Tuesday, December 23, 2008

While Sugar Plums Danced

"The children were nestled all snug in their beds while
visions of sugar plums danced in their head."

As a little girl, I loved Clement Moore's poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. There was just so much scope for the imagination in each stanza. I certainly could see the cherry nose and the belly shaking like a bowl full of cherry jelly. However, I must admit I could never quite envision a sugar plum. We didn't have such treats in our holiday traditions. Were they plums with sugar sprinkled on them? I just couldn't see that being the case. I mean, kids like me were dreaming about them; surely they'd be more exciting and exotic than that!

One day, all these years later, I finally went in search of a recipe -- what exactly was a sugar plum? Oh my, there were so many recipes; I finally settled on one a fellow blogger said had originally been in Saveur Magazine.

I gathered the ingredients. Set out the bowls of fruit and nuts and powdered sugar, not forgetting the spices. The end result was delicious and well worth the effort. Certainly worth dreamin' about.


2 cups whole almonds
(toasted in a 400 F oven for 10 minutes, cooled, then finely chopped)

1/4 cup honey
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1 cup finely chopped pitted dates
1 cup icing sugar (confectioner's)
Combine the honey, orange zest and spices.
Add almonds, apricots, dates and icing sugar.
Mix well. Using a teaspoon, take pieces of the mixture and roll into balls.
Then roll in extra icing sugar.

Store in single layers between wax paper in airtight containers
in the refrigerator, up to one month.
Except, they're so yummy with tea you won't have to worry about them getting stale!

Please note: In the original recipe, the icing sugar was not meant to be included in the mixture; it was meant to coat the balls, once formed. But, as I didn't read the recipe properly (oops), I added the icing sugar in with the rest of the ingredients. It didn't seem to hurt the texture as they still rolled really well, and they were still quite a toothsome delectable.


After all that, hopefully I'll have my own sugar plum dreams tonight.

Sleep sweet,


  1. thanks for clarifying sugar plums-i've always wondered what they were...

  2. Lin, Glad to hear I wasn't the only one who wondered what these confections were!

  3. You are in good company! Julie (www.dinnerwithJulie.com) also has a recipe posted for sugarplums. I didn't even stop to think that they might actually be something real. I'd always thought about sugarplums as any sweet thing you might care to imagine! Are they as tasty as they look?

  4. Omigosh!! Those look so tasty, so festive. I was all excited to try my hand at making them and then I read the part about "taking a little work" and now I'm rethinking taking on the project. I'll probably try next year. They're too pretty to go through all of that work and not share with my kiddies.

    I'm reading forward. I have lots of catching up to do on your posts.
    I've missed them!

  5. Caryn, The nuts and fruit need to be finely chopped, and we found even with the food processor the dates really 'stuck' together. We found once you mixed in the icing sugar and nuts then the dates started crumbling into smaller pieces too.

    But I'm telling the truth, in my books they were worth even that! So keep in mind for next year.


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