Vintage Holiday Treats

~a re-post from last year~

What better way to start the holiday month than with an old favorite recipe. When making Christmas treats, be sure to remember this one as it is a welcome addition to plates of sweets and gift-giving boxes as well.

What is your favorite way to make sugarplums?


2 cups shelled almonds
up to 3 dozen large pitted prunes, dates, dried apricots or figs, depending on size
2 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon mace
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup orange liqueur, rum or brandy

Roast the nuts in a single layer in a 350-degree F. oven for about 12 minutes or until the insides are a dark gold. Cool completely.

Depending on the fruits you are using, slit down one side of each fruit or prepare them for a filling.

Using a food processor, combine the almonds, the 2 tablespoons brandy, spices in the bowl and process stopping from time to time to mix in the bits at the bottom. The mixture should be crumbly that will barely hold together when squeezed. Add the butter, honey and process briefly until thoroughly combined. The mixture should be of a cohesive paste.

Make balls of mixture as big as needed to fill the fruits you are using. Pour the liquor in a shallow dish and dip each ball of filling in the liquor. Insert the dripping ball into the fruit slit side up so that the fruit will absorb as much liquor as possible. Pinch the slit together and mold as necessary to form the sugarplums. Roll in confectioners’ sugar if desired.

Pack between wax paper if storing in a tin or arrange on a serving plate and cover with plastic wrap.

Note: Make the filling as a candy by shaping it into teaspoon size balls and rolling each in confectioners’ sugar or cocoa. It is also a good filling for pecan or walnut halves making tiny sandwiches for real nut lovers.

16 thoughts on “Sugarplums

  1. kathyvegas

    Just watched Alton Brown make these last night and was thinking about adding these to my Christmas cookie tray…but I like your recipe MUCH better (his had some odd spices I planned on leaving out).

  2. Cocina Savant

    Wow! This is such a neat recipe! Thank you so much for sharing it, I'll have to give it a try. It truly never dawned on me to actually try and make these! Thank you again so much!

  3. Kristen

    Wait! You mean sugar plums don't just dance in our heads on Christmas Eve? They actually exist in this century? I have never had them; never even seen them. I feel like I should don a corset and long dress to enjoy such a treat. Thanks for teaching me something new.

  4. Mother Rimmy

    Drick – I always love seeing what you're cooking up next. Sugar plums? I'm with Kristen – I had no idea they even existed. Too many social obligations this weekend to work on the recipe you suggested last week, but it's on my list for next weekend. I hope I can do it justice! 🙂


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