Merry Holidays, everyone! Does anyone really know what sugarplums are? What confection, precisely, is that Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker dancing for anyways?
Turns out they’re balls of dried fruits and nuts, sometimes with spices added in, perhaps coated in powdered sugar. Well, besides sounding Christmasey, this all sounded very Persian to me. So I tooled around online, found some simple sugarplum recipes, and tweaked them to add a Persian twist. Voila! Beautiful, tasty, festive holiday treats.
Simple to make, tasty, and these goodies actually taste better as the days go on. Time in the fridge give their flavors time to meld. They’re plenty sweet, but perhaps a nice change of pace from all the cookies you might be enjoying lately.
Prep time: 20 minutes or less, depending on what method you use to prep your fruits and nuts
Yield: Approximately 20 balls
Note: You can play around with the proportion of fruits to nuts, the types of fruit and nuts that you use, and the spices. This recipe is extremely flexible.
- 1 cup of slivered almonds
- 1/3 cup pistachios, shells removed
- 2 cups of mixed dried fruit. (I used Mariani’s mixed fruit, a blend of tender fruits I get at Costco, which includes apricots, plums, peaches, pears, and apples)
- 1/2 c cup dried sour cherries
- 1/4 cup honey (if vegan, use a vegan friendly option like molasses, agave, etc)
- Pinch saffron dissolved in about a tablespoon of hot water
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice blend or Persian Spice Blend (Advieh)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Shredded coconut flakes and/or confectioner’s sugar for garnish (optional)
1. Chop nuts into pieces, either via hand, crushing them with a rolling pin inside a bag, or use a blender or food processor to pulse once or twice to chop the pieces. Chop or food process/blend the the fruits as well. Remove fruit and nut mixture from food processor or blender (if using), and set aside in a bowl.
2. Add honey to another bowl. Infuse honey with saffron and hot water, and then add in the pumpkin pie spice or Persian spice blend and vanilla (if using). Mix well.
3. Combine honey mixture with fruit/nut mixture, and mix very well.
4. Use your hands to form this mixture into balls. (Mixture will be very sticky. Keep a dampened cloth handy to wipe down your hands periodically). Roll in confectioner’s sugar or coconut flakes, if using. Refrigerate in an airtight container and enjoy at your leisure.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and wishing every one of you a fantastic 2011!