Sugar Plums and Other Sweet Holiday Treats

by Meg Cotner on December 22, 2011

sugarplums

Another recent Traditional Community Kitchen meetup I attended recently focused on healthy holiday treats – sweet things that contain unrefined, natural sweeteners, with flavors appropriate for the season. This event was seriously calling my name when I first saw it, as I have a major sweet tooth and have struggled with sugar for a long time (my struggles continue, but I’m working on it).

One way I deal with my bully of a sweet tooth is to still eat sweet treats but eat those made with natural sweeteners. That means maple syrup, honey, sucanat, and coconut sugar. I don’t eat much stevia, but I do like it in some cases. I also love to eat refrigerated medjool dates – keeping them in the fridge solidifies them a bit and gives them the texture similar to chewy caramel. It’s become a favorite treat of mine over the years.

By the way, dates are also great stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in prosciutto and baked until the meat crisps up. Sweet, tangy, and smokey all in one little snack – perfect!

Anyway, my love of dates leads me to my new love of sugar plums. Yes, sugar plums – the treat of the same name from A Visit From St. Nicholas (The children were nestled all snug in their beds/While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads.). One of the main ingredients of sugar plums is dates, and I think that’s why I like them so much.

Basically, sugar plums are little balls of dried fruit, nuts and spices – it occurred to me that they may be the proto-Lara Bar. Combine the ingredients, grind them up in the food processor, roll into balls, and then into sugar. Et voila, sugar plums!

sugarplum paste

I make mine on the smaller side (about 3/4 inch in diameter) and also keep these in the fridge (just like my dates). I just love them – the mix of delicious dried fruit, a family of spices, walnuts, and orange zest – they just tasted like Christmas to me.

If you’d like to make sugar plums, too, head over to Nourished Kitchen for the recipe. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

As far as the other holiday treats we made, those include some almond ginger cut out cookies; almond macaroons; and spiced nuts. Everything was delicious and I love the fact that everything was made with real ingredients and natural sweeteners. I definitely feel better when I avoid refined sugar.

Happy holidays, everyone!

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{ 1 comment }

KiriW. December 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

Can you believe I’ve never had sugar plums? They look amazing!

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