Monday, 14 December 2015
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 best.
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!
Makes 18 to 2
These keep for weeks in the refrigerator. The perfect gift when presented in pretty little 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.
If you are thinking that this sounds familiar, you are right. This is a repost from about four years ago now. I have a lot of new readers now and some things such as this during the holiday season are just worth repeating. Enjoy!