5 Easy Steps to Cream Cheese Mints
(From Basket Case Full of Recipes, or How to Eat Your Feelings)
1. Remove yourself from a flannel cocoon made of autumnal necessity and wrap your finest fleece-lined winter jacket around your body (ignore the fact that it is still early November and you are not Canadian). Walk to corner store in slippers, because who cares, at least you’re upright, walking, finally back in motion and not being so overly emotional. Stand in the checkout line with the following:
– 2 lbs of confectioner’s sugar
– 8 ozs of cream cheese (not the whipped, not the 1/3 fat, get the real stuff that curds after a night left out on the counter)
– 1 bottle of peppermint oil/extract (may have to search in the medicinal aisle for this one, as a reminder that yours is still the same society that once prescribed peppermint for bronchitis and cocaine for toothaches.
– 1 box of food coloring in the shades that best reflect your seasonal moods (i.e. yellow for when you’re nauseated; peach for when you’re anxious; hunter green for when you’re thirsty for pine box darkness and somber music; bright cerulean for when the tests come back negative, which they will, because they always come back negative, always have…)
– 1 roll of aluminum foil
– The flat surface of a table or a floor and preferably the home or apartment it belongs in.
– At least 1 friend to lay out the foil and make idle talk at while your hands unwrap the cream cheese and cut the bag of confectioner’s sugar open.
2. Standing in your kitchen, knead the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. It feels as disgusting as mud and as cold as barium formula in a doctor’s office, but everything’s going to be okay. Have the friend slowly add the powdered sugar as you knead. Continue folding the mixture as it becomes like clay, or the wet plaster of a cast before it dries.
3. When the cream cheese and sugar feel as smooth as playdough between the palms of your hands, add half a capful of peppermint oil. Use a sixth sense to measure how precise this measurement is – too little will bland the taste and take the spirit out of the sweet. Too much will shorten its life by causing it to be shelved to the back of the refrigerator, as if to say, “Though it presents an interesting problem, there’s nothing more we can do as of yet.”
4. You’ll get the half capful just right. Afterwards, you’ll decide on a color (see: mood). Cerulean mints taste better than peach or green, so add about 5 drops of food coloring. Or: mix the colors if necessary. Knead until smooth.
5. Re-enlist the friend to stand beside you in front of the aluminum foil spread out like an operating table. Share the labor of rolling the colored cream cheese mixture into round balls approximately 1 inch in diameter and placing them at equidistant lengths across the foil.
6 (Bonus: the waiting game). Set aside the dishes and take approximately twenty minutes to wait, discuss, cajole, dance around seamlessly as the mints take shape on the table. Then use a fork to depress each mint into a flattened, peanut butter cookie roundness. Clear away all utensils and you’re ready to consume your goods with bare hands, no remorse, and gluttonous abandon. Share with friend(s) since you can always make more.