We’ve all heard the famous poem, The Night Before Christmas. And I’m sure that you remember the famous, “visions of sugar plums danced in their heads…” part. For some reason this part always fascinated me. What were these things called sugar plums? Why were these children dreaming about them? Were they really that good? That the night before Christmas, they were dreaming about a food I never heard of before????
I had a lot of questions as a young child.
Anyways, I used to have this recipe I got from health food magazine years ago. It had these neat “energy balls”. Interesting name. Basically, they were a grain free alternative to a granola type snack. This particular recipe called for walnuts and figs pureed into a sticky mess that you formed into balls and froze. They suggested putting them in kids lunches.
So, what does this have to do with sugar plums, you may ask? Because, they are pretty much the same thing!Traditionally, they are made with a selection of nuts and dried fruits, held together with a splash of Grand Marnier or orange juice.
On the Joy of Baking site, I found a recipe for Fruit and Nut Balls (aka sugar Plums!) Here’s the original recipe I went off of and the rest of the article.
Because we can’t have citrus right now, I left out the o.j. and opted for my original “glue” of honey. Here’s my basic recipe:
1 cup nuts (we used pecans, but walnuts and other nuts work well too)
1 cup dates (dried)
1/2 cup cranberries (dried. * all I had on hand was a tiny box, like the kind you get raisins in, of cranberries, so I just dumped a couple of those in)
a squirt of honey
and a pinch of brown sugar
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it starts to stick together. Then, having a baking sheet ready, roll them into balls (smooching when needed) and the roll them in powdered sugar. Place them on the baking sheet and let sit for about an hour. Or 45 minutes. Or however long you can withstand eating them. If you have better will power than I apparently do, they keep in the refrigerator for about a month. Pretty good for no preservatives.