What is a Sugar Plum?
You have probably heard ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas several hundred times, but if you are like me, you may not have stopped to find out just what a sugar plum is after hearing the sugar plum verse:
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
I always assumed that sugar plums referred to sugared and baked plums.
Even the sugar plum fairy from The Nutcracker didn’t give me a clue as to what to expect from sugar plums.
When I began my search to answer, “What is a sugar plum,” I found two excellent sugar plum recipes, one from Nourished Kitchen and another from Running to the Kitchen (inspired by Alton Brown’s recipe); both treat a sugar plum as a no-bake dessert made with dried fruit (including prunes, dried plums), nuts, honey, and spices, and rolled in sugar.
These glittery sugar plums are my take on these two recipes.
How Were Traditional Sugar Plums Made?
Only after I created my sugar plum recipe did I discover the truth about sugar plums – sadly, traditional sugar plums have nothing at all to do with plums!
I was saddened to discover that my sugar plums are not quite authentic. However, Kawash’s article in The Atlantic states that “plum doesn’t just mean fruit; it can mean all manner of good things.” By that definition, my recipe certainly fits the bill.
What Do My Sugar Plums Taste Like?
Sugar Plum Recipe
Is Disco Dust Safe to Eat
When I originally posted this recipe using Disco Dust, I received numerous comments from people weighing in on the fact that Disco Dust is actually made of plastic and isn’t meant to be consumed. Eek!
It turns out that some brands of edible glitter are FDA-approved as safe to eat and some are not. Jewel Dust sold by Layer Cake Shop is an example of an edible glitter that is FDA approved.
I like using it all kinds of holiday desserts. Try using it in addition to the supplies that come in a gingerbread house kit to make your gingerbread house all sparkly!
Other Christmas Dessert Ideas
Sparkly Sugar Plums
- 2 cups toasted walnuts chopped
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 cup pitted prunes finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dried apricots finely chopped
- 1/2 cut pitted dates finely chopped
- powdered sugar for rolling coating the balls
- grape soda Jewel Dust
- Mix all ingredients except the sugar and Jewel Dust together in a large bowl. Optionally, place the whole mixture in the food processor and process for a few seconds - this will help everything to stick together, especially if you aren't the best at finely chopping. (I'm raising my hand high on this one.)
- Form the mixture into teaspoon-sized balls.
- Roll the balls in powdered sugar and then roll in Jewel Dust. Note: If you let the balls sit overnight, the powdered sugar will absorb into the balls and will be less visible.
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My sugar plum fairy cakes are cupcakes with the flavors of sugar plum.
Did you know that cupcakes are actually called fairy cakes in many parts of the world?