The only problem was that I had absolutely no clue what they were.
An evening of googling and a grocery trip later, I was ready for my Christmas culinary adventure. Now, I know that somewhere in my initial research and reading I read that the first documented mentions of sugar plums came from 16th century sources. Of course, I cannot find that source to cite it now. But I did find my scribbled notes and the recipe I used for making these delicious confections.
Sugar Plum Recipe
- 2 cups walnut halves
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 cup chopped dates (I used the pre-chopped kind from the dried fruit aisle, rather than pitting the whole dried dates in the cupboard. Those were saved for bacon-wrapped dates on tapas night!)
- 1 cup dried apricots
- zest of one orange
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- sugar for coating the sugar plums (do not mix with the other ingredients!)
Basically, chop everything into the itty bittiest pieces you can manage and stir together with the honey. This would have been painfully slow by hand, and I was very glad that I had the use of a modern food processor.
Once sufficiently chopped and combined, simply roll into balls. Roll each ball in the sugar coating. I used very coarse crystal sugar I bought at the cake decorating store to give the sugar plums extra sparkle and a unique look, but any sugar, even powdered sugar, would work.