It’s official. Spring is here.
This past weekend we spent the day in DC. We edged our way closer and closer to the curb so the kids could see the cherry blossom parade and we braved the masses at the tidal basin to get an up close view of the cherry blossoms. The cherry blossoms always remind us of our time in Japan, specifically a train ride to Hirosaki Castle where we picnicked and sipped sake on grass carpeted with pink fallen cherry blossom petals.
Our daughter was adamant about seeing the Lincoln Memorial. As we walked passed the Washington Monument and made our way alongside the reflecting pool, we handed each of our kids a penny. They were amazed to find out that the image on the penny was the exact same one they were looking at in the distance. We counted the steps to the top, felt how cool the bricks were, and talked about how the hands of Lincoln are the letters “A” and “L” in sign language (which park services deny is intentional in the design). As we all gazed up at his statue, our son looks at us and asks, “Was that how big he was when he died?” We explained that you do stop growing at some point.
On our way to the tidal basin we passed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, with the inscribed wall looming behind statues of soldiers dressed for field combat. As we were explaining the purpose of the memorial to the kids, our son abruptly stops and asks in a very loud and anxious voice, “Was I ever in a war?” We assured him he was not.
As we passed through the entrance to the tidal basin, we looked up to see the face of Martin Luther King Jr. carved in granite. We’ve discussed Martin Luther King Jr. before and his story was shared with the students in our daughter’s kindergarten. Our son was standing a few feet away when he recognized the face and yelled over to me, “Is that the king that was shot?” We took a minute to refresh his memory privately.
Overall, the relaxing picnics we once experienced have been replaced with little feet that don’t stay in one place for too long, chants for ice cream, whines about tired legs, and questions peppered by urgency. So we walked a lot, ate ice cream, carried the little man on our backs, answered as many questions as we could before promising to look up more on the computer when we got home, and had a fabulous day!
With the cherry blossoms fresh in our memory, we created these Bing Cherry Biscotti with Kirsch, perfect for a picnic on a bed of cherry blossom petals.
Bing Cherry Biscotti with Kirsch
YIELD: approximately two dozen
1 cup chopped dried dark bing cherries
½ cup Kirsch or Cherry Brandy, plus more for topping
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for topping
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup finely ground cornmeal
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs and 2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup of whole almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
2. Place the cherries in a small bowl with the Kirsch and sugar. Set aside.
3. In a large flat bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
4. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and vanilla extract.
5. With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.
6. Add the almonds. Knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.
7. Separate the dough in half. Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.
8. Drizzle the top of each log with Kirsch and sprinkle with sugar.
9. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split. Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
10. Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board. Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
What to do with the ends #73: Use the ends to prod the masses on your next trip to see the cherry blossoms.