The spring Cherry Blossom Festival is happening right now in D.C., and the trees will be flowering in parts of Japan throughout the spring. Even if you can't travel to see them, you can still celebrate the season with these recipes:
1. The Cherry Blossom cocktail sounds like a classier, grown-up cousin of those cheap chocolate-covered cherry candies some of us liked as kids. For more inspiration, check out this list of cherry-centric cocktails dreamed up by D.C.-area bartenders.
2. Cherry blossom cookies. Whip up some basic sugar cookies and follow The Decorated Cookie's lead to create colorful fondant flowers. Or just add some pink sprinkles to flower-shaped cookies, like The Slow Cook did. (If you don't have a floral cookie cutter, try re-shaping a soup can—it worked for this guy!)
3. Cherry blossom sushi. The picture sorta explains it all, doesn't it? Make sushi (or order some). Arrange pieces like flower petals. Eat. Enjoy.
4. Cherry blossom cupcakes. For a base, try Nigella Lawson's chocolate-cherry cupcake recipe, or Vanilla Garlic blogger Garrett's vanilla bean & black cherry cupcakes. As with the cookies, you can have fun with fondant—these folks sure did—but the decoration doesn't have to be elaborate. Simple swirls of frosting, like Cakebrain's bite-sized pink cupcakes, can also look floral.
5. And yes, real cherry blossoms are edible. They apparently don't have much intrinsic flavor—although many D.C. restaurants have created special tasting menus for the season, you'll notice that they mostly feature cherry fruits rather than flowers—but they make a lovely garnish. If you can find some salt-cured cherry blossoms (sakura no shiozuke), steep a few in hot water to make the special Japanese tea called sakurayu.