Ok, I know this is a sort of ridiculous thing to be posting, but I don't really care. The idea popped into my head and it just wouldn't go away... Cupcakes. Made to look like moss balls. "You know, those moss balls you see sold at home decor places." I said, explaining the idea to Jason. "What? Like, the kind you put in your closet?" he replied. He was driving in his car and on a headset, so there was a good deal of static on the line. Still, I was pretty sure he said "closet" and I was really confused. "No, what? Why would you put cupcakes in the closet?" I said, shaking my head (to no one). "I was going to ask the same thing!" was the reply. "And since when are moth balls GREEN?". "OH! No, not MOTH balls, MOSS balls..." I said, almost rolling my eyes and then realizing "moth balls" might actually have made more sense. "Um, oh... well... I'm sure it'll turn out great, sweetie... Moss balls...".
I could picture him nodding his head on the other side of the phone. Convincing himself, mentally, that he was not dating a crazy person. Jason really is so supportive. Even when my suggestions scare and confound him... and everyone else around me. But it's okay if people are worried, because in my head this stuff makes a weird kind of sense. Sometimes my little brain says "You know what would be fun? Making some cake balls that look like sheep." And off the couch I go, zombie-like, to the kitchen to see if I have any Pocky around I can use for legs.
Most of the time people come around to my way of thinking once they see the results. That, or they're too frightened to say otherwise. "I LOVE the cheese snowmen, really!" they say, grabbing the tray I bring to their party... smiling a little too widely as they make a mental note not to invite me to their next one. That's what I imagine. But I'm hoping they will amuse someone. Moss may not be the most exciting substance to want on a dessert. It's not cute. Or even logical. But I had a surprising amount of fun making them, and I think they're perfect for Spring, really. REALLY. They're pretty tasty, too, when you combine the chocolate bases with the minty green tops and then coat them with more minty chocolate cake crumbs.
By the way, this recipe asks you to buy mint oil to flavor it. There's no reason why you should have to listen to that, though. I think these would work perfectly well if you chopped up a handful of chocolate mints to put in the cupcake base and called it a day. I wouldn't be a good Chicagoan if I didn't ask that those chocolate mints be the classic Frango Mints from the old Marshall Fields stores (now Macy's, boo) if you can help it. But really anything minty would work. Use your imagination! I do... even when it tells me to make odd things like this...
Recipe: Chocolate Mint Moss Cupcakes
Makes 16 cupcakes
For the cupcakes... (adapted from Joy of Baking)
1/2 cup cocoa powder (Dutch-processed preferred)
1 cup boiling hot water
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons mint oil
2 teaspoons mint oil