Sugar plums are widely associated with the holidays thanks to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, and the small, round dragée candies use some of the best spices and flavors of the season. Despite the sweetness their name implies, sugar plums are delicious little treats with tangy dried fruits and mellow toasted nuts. Because they are rolled in glittering sugar, sugar plums are also beautiful bejeweled confections to serve at the holidays.
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried figs, stems removed and chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of cloves
Pinch of allspice
Pinch of cardamom
2 teaspoons brandy (optional)
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons honey
Coarse sugar for decorating
Place the almonds, figs, apricots and crystallized ginger in the work bowl of a food processor and chop to a fine consistency on the pulse function.
Add the remaining ingredients and continue to pulse until well mixed but still crumbly; do not puree or make a paste of the ingredients.
Transfer the mixture to a sheet of wax paper. Using a spatula, gently smooth the mixture into a rectangle and cut it into 18 even pieces.
Spread a thin layer of coarse decorating sugar on a plate. Lightly coat your hands with powdered sugar and roll each piece into a ball. Roll the balls in the decorating sugar to coat and place in small paper baking cups or in a single layer on a serving plate.
We used dried Mission figlets and had good results. Feel free to adjust the spices to your liking, and you can omit the brandy for a non-alcoholic version.