Have you always wondered what exactly a sugar plum is? They are simply dried fruit, nuts, and spices, once rare treats. They are pretty easy to make - no baking required. And they are much more nutritious than the holiday treats we are used to.
I LOVE prunes (dried plums). They are a good source of soluble fiber, Vitamin K, beta-carotene and polyphenols. In addition to their well-known assistance with digestion, they are anti-cancer, help prevent diabetes, obesity and bone loss, and protect the brain from free radical damage.
This recipe comes from the Nourished Kitchen, but I have added a few notes of my own.
1 cup shelled walnuts
1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
zest of one orange
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped unsulphured apricots
1/2 cup chopped pitted prunes
evaporated cane juice sugar or unsweetened dessicated coconut
- Toss walnuts into a mixing bowl with one-half teaspoon unrefined sea salt and add warm water to cover by two inches. Allow the nuts to soak, covered, in salty water overnight between eight and twelve hours. This process improves walnuts flavor and digestibility by releasing bitter tannins and phytates.
- After the nuts have soaked between eight and twelve hours, drain them in a colander and rinse them well. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel.
- Toss the soaked nuts into a food processor with the zest of one orange, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coriander as well as chopped pitted dates, unsulphured apricots and pitted prunes. This requires a pretty hefty food processor; I don't think a regular blender would be up to the challenge.
- Pulse the mixture three to four times to combine, then process the dried fruit, walnuts and spices until a paste forms – about four or five minutes. The mixture will clump up and you will have to stop the food processor to scrape down the sides and break up the clumps. Several times. You will think it's done, but keep going. Eventually it will become a smooth, homogenous paste.
- The mix is VERY sticky. I like to coat my hands with a tiny bit of coconut oil to keep from sticking to it. Makes sure to get some oil on your fingertips too. Form the sugar plums by rolling about two tablespoons of the paste in the palms of your hands until a round ball forms. Place the balls one at a time into a bowl of sugar or coconut and shake it around to coat on all sides.