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+ servings

Sugarplums

These sweet and slightly spicy holiday treats are made pantry-friendly with dried fruit and nuts.
In the 17th century, boiling fruit with sugar became a popular way to preserve plums, thus the term "sugar plum" was coined. Because coating the confection in sugar was such a labor-intensive process, sugarplums were reserved as a treat for the rich.
Fast-forward to the 19th century when the likes of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker and poet Clement C. Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (you know..."While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads...") made the sugarplum practically synonymous with Christmas.
My take with almonds, dried fruit, and honey is a little healthier than the sugar bombs of yesteryear, but you’ll dream about them all the same. These also make excellent holiday gifts.
This recipe first appeared in Season 13 of Good Eats.
Sweet and spicy sugarplums coated in granulated sugar.
ACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes
Yield: 80 sugarplums

Software

  • 1 1/2 cups slivered almonds, toasted
  • 3/4 cup dried plums
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots
  • 3/4 cup dried figs
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup coarse sugar

Specialized Hardware

  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Food processor
  • 1/4-ounce disher

Procedure

  • Put the almonds, plums, apricots, and figs in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the fruit and nuts are chopped into small pieces, but before the mixture becomes a ball, 20 to 25 pulses.
  • Combine the confectioners’ sugar, anise, caraway, cardamom, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the nut and fruit mixture, along with the honey. Combine well using gloved hands.
  • Scoop the mixture into 7-gram (1/4-ounce) portions and roll into balls. If serving immediately, roll in coarse sugar and serve. If not serving immediately, put the balls on a cooling rack and leave uncovered until ready to serve. Roll in sugar just prior to serving.
  • Sugarplums may be stored on the cooling rack for up to 1 week. After 1 week, store in an airtight container for up to 1 month or freeze.