Monday, December 24, 2012

Visions of Sugarplums!

Credit: David Sawyer

"… while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads." The famous sugar plums spoken about in Clement Clark Moore's beloved poem, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" were actually sugar-coated coriander. Later the recipe changed and included other spices and dried fruit.

Bags of sugarplums would be such a cute favor idea for a Christmas wedding!

This recipe is based on the confection we know today. Sugar plums tend to absorb the powdered sugar, so redust just before eating, if you like.

2 cups whole almonds
1⁄4 cup honey
2 tsp. grated orange zest
1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp. ground allspice
1⁄2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1 cup finely chopped pitted dates
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast in oven for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool, then finely chop.
2. Meanwhile, combine honey, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl. Add almonds, apricots, and dates and mix well.
3. Pinch off rounded teaspoon-size pieces of the mixture and roll into balls. (Rinse your hands often, as mixture is very sticky.) Roll balls in sugar, then refrigerate in single layers between sheets of waxed paper in airtight containers for up to 1 month. Their flavor improves after ripening for several days.

Sugar Plums
This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #39