‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds;

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

Excerpt from A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore


Fellow blogger Dor from Virginia Views in a recent post stated “I’m not sure what a sugar plum is exactly,” which got me wondering,  just what were sugar-plums anyhow? So with the help of Google search, I found out that they were a tasty concoction of nuts, dried fruit and spices rolled in sugar. They sounded like a healthier alternative to traditional cookies and candy that are ubiquitous during the holidays.

I chose a recipe from Nourished Kitchen that promised to be close to the original Victorian and made a few batches to give away as holiday gifts. Easy and fun to make, the toughest part is remembering to soak the nuts ahead of time. I adjusted the recipe by halving the amount of prunes and substituting Turkish apricots. I imagine any combination of dried fruit could be used, such as cranberries, raisins or figs. It would be fun to experiment with different batches. I think I may try cranberries, apricots and figs (or raisins) to compliment the orange zest/spice flavors. I recommend buying small amounts from the bulk section of your local health food store for the freshest spices, fruit and nuts.

After mixing in food processor, form balls

After mixing in food processor, form balls

Roll balls in unrefined sugar or finely shredded coconut

Roll balls in unrefined sugar or finely shredded coconut

As we exchanged comments on her post, I promised to share the recipe if I was successful in my search. So thanks to Dor, I’ve experienced ‘the vision of sugar-plums dancing in my head!’ Happy Holidays to all!

About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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23 Responses to Sugar-Plums

  1. Geraldine says:

    Yummm…these sound delish. I always wondered what these actually were too.

    Have a lovely holiday season Eliza and all the best in 2015. 🙂

  2. Wow, what an informative post. Lots of fun and interesting facts, that end in sugarplums. 🙂 thank you.

  3. Eliza, those look absolutely delicious! What a beautiful gift, and yes, a healthy treat! We love Turkish apricots, and I’m glad you switched out some of the prunes for apricots. Back in the day, I used to use dried prunes in my fruitcakes. Eventually I learned my cakes had become a running joke in the extended family due to the prunes…. Merry Christmas! Elizabeth

  4. ladygrace33 says:

    I suddenly got craving for something sweet now. Enjoy your sugar-plums and have a beautiful season.

  5. And now more than just visions of sugarplums can dance through out heads. Thanks so much, Eliza.

  6. seedbud says:

    mmmmmm I bet the turkish apricots make them sublime! Sugar plums… GMTA 🙂 Happy Holidays Eliza!

  7. margber says:

    Happy Holidays, Eliza!! 😊

  8. dorannrule says:

    Hurrah! Now I really know what I’m dreaming about when I dream about sugar plums! Thanks too for the pingback Eliza and the mention! Also thanks for sending me some of the real sugar plums! They are delicious! 🙂 And what a wonderful gift to actually cross over from the blog-us-fear to real life. I can’t tell you how special it was to open that mysterious package.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I am glad you got them – you inspired me! They will likely become a tradition and I’ll always remember you, who gave me the idea! 🙂 I hope you like them – Merry Christmas!

  9. mk says:

    What a delightful post, Eliza. So much about holiday traditions are around food that we all imagine we know, but really are just mysteries! One year for vacation we spent Christmas in London. I was astonished and pleased to see vendors on the street actually roasting chestnuts. I think it very adventurous of you to create holiday sugar plums. I’m impressed.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      😀 I’m glad you are so easy to impress 🙂 I am much more impressed that you took a holiday in London! That much have been quite special.

      • mk says:

        It happened to have been the coldest winter since WWII. We stood in line for hours to hear Christmas carols in Westminster Abbey. I soon realized what a mistake it was to drink several hot chocolates in the cold, with hours yet to wait. 😉 We spent New Years in Amsterdam, where again it was so cold that the canals froze. Having found a mexican restaurant there, it was fun to watch people eat tacos with a fork & knife. I suppose they thought my table manners were odd, too.

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Cultural exchanges! 😉

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