Sugar Plums

Saturday 11 December 2010

Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house . . .
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse!
The children were nestled,
all snug in their beds . . .
While visions of sugar plums,
danced in their heads . . .

"A Visit From Saint Nicholas" by Clement C Moore, has long been a favourite Christmas verse of many. I had a little Golden Story Book, beautifully illustrated, of the poem when I was a child, and one year I memorized the whole poem to recite during our local village's Christmas Pageant.

I can still remember how excited I felt about that . . . I did put my whole heart and soul into it. 'Twas a wonderful experience indeed! I was no Shirley Temple, but I did my bes

I was never quite sure what Sugar Plums were back then . . . but I kinda thought they were candies and such. Sweet Treats that Santa was sure to leave for all the good boys and girls in the world!

These infamous sugar plums that filled children's heads in Clement Moore's time were actually sugar coated coriander, a treat that offered a sweet start and then a spicy burst of flavor. Later the recipe included small bits of fruit and nuts, becoming the confection we know today.

Tasty little balls of dried fruit, nuts, jam and spices, their name comes from the prunes or "dried plums" which you find in the recipe.

I have chosen to use dates and cranberries along with the "plums" in mine, but there is no reason why you could not substitute them with other fruits, such as dried apricots, or cherries. All would give a pretty jewel like appearance.

Of course you could make these extremely healthy by rolling them into chopped nuts or dessicated coconut instead . . . but it is Christmas after all . . .

It just wouldn't be the same without an indulgence here and there! The Toddster just loves these!

*Sugar Plums*
Makes 18 to 2
Printable Recipe

These keep for weeks in the refrigerator. The perfect gift when presented in pretty litte paper cups and a lovely gift tin!

3 ounces (1/2 cup) chopped pitted dates
3 ounces (1/2 cup) chopped toasted walnuts
1 ounce (1/4 cup) dried cranberries
1 ounces (1/4 cup) chopped pitted prunes
1 ounce (1/4 cup) chopped toasted hazlenuts
2 TBS fruit jam
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3.5 ounces (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

You can do this by hand, but a food processor does a quick and easy job of it.

Begin by placing the chopped dates, walnuts, cranberries, prunes and hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everythig is chopped very small and they begin to clump together a bit. Add the jam and spices and pluse until it all begins to come together. (when you press some of the mixture between your fingers it should hold itself into a ball. Don't over process, so keep checking. You want to see individual pieces of the fruit and nuts, not a paste.

Place the granulated sugar in a bowl. Take out tablespoons of the fruit mixture and shape into balls by rolling it in the palms of your hands, Drop the balls into the granulated sugar and give them a good coating. Place into little paper cups. Repeat until all of the mixture is used up. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.


  1. Oh, how lovely, Marie! I've never seen a recipe for Sugar Plums--how wonderful! I should have known that YOU would have a good one!

    I hope you're having a most wonderful day and that the Primary activity goes well--I'm sure it will be amazingly delicious with you baking for it!

    Sending you lots of love and cheer tonight...stay warm & cozy, my dear friend!


  2. Sugar Plums. I was completely spellbound by the idea of these for all the years of my childhood. Nothing I had ever tasted could ever equal these creations which I'd never tasted.

    Naturally, I will be making these.


  3. In all my years of baking and cooking I don't think I've ever seen a recipe for Sugar Plums. These sound wonderful. I'll be making Sugar Plums this Christmas. Thanks so much!

  4. Thanks, Marie, for sharing this. I've never seen a sugar plum. I've always had a vision of a purple plum coated with candy when the poem was read in the past. Being in a different counry you learn all sorts of interesting things. You make my life much richer knowing you. xxoo Jenny

  5. I was also brought up on this verse at Chrsitmas time and I just loved it. I had always wondered what sugar plums were as well, I never dreamed that they were really 'real'!

  6. I've never seen a recipe for sugar plums. This is so do-able! And I have some little paper candy cups waiting to be put to use. Thanks Marie!

  7. I didn't even know Sugar Plums were for real!

  8. Darling post! I like these.. a client gave me her recipe many yrs pretty on the treat table..Your little figurines look happy to live w/ you:)

  9. Marie,
    I found the most darling little paper cups...
    This Sugar Plum recipe would just be the perfect use for them.
    I'll claim this the Year of the Sugarplums!
    Thanks for sharing...
    I'm printing!
    Kathy @
    Sweet Up-North Mornings...

  10. Hello Marie, I just found you from clicking around on other blogs, initially Butteryum's and then La Table De nana. I love your blog and will definitely try out these sugar plums to hand around this Christmas, what could be nicer! I live quite near to you, by the way, just over the border in Wales! Have a lovely Christmas. Jeannette.

  11. Welcome Jeanette! Thanks for the comment! I love Wales and we go there often. Llangollen is my favourite place!

  12. Oh my, these sound
    heavenly, Marie!
    And it was so neat
    to hear the history
    of "the sugar plum."
    I was just re-reading
    The Night Before Christmas,
    this morning as I'm planning
    my own version for P&H.
    Thank you for stopping by ~
    I always love hearing from you!
    Merry merry weekend,
    xx Suzanne

  13. Dear Marie this post is absolutely lovely and sugar plums look amazing and delicious! send you huggs, and kisses, dont work so much my dear! xxxgloria

  14. so sweet plum, thanks for share


  15. This is wonderful, thank you for the recipe and the history! I had always assumed that sugar plums were glace plums...I love the new info!


  16. I love reading your recipes. (I will try one . . . soon.) I'm having a problem. This is the first time it's happened. When I came to your page today there was a pretty but very busy pattern on the background. It was impossible to read any of your content. Yipes. Then I left and came back. Boom. Now it's a white background. Then, oops it's changed back to the blue scroll background. What on earth is happening? Is it something I'm doing? Help!

  17. I'm so delighted to find an actual recipe for sugar plums!!! Thank you! <3


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