Merry Christmas (almost)! In preparation for the plethora of family time, I’ve been busy in the kitchen experimenting with savory and unusual treats to give as gifts. I found two fabulous recipes; one for eggnog cupcakes and one for gingerbread truffles. The cupcake recipe is unmodified from Annie’s Eats blog, and the truffle recipe is loosely based on an Epicurious recipe. Rather than making them gingerbread, it’s more of a ginger spice. Either way, both are easy to make and easy to enjoy.

For the cupcakes, check out the recipe at Annie’s Eats (www.annies-eats.com/2010/12/17/eggnog-cupcakes/). I didn’t modify anything, and they’re incredible. Definitely opt to use dark rum.

The truffles are basically my own recipe.

Ginger spice truffles:
3/4 cup whipping cream
10 whole cloves
1 tablespoon molasses
1 and 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

14 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
24 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup crystalized ginger
1 tsp ground ginger

Bring the first 6 ingredients just to a boil, let stand for one hour.

Bring a medium saucepan, half full of water, to a simmer. Place a metal bowl on top, and add 14 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stir slowly until melted. Add the cream mixture (after removing cloves) and remaining ginger; stir until smooth. Allow to chill for at least three hours. Once chilled, roll rounded teaspoons into balls (about one inch), and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Chill overnight.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate chips using the same process as before. Allow to cool to 115 degrees (a candy thermometer is helpful, but don’t laugh…I used a meat thermometer). Using a fork, quickly dunk one truffle into the chocolate, and allow excess chocolate to drip off. Carefully slide the truffle onto parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining truffles and garnish with crystalized ginger. Allow to chill for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy!