We know sugarplums from the popular Christmas Eve story ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and also from Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, but did you know sugarplums are actually a real thing??
I honestly thought they were just a fictional candy until I was at a Christmas market a few years ago and stopped short when I saw a lady selling “sugarplums.” After indulging in a little sample I was hooked! These sweet and spicy balls are the perfect holiday treat.
The history of sugarplums is a little murky, but most sources believe they stem from a combination of the practice of preserving fruit and the creation of “comfits” – balls of sugar with a seed, nut or spice in the middle. The end shape of comfits typically resulted in more of a plum shape, thus the name ‘sugar plum.’ Today’s version of sugarplums are a dried fruit, nut and spice mixture processed into small balls and rolled in sugar.
The ingredient combinations are virtually endless but this is the version I personally have come to love:
- Small skillet
- Food processor
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds for 7-10 minutes stirring frequently until golden brown and fragrant. *Be careful – they toast quickly after ~5 minutes of heating!
- When almonds are done, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until peppercorn-sized balls appear.
- Using hands, form dough into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar for finishing touch.
- Store in the fridge in a sealed container.
Wishing you all Happy Holidays!