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The multi hued pink buds of my Daphne, the purple of the Crocus and the green swell of my soon to be purple and white Hyacinths are the first harbingers of spring. But nothing announces the arrival of spring where I live, like the pink and white sprays of the cherry blossom trees gracing the Tidal Basin in the Washington D.C area. There are about 3700 cherry blossom trees which put on a spectacular show for a couple of weeks in March/ April. The history of how the cherry blossoms came to be is a very interesting one and certainly not as short and sweet as a Haiku. The original 2000 trees gifted by Japan in early 20th century had to be burnt because they were bug infested and half a century later, the parent trees in Japan had fallen into decay and the U.S stock from those trees had to be shipped back to Japan to populate the groves there! Please read here for more on the history of cherry blossoms in D.C.
I make an annual salutation trip to enjoy the showing of these trees and picnic under them. I also visit an enclave of Magnolia trees in front of the Sackler Gallery, hidden from plain view which in my fantasy becomes a secret garden not many people know about.
Each year I also have a lot of fun planning the picnic menu. This year it had a distinct Japanese theme.
The menu this time was,
Japanese Rice Balls
Edamame, daikon and seaweed salad
White chocolate cup dessert inspired by the cherry blossoms
These dessert cups are so easy to make.
1/4 cup white chocolate chip morsels
A microwave safe bowl
3 small cup cake liners
I small spoon
Fillers of your choice. [Fruits, mousse grated coconut etc]
Melt 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips for about 50-55 seconds stopping midway to mix the melted chocolate. When the chocolate is completely melted remove and whisk once again. Working quickly spoon 1/3 of the mixture into each cup cake liner and quickly move the melted chocolate around to coat the liner evenly and smoothly. Refrigerate it for at least 20 minutes or ideally for a couple of hours. Remove the chocolate cups once they are set and gently peel back the liners very carefully.
Then I had some fun smearing melted chocolate onto flower cut outs made out of parchment paper. Voila! Edible cherry blossom flowers.
Here is the view of a white cherry blossom tree right outside my window.
I used red food coloring to get the pale pink color. I did find it difficult to work with the chocolate when the color was added as it seized up. I had to work quickly and in very small batches.
Thanks, for dropping by and “Happy Spring” everyone.