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Sugarplums Exposed




T'was the day after victory and all through the house, all the people were shouting GO BLUE and cheering about,

The trophy was perched on the mantle with care, in hopes that next year, the second would be there,





The OSU AND MSU fans were snug in their end of season beds, while Michigan fans tasted sweet victory like sugar plums as they danced and danced and danced...




That's right! Even though it's only January, Christmas came again for my Alma Mater with the national championship win! To celebrate we're sharing one of my favorite holiday recipes. This way you too can share in the present of sweet victory lingering on every Michigan Wolverines palate as we yell that sweet sweet phrase...THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN WOLVERINES ARE THE UNDEFEATED 2023 NATIONAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF CHAMPIONS!!!!! HAIL HAIL!!!!! GO BLUE!!!!!



How many times have you heard The Nutcracker, and been transported to a whimsical place when Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy began? You may not have had them dancing in your head though because, who the heck even knows what a sugar plum even is?! Well, lets help reveal this mysterious holiday treat that captivated the world of old enough to inspire classic music and literature. Just a heads up, though it's not what you think, the flavors to inspire whimsical visions of the essence of the holidays.



So what are they? Are they a sugary treat? Are they fruit? Are they a sugary fruit treat? What if I told you, all of the above? Sugarplums originally started out as a hard candy. It was called a sugar plum because small candies in the shape of an oval were commonly referred to as such. Originally, they had not one ounce of fruit. Later, it referred to un-ripened fruits that were candied for preservation purposes. They included fruits, nuts and even roots. Many times, they even strung them with wires and used as decorations. At one point sugarplums were referring to a luxury treat where seeds or nuts which had layers of sugar added to them to form hard shells. Maybe with having a seed or nut at the center, people felt is resembled a plum. In the late 20th century, the version many know as sugar as sugarplums now was born. It consisted of dried fruits, nuts, seeds, seasonal spices and sometimes even honey. They were formed into a ball and dredged in Shredded coconut, powdered sugar or even cocoa powder in some instances. Though there is a resurgence of another gummy candy version of the treat, this is the version we'll be making. It's essentially another version of the second iteration with using un-ripened fruit which was the version spoken about in classic literature and music. This is a great snack the whole family can participate in making. We've been making them since our boys turned 3 and they absolutely love them. So, let's get to learning what all the fuss is about in these pint sized tastes of the warmth of the season. After indulging in this sweet treat, you too will be asking, Who has it better than us? NOBODY!



 

Sugarplum Recipe



Prep: 10 Mins

Yield: 18 Pieces


Ingredients

Measurement

Unit

Toasted Walnuts

1

Cup

Orange Peel

2

Tbsp

Pitted Dates

1

Cup

Dried Apricots

1/2

Cup

Pitted Prunes

1/2

Cup

Fennel

1/4

tsp

Cardamom

1/8

tsp

Ground Coriander

1/4

tsp

Nutmeg

1/8

tsp

Cinnamon

1/4

tsp

Salt

Pinch

Pinch

Honey

2

Tbsp

Shrd Coconut or Powdered Sugar

As Needed

As Needed

Directions

  1. Combine nuts and dried fruit in food processor and pulse until minced

  2. Add remaining ingredients together in a food processor, except the honey, shredded coconut and powdered sugar

  3. Mix until the mixture is slightly paste-like in texture

  4. If too mealy, add honey a little at a time, pulsing after each addition until desired texture is reached

  5. Wet your hands and scoop 1 oz balls of mix into your hands. A 1 oz ice cream scoop works great

  6. Roll each scoop in the palm of your hand until it forms a smooth ball

  7. In separate bowls, place the shredded coconut and powdered sugar

  8. Toss each ball in either the powdered sugar or shredded coconut, loosely shaking of the excess and set aside

  9. Enjoy!


Storage: Lasts 3 days at room temperature and 5 days in the fridge


Tips

  • For nut free alternative, substitute nuts for toasted sunflower seeds or roasted pumpkin seeds

  • Any dried fruit can work with this recipe, so choose flavors you enjoy. Replace with equal amounts to keep consistent textures. If the end product is too sticky, add more nuts.

  • You can substitute the honey for any liquid sweetened alternative. The liquid sweetened is more for binding purposes. If your dried fruit has enough moisture, you might not need it.

  • Alternatives for outer coating include shaved chocolate

  • Spices can be altered as well, but recommend keeping cinnamon and cardamom and choosing complimentary spices

  • You can also coat the outside with cocoa powder, sprinkles or any other coating thats small enough to stick to the outside uniformly


I'll sign off with a very special Merry Victory to us, to all others a great big...BET!


-Chef-

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