Sugar Plums

Sugar Plums

The other day Mom asked me what I would say if someone asked me about my Christmas traditions.  Since no one has ever asked me this question, I had never really considered it and brushed the question off with an “I don’t know.”  But then her words got me thinking.  What are my Christmas traditions?  Do I have any at all?  What makes my holidays special?  There has to be something . . . right?

The more I thought and Mom and I talked about it, the more traditions that came to mind.  The amazing display of inside decorations is a pretty good place to start.  Every year I look forward to seeing all my old favorites make their return and new additions get displayed for the first time, as Dad bemoans the fact that we are running out of space.  We turn the decorations on as soon as we get up on Christmas morning and leave them on all day.  The motorized ornaments and singing Hallmark stuffed animals the perfect soundtrack for our festivities.

Sugar Plums

Sugar Plums

Sugar Plums Sugar Plums

Then there’s the fact that we don’t travel for the holiday any longer. My parents are the most important people in my life and I in theirs, so there is simply no better way to spend the day than with each other, avoiding the hassle of travelling and the drama of a huge crowd.  We open presents on Christmas morning, then spend some time investigating them.  Among my treasures is always the annual Swarovski snowflake ornament.  I began collecting them quite a few years ago and hope one day perhaps I can complete the collection with the earlier missing ornaments.  I take Christmas off (okay this year you’ll probably see a couple Tweets from me), not even turning my computer on.

Mom and I always bake something.  I truthfully don’t know what it will be this year, but there is always some yummy treat that fills the kitchen.  And we always have steak.  In a house where Mom and I are always eating fish and Dad rotisserie chicken, it is nice to sit down to a meal of red meat, all of us for once enjoying the same food.  This year we’re thinking filet mignon.  No one cooks filet better than Mom, not even fancy steakhouses.

Sugar Plums

Sugar Plums

The best part about our traditions is that they evolve with us.  As we change, so do our traditions.  Perhaps the biggest and best tradition of the day is that we just have a good time, whatever that may or may not involve.  As time goes on, I’m sure they will continue to change, but what’s important is that a little thought made me discover all the wonderful traditions around me that make the holidays truly special.  What are your traditions for the holiday season?

Sugar Plums might just be a new Christmas tradition.  These are quite different than anything I’ve made before, but I really enjoyed them.  I have been on a huge dried fruit kick lately, and these take dried fruit to a whole new level.  Tasting kind of like mincemeat, they are soft and chewy with tons of dried fruit, but have added crunch from toasted pecans (they must be toasted) and a coating of granulated sugar.  However, it is the warm spices and heavy hit of fresh orange zest that make Sugar Plums shine.  An easy to make, no bake, super sharable treat that’s light and dare I say healthy, make these a wonderful holiday sweet that I hope can be added to your list of holiday traditions as well.

Sugar Plums

Sugar Plums

4.6 from 11 reviews
Sugar Plums
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36
  • 2 cups pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup dried pitted plums
  • ½ cup dried pitted apricots
  • ½ cup dried figs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup confectioners’’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • Granulated sugar for rolling
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse pecans, plums, apricots, and figs until finely chopped but not combined into a ball.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together honey, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, sugar, and orange zest until mostly combined. Not all of the sugar will be stirred in, but that’s okay.
  3. Pour the fruit and nut mixture into the bowl and mix with a spoon, your hands, or both until fully combined and very sticky.
  4. Take about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball in your hands. Coat it fully in granulated sugar. Continue to do so until all of the mixture is used. Sugar plums may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 month. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
Recipe adapted from Project Cupcake and Alton Brown



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  1. Natalie says:

    aww i love that you are big on traditions! I am the same with my family and we make the same breakfast every Christmas morning and open the presents together and laugh and take pictures. I should introduce my mom to these sugar plums because they do look fantastic!

    • Laura says:

      That’s so awesome that you have Christmas traditions too, Natalie 🙂 I didn’t even realize how important they were to me until I started thinking about them.

  2. Lendon says:

    These were very good. Dried Fruit and Pecans, make a great combo! Have a Happy Holiday!

  3. Linda says:

    These were too good to be considered healthy, I always thought, anything that tastes good, had to be bad for you. These were very good.

