Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fairy Toadstools

This imaginative recipe idea sprang from failure. When I recently hosted a St. Patrick’s Day-themed party, I thought I’d offer a small platter of chocolate-dipped strawberries. I prefer to keep life simple, and didn’t want to spend hours obsessing over doing something fancy. I’ll leave that to the pros - too much effort for me! 
If you plan to dip strawberries in chocolate, it’s important to ensure they’re not wet, lest the chocolate seize up. I carefully rinsed and dried about 18 fresh strawberries for this recipe, skewered them on fondue forks, and dipped them into melted white chocolate. To my great disappointment, they looked … awful! 
I hoped to save them with a drizzle of dark chocolate, but the cupboard was bare - I had none!
With St. Patrick’s Day in mind, I grabbed a shaker of crystalized green sugar, sprinkling it over the berries. This didn’t look so hot, either. Standing each berry straight up on its base, I let the chocolate harden, and wondered what to do. 
Clustered on a two-tiered tray, the dipped, sugared berries looked a little better, especially placed on small green candy papers. Suddenly … Eureka! The crystalized green sugar became “fairy dust,” and the strawberries, “Fairy Toadstools.” That was all I needed to make up a quick story on the spot. Fairies and Leprechauns are very “Irish,” so the story I told the children at the party was this: “Fairies live at the bottom of every garden. When they need somewhere to sit, they perch on Fairy Toadstools  exactly like these, covered in fairy dust! When you eat one of these toadstools, make a wish and your wish will come true!”
My wish was that the kids would eat every single one of those ghastly looking berries. And yes … my wish came true! 

Dip fresh strawberries into melted white chocolate

Sprinkle with crystallized green sugar

Add plenty of blarney and bluff your way through!

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