Have a Hoot on New Year’s Eve


Homestead Gardens Inspired Holidays by Rita Calvert

Here you have some cleverly darling ideas for a New Year theme, This week a fabulous truffle cookie recipe is included-Sparkling Truffle Cookies. These spccial larger grain sugars can be found in most supermarkets baking section. Since the colors are varied, you can coordinate with your theme color.



The “Over the River, Through the Woods” holiday vignette sets a complete design theme that everyone will adore. With feathery owls, natural bark owls or porcelain nocturnal birds, candles, fanciful  pinecones you can highlight a group of colors. I chose gold and neutrals and then found gold “Sugar Gems” to blanket the truffles for a lovely glow-especially when the light hits. I need to tell you that”Sugar Gems” are large decorative sugar crystals which after much searching in specialty shops, I found at a decent price in the baking department of 2 supermarkets.


 Sparkling Truffle Cookies 


Makes about 30 truffle cookies 

As a tremendous treat, these truffle bites have a rich almond fudge center and crunchy large sugar crystals wrapping the outside. A big plus for many is they are also gluten-free.

  • 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate 
  • 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 3/4 cup ground almond
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, simmering water.Remove from the heat. Cut the butter into a few pieces and mix into the chocolate until melted.

 Beat the eggs with an electric mixer, gradually adding the sugar until ribbons form. Fold in the chocolate-butter mixture. Gently add the ground almonds. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

 Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 Use a cookie scoop to form the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in special sparkling sugar (or granulated sugar), place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart and immediately place in the oven.

 Bake until the center of the cookies is no longer wet, 9 to 12 minutes. When slightly cool, lightly dust the cookies with powdered sugar.