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!

Lemon Poppy Seed Dutch Baby

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“It’s experiences and laughs that matter most, not the most perfectly executed food, so relax a little, embrace the imperfect…”

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When I read these words in the introduction of “Food with Friends” – the art of simple gatherings, I knew I had a new friend of sorts, author Leela Cyd.

Thanks to Blogging for Books, I was gifted this book, of my choosing, for review. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I initially was attracted to the book because of its title. Food with my friends is my favorite kind of food, after all. And with family, too, of course.

And it’s embarrassing to admit how often I use the word “party.” A daughter comes to town – we have a party. A girlfriend comes over – another party. Another couple come over – PARTY!!! I concur that food is about experiences and especially laughter. I only hang out with people who laugh.

The introduction in “Food with Friends” is quite impressive. Leela has traveled the world, living abroad for months at a time, and her passion for international cuisines are reflected in this collection of recipes.

Her love of cooking and sharing her food with friends is obvious in the inspirational photos. She claims that “The best gatherings are simple, yet somehow special.” I couldn’t agree more!

I’ve already bookmarked many recipes in this beautiful and fun cookbook. The recipe I chose to make from it is her Lemon-Poppy-Seed Dutch Baby.

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Lemon-Poppy-Seed Dutch Baby
serves 4

Dutch Baby
3 large eggs
2/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup almond meal
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Topping
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Lemon wedges, for squeezing

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put a 10-inch pie pan (glass or metal) or cast-iron skillet on a baking sheet onto the middle rack of the oven.

In a blender, combine the eggs, milk, flour, almond meal, nutmeg, salt, poppy seeds, and vanilla. Whizz on high speed for about 30 seconds, until everything is combined in a runny batter. (It will be looser than traditional American pancake batter, more similar to crepe batter.)

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Remove the heated pie pan or skillet from the oven and add the butter, swirling a little, until it has melted completely and the sides and bottom are completely coated.
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Pour in the batter and return the pan to the oven.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the pancake is puffed and golden brown.

Dust with sifted powdered sugar, then top with lemon zest and 1 teaspoon poppyseeds.

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Invite each guest to squeeze lemon juice onto their slices.

Note: I personally don’t understand squeezing lemon juice on a Dutch baby because that would make it “wet.” I chose to include the lemon zest in the batter.

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Another note: Even without any sugar added, this Dutch Baby is sweet and light. You can eat it with a fork or just grab a slice and chomp away!

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”