You Will Need:
For the Chocolate Cupcakes
Yields 8 mini cupcakes
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons buttermilk (or whole milk)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Mini muffin tin and 8 liners
For the Candy Clay
12 ounces green candy melts
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Fluted pastry wheel or fluted cookie cutter
You may also substitute ready-made fondant or marzipan.
42 ounce food safe jar with tight-fitting lid
2/3 cup candy chocolate rocks
2/3 cup cacao nibs
Miniature plastic terrarium decor; I used a deer cupcake pick!
Step 1: Make Mini-Chocolate Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8 cups of a mini muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk in milk and oil until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake papers.
Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
Step 2: Make Candy Clay
Place the candy discs in a microwave safe bowl. Cook in the microwave at 100% power at 30 second intervals until the discs are melted and can be stirred smooth (about 90 seconds total). Add corn syrup and stir well.
Turn mixture onto waxed paper. Place another sheet of waxed paper on top and roll the candy to 1/4 inch. Let stand until firm, or transfer to the refrigerator to speed setting.
Candy clay will be hard at first; knead a quarter of the clay until soft and pliable. Repeat with remaining clay. Store in a zip-top bag with the air removed.
Step 3: Make the Succulents
To create “Hens and Chicks”: Roll the soft clay out between two sheets of waxed paper to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a fluted pastry cutter (or one edge of a scalloped cookie cutter), cut a line through a 6-inch piece of the candy clay. Cut the piece with a straight-edged knife 1/2 inch below the zigzag line.
Roll the piece jellyroll style. If you have trouble getting the clay started curling, wrap one end around a toothpick and use it to roll up the clay. Roll two 6 inch pieces together for a large “Hen,” and roll one piece up for smaller “Chicks.” Gently squeeze the bottom portion of the candy succulent to cause the zigzag edge to fan slightly.
Dust with purple color dust, if desired.
To Create “Green Fingers”: Roll candy clay to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut a piece to roughly 6 x 2 inches. Cut the piece into “fingers” using a straight edge knife.
Roll the piece up jellyroll style, as before.
Place the succulent upright and place it in a cupcake paper to hold its shape. Some succulents have a naturally occurring powdery appearance; dust with powdered sugar for this effect, if desired.
To Create “Aloe Vera”: Roll candy clay to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut four 3-inch triangles from the clay with the fluted pastry wheel. Gently press the leaves together at the bottom. Let stand until firm, about 30 minutes.
Step 4: Assemble the Terrarium
Layer the chocolate rocks evenly in the bottom of the jar. Sprinkle cacao nibs over the rocks. Crumble the cupcakes in a bowl and layer the crumbs on top of the cacao nibs evenly. Arrange the succulents on top of the “soil,” and add miniature decor, if desired.
Now, revel in your candy terrarium creation — and dig in.