I never considered myself much a Christmas person; I prefer to rather make gifts or write cards to loved ones when they least expect it. Seeing their wide eyes, the expression of disbelief and surprise, usually followed by a "Wait, but why...? What have I done to deserve this?" — that's what makes me really happy. To follow a ritual and deliver an expected present number 6 on a pre-determined day... hm, not so much. And yet Christmas Day and New Year's Day are both welcome reminders to thank special people in my day-to-day-life.
For instance, the owners of my favorite market stalls, the waitress at my neighborhood coffee place or the guy who reliantly delivers our parcels year round. Last year I prepared some citrus-ginger-jelly for them, and this year I filled small cellophane bags with sweets: homemade Christmas cookies and Pumpkin Seed Truffles. These are an adaptation of traditional Styrian chocolate treats. My version consists of four ingredients only and is a breeze to make!
Pumpkin Seed Truffles
(yields about 25 small truffles)
100 g pumpkin seeds
50 g (stale) cake (pound cake, with nuts, etc.)
3 tbsp cream liqueur (like Baileys)
100 g dark chocolate (50-60 % cocoa)
Roast the pumpkin seeds in a pan over medium heat until they start to gain some color and make popping sounds. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Grind the roasted seeds finely in a food processor.
Crumble the cake into a bowl with your fingers, then add the liqueur as well as one half of the ground pumpkin seeds (put the other half into a small bowl and reserve for decoration). Mix well with a fork until evenly combined.
Chop the dark chocolate and melt it slowly over a bain-marie while stirring regularly. Now pour the chocolate over the pumkin seed mix and work in well with the fork. Scoop out teaspoon-sized portions and roll them gently between the palms of your hands until they are perfectly round (if the mix is too soft, refridgerate it for a couple of minutes).
Finally roll them in the reserved ground pumpkin seeds until evenly covered. They keep well for up to two weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.
The pumpkin seed mix is not only easy to work with, it allows all kinds of adaptations: different nuts can be used instead of pumpkin seeds and cookies instead of the cake (you may have to add a little more liqueur).
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