These traditional Sugar Plums are holiday treats made from dried fruits and nuts that are rolled in coarse sugar. After you’ve tasted one of these delicious sweets, you’ll better understand the origin of the Sugarplum Fairy and the old-fashioned Christmas Eve visions of sugarplums! These are such a fun and easy treat to make during the holidays.
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I involved my kids in making these Sugar Plums for some holiday season bonding, and they had so much fun! They were all fascinated to discover that Sugar Plums are real and that they taste good. If you like dried fruits or you enjoy snacks like Lara Bars, you’ll love making your own festive Sugar Plums at home. And this Sugar Plums recipe is easy enough to involve the whole family!
What is a Sugar Plum?
Sugar Plums have been around for at least as long as the 16th century, and traditionally, the term was applied to any sort of round sweet, most often made from nuts and dried fruits. The term “sugar plum” didn’t refer to plums specifically but rather was a general term for any combination of sugared dried fruit being served as a treat.
It wasn’t until Clement Moore’s famous holiday poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” was published in 1823 that sugar plums became specifically connected to Christmas. Then, Tchaikovsky further cemented the connection between Christmas and Sugar Plums in the 1890s when he wrote and orchestrated “The Nutcracker,” with its famous Sugar Plum Fairy, which rules over the land of sweets.
What is in Sugar Plums
Sugar Plums are easy to make, and you only need a few ingredients. You should be able to find everything you need at any major grocery store.
Dried Plums – It’s fun to actually use plums in your Sugar Plums! At most grocery stores, these will be referred to as “Prunes.”
Dried Dates – These add a delicious flavor and sweetness to the treats. You can use Medjool Dates or Deglet Dates; just make sure they are pitted dates.
Dried Cranberries – These not only add a delicious tangy tartness to the treats, but they also add some festive color!
Toasted Walnut Pieces – Use roasted nuts instead of raw nuts for a richer flavor. You can buy them already toasted or easily toast them yourself in a single layer in a large skillet over medium heat until they begin to smell toasted and turn a golden brown (about 3 to 5 minutes).
Almond Flour – This helps bind the fruit and nuts together so that you can form them into balls. It also keeps them gluten-free, and no need to bake!
Cherry Preserves – The cherry flavor pairs well with the nuts and combination of dried fruits. You can also substitute other flavors of preserves like Raspberry or Apricot.
Dried Spices – Adding ground Cinnamon and Cloves gives the Sugar Plums a very festive, spiced flavor that tastes like Christmas!
Sugar – You can use granulated sugar, but I like the crunch and sparkle of more coarse sugar, like sanding sugar for decorating or turbinado sugar. Pictured here is sanding sugar, which you can find near cake decorating items. For a different look, you could even use powdered sugar.
How to Make Sugar Plums
First, place the dried, pitted dates and plums in a large food processor with a blade attachment. Pulse a few times until the dried fruit is chopped into pieces.
Add the dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and the almond meal to the food processor. Pulse a few times until everything is well combined and chopped into small pieces.
Add the ground cinnamon, cloves, and cherry preserves to the food processor. Pulse several more times until the mixture begins to come together and form a ball. You may need to scrape down the sides in between pulsing.
Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, roll the mixture into balls and roll them in the sugar until they are completely coated.
Recipe Pro Tips!
Benefits of Sugar Plums
These Sugar Plums do, of course, have sugar, but they also have wonderful fruits like prunes, dates, cranberries, and nuts. A sweet treat that you can indulge in. Plus, they are easy to make and are gluten-free. Quite the winning combination, actually.
How Can I Store Sugar Plums?
Store them in the refrigerator in an air-tight container in a single layer for up to a week. If you want to do double layers, use wax paper to separate the layers.
Better yet, hold off on rolling them in sugar until serving. They will last even longer, like a few weeks, in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Also, if you would like to freeze them, do so before rolling in sugar. Freeze them on cookie sheets for at least 2-3 hours and then place them in an air-tight container. Thaw at room temperature and then roll in sugar and serve. They will last up to 3 months.
DO YOU WANT MORE TREATS AND SNACKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS?
We love serving up traditional and new recipes to our company, family, and friends for the holidays. Here are some more of our favorite recipes. These are all fun to make with the kids, too!
- 1/2 cup dried plums (California Prunes)
- 1/2 cup dried pitted dates
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (see note)
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 2 tablespoons cherry preserves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup coarse sugar or sanding sugar
- Place the dried plums and dried pitted dates in a large food processor with a blade attachment. Pulse a few times until the dried fruit is chopped into pieces.
- Add the dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and almond meal to the food processor. Pulse a few more times until everything is well combined and chopped into small pieces.
- Add the spices and cherry preserves to the food processor. Pulse again until the mixture begins to come together and form a ball (you may need to scrape down the sides between pulses.)
- Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, roll the mixture into balls and then roll each ball in the coarse sugar until they are completely coated. Enjoy them right away, or store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.
If you have raw walnut pieces, you can toast them yourself. Place them in a single layer in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to smell toasted and turn a light golden brown (about 3 to 5 minutes).
See the post for more tips and tricks.
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KitchenAid 13-Cup Food Processor, Contour Silver
TILUCK Stainless Steel Measuring Cups & Spoons Set, Cups and Spoons,Kitchen Gadgets for Cooking & Baking (Medium)
The Sugar Lab Confectioners Sugar - Extra Coarse Sugar - 1 Pound - Con AA - Sugar Crystals for Baking and Cupcake Decorations - Excellent for Decorating Candy - Perfect for Bakeries Sanding Sugar
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 98Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 1g
Recipe calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. If you need nutritional calculations for medical reasons, please use a source that you trust.