Pop quiz time! Which of the following statements is true about sugar plums:
A: They are made with plums.
B: They are made with sugar.
C: All of the above.
D: None of the above.
If you guessed “none of the above” you are right, my friends. Sugar plums are neither plum nor sugar (okay, they are a small amount of honey and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, but no granulated sugar). Sugar plums are actually, kinda, totally healthy as far as holiday confections go. They are like LÄRABARS but without the fancy packaging and wide distribution.
If you are anything like me, your total sugar plum experience amounts to the Nutcracker and the oh so famous line in Twas the Night Before Christmas, but sugar plums are much more than just fodder for Christmas stories. Sugar plums are very real, very delicious holiday candies that are easy-as-can-be to make.
If these little balls of spiced deliciousness are plum-free, you are probably curious as to how they got their name. Apparently, at one time in the history of the English language, plum was used to mean any kind of dried fruit. And since this particular candy dates back to the 1660s, the name reflects its historical origins. Of course, you could use modern-day prunes (dried plums) in the recipe if you are a stickler for cohesiveness, but my recipe uses dried apricots and dates.
Want another dose of etymological fun? Apparently sugar plum was used as a slang in 18th century England to mean anything good or pleasurable. If you were told you had a “mouthful of sugar plums” you were someone who said sweet things. Soon after that, plum came to mean anything good in life. A ton of money, a good job, happy family, etc. It’s unclear if the poet that wrote “…while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads” in Twas the Night Before Christmas meant that the kids were literally thinking about the candy or figuratively thinking about all the good things in their life.
Fascinating. The things you learn while