Sugarplums

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

I would love to have visions of dancing sugar-plums in my head, but I don’t know what they look like! And of course, there’s really no such thing, from a fruit standpoint. Ages ago I came across a recipe for Sugarplums on the Food Network website, and I was intrigued.

Turns out there have been candies/confections called Sugarplums around for a long time, and they’re all similar to this recipe, with nuts and dried fruits, rolled into balls.

So there’s no real sugar plum, but nonetheless this recipe was something I knew I had to make!

Best of all, I had 7-year old help with these!

Sugarplums

6 ounces Brazilnuts
6 ounces dried plums
4 ounces dried apricots
4 ounces dried figs, stemmed
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sieved
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground anise seed
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/4 cup honey
Swedish pearl sugar

Weigh out the Brazilnuts and all of the dried fruit, then place it all in the jar of a food processor. Pulse until on the coarse side, but not too coarse. You need all of it to stick together.

Place the mixture in a bowl and add the powdered sugar with the poppy seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, anise seeds, and fennel seeds. Give it all a stir and set aside.

When you are ready to finish the Sugarplums, have the nut-fruit mixture and two latex gloves handy. Place the Swedish pearl sugar in a small bowl. Also have a rack handy on which to place the Sugarplums. Put on the gloves and begin mixing everything together. Roll the sticky mixture into balls and dip in the sugar. Then place on the rack.

Continue with the remaining fruit and nut mixture. This recipe made about 20 Sugarplums, until everyone starts sampling them.

These are really sweet. I don’t think there’s any getting around it, because you need the dried fruits, the powdered sugar, and the stickiness of the honey. Definitely make these for your favorite sweets lover!

Peppermint Chocolate Cocktail

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Earlier this year, for my husband’s birthday, I made a peppermint vodka to surprise him with a special cocktail. He loves peppermint. The peppermint vodka is from Katherine’s blog, Love in my Oven, one of my favorites.

The cocktail she presented using the peppermint vodka was a peppermint chocolate cocktail, using crème de cacao. When he tasted the cocktail, he said it tasted like Christmas, so I thought I’d share Katherine’s recipe before the holidays!

One thing she recommended was to rim the cocktail glass in crushed candy canes, which I thought was a wonderful idea! Except that I couldn’t get them to work, so I settled on pearl sugar.

Peppermint  Vodka

2 cups vodka
5 peppermint candy canes, broken in two
One drop of red food coloring, optional

In a clean jar, place the candy canes in the vodka and stir occasionally until they dissolve. Store in a dark place for up to 3 days, then use in the following cocktail, or create your own. I didn’t use the red food coloring just because I think the pink is really pretty!

Peppermint  Chocolate  Cocktail
Serves 1

4 ounces peppermint vodka
2 ounces clear crème de cacao

Combine the two ingredients and shake with a bit of crushed ice.

Strain and pour into a glass.

Rim with crushed candy canes if desired; let dry slightly before filling the glass with the cocktail. If you’re able to…

Make a small pitcher of this cocktail if you’re serving multiple purpose. The ratio of 2 to 1 is an easy one!