Sugar Plums

A message from Sarah Savage generated several variations on Sugar Plums. One of my favorites came from a conversation with Mary Jane Burn. Says Mary Jane, "I saw that message and I knew the answer immediately. Everyone knows what sugar plums are. Sugar plums are raisins. My mother gave me raisins and said they were sugar plums. Then people sent in their descriptions ... that's one on me."

Here is Sarah's message:

Just ran across your site and it took me back to the days of yesteryear when i used to visit my aunt in ocean city. she always made sugar plums for us kids. it is/was the only place in my life that i have ever had them.. are they a local delicacy?? does anyone from back there have a recipe? i really really would appreciate a recipe. i know my grandkids and great grandkids will fall in love with them as much as i did. thank you for your time. Sarah

And some of the responses:

From J.D. Brittingham
The very mention of these & I was off looking through my cookbooks. Didn't find it in those - not even in "The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas" - but on the Internet. Two sites with basically the same recipe:
I had the idea that they were actually dried plums (prunes) filled with a sweet & spicy nut mixture. 
The time of year to serve them - Christmas. From "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" ('Twas the Night Before Christmas) by Clement Clarke Moore (or Maj. Henry Livingston, Jr., 
as now thought): "The children were nestled all snug in their bed, While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads."
When we have grandchildren, perhaps I'll make some.
Bon appetit!
J. D.

From Socorrito Baez-Page
We have made them for years and years...and before me.
We always used whatever dried fruit was available, and splashed the mix with rum if it was too dry to stick properly.
after all, they were traditionally made when there was no fresh fruit available due to the cold weather. It was a treat, and a good way to get essential nutrients into a meager diet. the rum? an alternative to whiskey when the family moved from celtic areas where it was made to the caribbean where rum was king.
The tradition of making them stuck, although the need to have dried fruit was not there.
If this is too far off topic, i apologize. always felt that tracing food habits could tell you a lot about where our ancestors came from and where they went. 

From Barbara Templeton
Sugar Plums have been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember. They are made at Christmas, and will keep very well in the refrigerator to enjoy throughout the holiday season.
The recipe was changed slightly by my aunt during the 1940's, when original ingredients were not available. I do not have a copy of the original recipe.
Sugar Plums
2 small or 1 large package of dates, cut into small pieces.
1 3 1/2 oz. can of angel flake coconut OR 4 oz of grated fresh coconut
2 cups chopped pecans
1 15 oz. can condensed milk
powdered sugar, sifted
Mix well. Put in oven for 20 min at 200 degrees. Mash together while warm. Allow mixture to cool. Roll rounded teaspoons in palms to make balls. Roll in sifted powdered sugar and store in refrigerator.

Barbara Templeton


Do a web search for "sugar plums" and you get a bunch of info.
The sugar plum is like a gigantic purple grape.It has a non-bitter skin.Sold
in California at Mount Lassen Farms..Season -last 2 weeks in July and first
2 weeks in August.

Mary Ann says sugar plum cookies made from dried fruit and "fondant"
-what ever fondant is !!


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