  4. Debbie Eccard says:

    We eat Sushi on Christmas Day. We cook a huge Thanksgiving meal for about 30 so we don’t cook on Christmas. Since Japanese restaurants are about the only ones open and we love sushi, we started doing that about 8 years ago. These sugar plums look great!

    • Laura says:

      After your busy Thanksgiving tradition, it sounds like you have the perfect Christmas tradition for a relaxing holiday 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  5. Kristy says:

    Ok, I have to admit I was a little scared to try them, lol. But, they are really good! Great job! I enjoyed, as I always do 🙂 You and your family have a safe and holiday, from my son and I 🙂

    • Kristy says:

      That was suppose to be “happy” holiday!! Lol

    • Laura says:

      It’s funny, my mom said she didn’t think anyone would like them, but the reviews have been very positive. Such a relief 😉 I’m glad you liked them. I hope you and your son have a wonderful holiday as well!

  6. Dad says:

    There are a lot of different flavors in these. Each bite brings out a new one.

  7. Jackie says:

    Very good. Thank you!! Merry Christmas!!

  8. Arturo says:

    The unfortunate truth is they were very intimidating to try. It was a big debate about whether or not to attempt them, however, after considering the source and the that I have not been disappointed yet, I eventually did eat them. And they were good. I mean I know the phrase sugar plums, but hey who knew…. Great job, again.

  9. Jessica says:

    These were really good – though I must admit that I had no idea there were this many ingredients in them 🙂 Aria liked them too! As always, great job!

    • Laura says:

      I’m glad both you and Aria liked them, Jessica! I certainly wasn’t sure if Aria would enjoy them, but am thrilled to hear she did.

  10. Henry Dluge says:

    Hi Laura! I must say that I am not a big fan of dried fruit but as usual with everything you create, the sugar plums were very good. I have enjoyed your baked treats all year and hope continue experiencing you’re wonderful creations in 2013. I have to tell you that my doctor and your dad told me that I have got to lose weight next year so I will watch my P’s and Q’s. My intentions are to watch what I eat day to day so I can indulge myself on the great treats you send. Thank you so much for sharing with me.
    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year!

    • Laura says:

      It’s great to hear you liked these even though you don’t like dried fruit. I didn’t think they tasted a lot like dried fruit either. I will for sure keep sending baked goods your way. Best of luck with your weight loss. I think quality homemade treats can fit into a balanced diet. It’s the processed stuff that’s really bad for you. My neighbor has said the only time she eats sugar is when I send treats her way! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Hank 🙂

  11. I’ve never in my life had a sugar plum before. I sing about them every Christmas, but have never had them. And I adore dried fruits and all those spices and the pecans. I had no idea how wonderful sugared plums are and now I want to go make some!

    • Laura says:

      We all have heard of sugar plums, but I bet most people, myself included, had no idea how to make them. It turns out they are super easy and delicious. I know you’d love them, Sally, with all those yummy ingredients 🙂

  12. Rick says:

    I love fruit cake, I’d probably like these.

  13. There’s something about these that is calling me – the dried fruit, dates, nuts, apricots, honey, zest – yes, I bet the flavors are just so perfect!

    • Laura says:

      The flavors are for sure perfect, Averie! I love all the ingredients in these and feel kind of good about eating them since they’re quite healthy.

  14. sal says:

    was not real sure how all the fruits would taste together,but was very tasty enjoyed them.

  15. Jeff says:

    I like other had heard of sugar plums in songs but never had them. This was a great little treat.

  16. Carolyn Jung says:

    I’ve only recently discovered sugar plums, as a local farm also started making them for the holidays, too. Yours look beautiful. I hope they do become a tradition in your household because it would sure make for a very sweet one. 😉

  17. carol says:

    I’ll be very honest, I don’t like fruitcake. So it took a lot for me to try these. I thought sugar plums were something that danced in your head… OK, so I tried them and liked them. They were awesome, as is everything you make! I will also encourage you to keep some old traditions and be sure to make some new ones of your own…like the Sugar Plums! Best wishes for 2013.

    • Laura says:

      It’s great to hear you liked them, Carol! Yes, the sugar plums are going to be a great tradition. I’m not a big fruitcake fan either, but there’s something about these that’s yummy. Thank you for all your support!

  18. Stef says:

    I’m super late to the party. But, happy holidays and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the sugar plums!

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