Recipe: Sugarplums from Real Food for the Holidays by Nourished Kitchen

Recipe: Sugarplums from Real Food for the Holidays by Nourished Kitchen post image

My friend Jenny at Nourished Kitchen is launching her class, Real Food for the Holidays just in time! The class is filled with amazing recipes from the world over. Here is an elegantly simple recipe from her canon of traditional meals and treats for the upcoming holidays. In the class there are choices for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years! This e-course will make your holidays less stressful and certainly a lot more flavorful!

When I hear the word sugarplum I think of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, Nutcracker Suite. I can actually hear the music and visualize the beautiful ballerinas’ graceful twirls and leaps. Words from the classic Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore also come to mind.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads…

But here’s the catch – what IS a sugarplum?

It’s not a fruit and it is not a fruit preserved in sugar, according to Samira Kawash, professor emerita, Rutgers University, who researches and writes on the cultural and social history of candy in 20th-century America. She also blogs on candy history and opinion at

“Sugar plum” was well known to English-speakers from the 17th to the 19th century as another name for what was sometimes called dragee or more commonly comfit. I suspect that doesn’t really clarify matters. All of these terms name a sweet made of sugar hardened around a central seed or kernel in successive layers using a process called “panning.” The glossy sugar shells on candies like jelly beans or M&Ms are produced through a similar process: The candy pan is kept in motion over heat, while successive layers of sugar are poured on and allowed to harden. Jawbreakers are made this way, using a sugar crystal as the seed. Sugar plums or comfits were most often made with caraway or cardamom seeds at the center.

Historically, sugarplums were mainly sugar

They were, handmade balls, made with layers of sugar that originally took a lot of skill to make by hand. When machinery entered the scene, it became easier to make and so more people could afford them. More and more candies were made in this way.

Candy sugarplums are a traditional Christmas candy that can be easily converted to a real food indulgence. Made primarily from dried fruits and spices, the powdered sugar is really not necessary as these sugar plums are certainly sweet enough.



  • 1 cup nuts (where to buy nuts)
  • 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt (where to buy sea salt and spices)
  • zest of 1 orange (organic if you can)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped unsulphured apricots
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted prunes
  • powdered unrefined cane sugar (optional — this is not legal on SCD, GAPS — use dried coconut instead)
  • Food processor


  1. Toss nuts and unrefined sea salt together in a bowl, covering with about two inches of water
  2. Allow this mixture to stand at room temperature for twelve hours
  3. After 12 hours, drain nuts and rinse them
  4. Toss soaked nuts, sea salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, dates, apricots and prunes in a food processor and process until the ingredients form a smooth paste
  5. Form sugarplums by rolling into balls about one-inch in diameter with the palms of your hands
  6. Sprinkle or dredge in powdered unrefined cane sugar, if desired
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Soak Time: 12 hours
Yield: 3 dozen

Get 175 Real Food Holiday Recipes just like this in Jenny’s e-course: Real Food for the Holidays

Jenny at Nourished Kitchen is offering an online series of cooking lessons called Real Food for the Holidays. This series is devoted to helping you get through the holidays with a minimum of stress and a maximum of real food style!

  • 10 Online Workshops to help you cook better – not just during the holidays, but after, too.
  • 175 Real Food Recipes for the Holidays
  • 30+ Pre-designed Menus for everything from Thanksgiving to New Years
  • Mix-and-match Menu Planners so you can design your own menus if you prefer
  • 30+ Instructional Videos so you can manage the simple basics of cooking traditional foods successfully
  • Lifetime Access to all materials

What’s Included in Real Food for the Holidays

Real Food for the Holidays is a comprehensive, multimedia online class comprised of 10 workshops dedicated healthy holiday cooking. Each workshop features instructional cooking videos, holiday recipes (many suitable for gluten-, dairy- and grain-free participants), full menus, shopping lists, tips for advanced planning, and mix-and-match menu planners. Plus, if you’re ever in a bind, you can connect directly with Jenny by email for private one-on-one troubleshooting.

Click here for details

In addition to the videos, you’ll get over 30 menus and 175 recipes for the holidays. And, you’ll have lifetime access to all the materials — so you can use them again next year.

At less than $10 per lesson, this is a real bargain! You can also sign up for just one or two classes if you don’t want to take the whole series.

Special pricing: 40% off!

Was $149.00
NOW $89.00

Hurry! Price only good through November 21st!

Click here to sign up now!


This post is shared at: Mix It Up Monday, Melt in Mouth Monday, Monday Mania, Barnyard Hop, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasteful Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Hearth & Soul Hop, Recipe Box, Sustainable Ways, Wheat Free Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy FreeWednesday, Mommy Club, Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day, Creative juice Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Eat Make Grow, Full Plate THursday, Pennywise Platter, Tasty Traditions, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday,Friday Finds, Freak Friday

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Leave a Comment

  • Miz Helen November 9, 2012, 9:30 pm

    Sugarplums sounds good to me. Have a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  • April @ The 21st Century Housewife November 12, 2012, 6:21 pm

    Sugarplums are such a fascinating historical sweet! This recipe sounds much healthier than the original, and yet still keeps the idea and feeling behind the traditional original – wonderful! Thank you for sharing this post! I’m featuring it in my Hearth and Soul post tomorrow.

  • Diane Balch November 16, 2012, 2:21 pm

    Really interesting history. My daughter was in the Nutcracker twice and we always get sugar plums in our stockings at Christmas. Thanks for sharing this recipe on foodie friday.

  • GM November 21, 2012, 8:31 pm

    Should I still soak the nuts if they’ve already been roasted?

    • Jill November 21, 2012, 9:25 pm

      GM, You should be using raw nuts. But if you only have roasted nuts then I would not soak them.

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