This sugar plum recipe gets your child to chop, mix, and roll his way to a delicious treat. Sugar plums might sound familiar from the holiday poem Twas the Night Before Christmas or The Nutcracker ballet's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy." But what is a sugar plum? In this case 'plum' refers to a sweet treat, or comfit, and can be traced as far back as the 17th century. It doesn't have much to do with the fruit we think of as plums today, and traditionally involves a patient process of layering sugar over a spice seed like coriander, over the course of several days. Over time, ingredients like dried fruit were added. Some people even developed their own literal versions of sugar plums! This sugar plum recipe is based on the old tradition, but it won't take you days to do. And there's no baking! Round up family or friends for this festive and easy Christmas activity. Make our sugar plum recipe to find out what a sugar plum really is.
What You Do:
- If you're using a food processor, combine the nuts and dried fruit: raisins, apricots and figs and pulse together until finely chopped. Otherwise, and more traditional, finely chop each ingredient by hand—adding each batch to a large bowl. This, if done by hand, is probably the most time consuming part so take a break, put on some music, switch off with someone else!
- This next step can be done while someone else is cutting the fruit and nuts, or in between: in a small bowl combine the spices, honey and juice. Set it aside.
- With a clean hand mix together the chopped fruit and nuts in the large bowl.
- Once that's mixed up add the honey-spice mixture. Try to spread everything around evenly, making sure to cover it all with spices and honey.
- Once everything's mixed together thoroughly you can start pinching off and rounding bits into sugar plums! Wash your hands off for the next step:
- First, dust a clean work surface with an even layer of coconut shreds - a cutting board or baking sheet is great to work on.
- Use a half tablespoon to scoop out bits of mixture and roll them into balls with your hands. This part's nice and sticky! One method for rounding bits of mixture is to: hold a spoonful of the mixture in your palm and close your hand around it in a fist, squeezing it together.
- Then drop it onto the layer of shredded coconut and use the palm of your hand to roll it over the flat surface, almost like your hand is gliding over a marble. If the "ball" starts to crack just pick it up and squeeze it together again tightly then continue rolling it till it's covered with coconut shreds!
- Continue through the mixture making your plums until you're done. Then they're officially ready to eat!
They're great for shipping off as presents too, just line a tin or container with wax paper between each layer of sugar plums. This recipe makes at least two dozen sugar plums. They can be stored at room temperature for as long as a week, or refrigerated for up to a month.
There are so many kinds of sugar plums that can be made—try dried dates and apricots with almonds, and instead of coconut dust confectioner's sugar over the top. You can make almost any combination of nuts and dried fruits to suit your taste buds!