an idea of what's in store for Saturday's demo!


Strawberry shortcake gets an update when berries swim in an herbaceous simple syrup. If you’re short on time, this quick topping is also delicious on a store-bought angel food cake.


11⁄2 pounds strawberries, sliced (about 2 pints)

2 tablespoon tiny fresh basil leaves, or thinly sliced large basil leaves

1 batch Basil Simple Syrup (see below)


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled in the freezer for at least 10 minutes

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise

3⁄4 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1 tablespoon water

Turbinado or granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Chantilly Whipped Cream (see below)

1. To make the topping: Fill a 1-quart jarwith the strawberries and basil and pour the syrup over them. Replace the lid and invert the jar a few times, so that the syrup coats the berries and basil. Let the topping stand for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day in the refrigerator. Invert the jar occasionally.

2. To make the shortcakes: Preheat the oven to 425°F.

3. Sift the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl. Add the butter and combine using a pastry cutter or your fingertips until the butter is broken into pea-size bits.

4. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the buttermilk and stir to distribute. Stir the buttermilk into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula just until the dough comes together. Dump the dough onto a well-floured countertop and pat it into a 11⁄2-inch-thick disk. Cut the disk into 8 wedges and place them on a cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart. Whisk the egg and water together until foamy. Brush the shortcakes lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle them with turbinado sugar.

5. Bake until the tops are golden and the bottoms toasty, 14 to 16 minutes.

6. Cool, then wrap the shortcakes in an attractive kitchen towel and put in the basket along with the toppings. At the picnic, slice the shortcakes in half and spoon strawberries and syrup over the bottoms. Top with dollops of whipped cream and cap with the remaining halves of the shortcakes.

In the Basket:

-Toppings, Serving spoon, Knife, Whipping cream + whisk + metal bowl (if whipping on-site).

Basil Simple Syrup

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup basil leaves

1. Bring sugar and water to a gentle simmer in a small pot. Stir frequently until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear. Remove from the heat and add the basil. Let the syrup steep for 1 hour. Strain the syrup into a jar.

Chantilly Whipped Cream

1 cup very cold heavy (whipping) cream

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium speed until soft peaks form (when the whisk is drawn from the cream, a peak forms and curls over). Alternatively, whip the cream in a large metal bowl using a whisk or a handheld electric mixer. Cover and refrigerate until the picnic, or for up to 1 day, then transport in a cooler.

Excerpted from The Picnic by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2015. Illustrations by Emily Isabella.

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