What are sugar plums?
They are, also referred to as Christmas candies and confections, were originally made of a whole walnut, almond or pecan encased in a clump of sugar. They were sometimes shaped into fruits and nuts inspired by popular Christmas characters such as elves and Santas, making them great for holiday parties.
These days, they come in a variety of different flavors and shapes, but they maintain their alluring appearance with the hard exterior shell and soft interior filling that make for a delightful surprise when you bite into one. They are great for holiday gatherings because they're small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, making them perfect for sharing!
They resemble the more widely known and closely related Christmas candy, peppermint patties; however, they do not contain any mint or menthol flavors. Sugar plum candies typically come with a strong licorice flavor, as well as a sour tang from the addition of salt.
Their strong flavor is due to the addition of ammonium chloride-a common chemical found in traditional salted licorice. They are also commonly colored with coal tar dyes, though some manufacturers have switched to natural coloring agents.
They are an essential part of Lithuanian Christmas tradition. They are often given as a traditional Christmas Eve treat to family and friends. Lithuanians will sometimes serve the candies along with coffee at gatherings during Christmastime, and they will also place them in shoes (outside, of course!) before Santa Claus comes on December 24th to make sure there is a treat for his reindeer.
People who dislike the flavor of licorice (and its chemical additive) and other strong flavors may find sugar plums to be unpalatable. On rare occasions, people with an acute sensitivity to ammonium chloride have been known to experience throat swelling after eating them.
Ammonium chloride is commonly used in many modern, mass-produced versions of the plums. Ammonium chloride is also used in the production of fireworks and matches, and can cause serious health
problems in very high doses. It is recommended that children under the age of six avoid consuming ammonium chloride candies due to these concerns.
What are sugar plums made of?
They are made from a variety of ingredients, depending upon their flavor. Fruit-flavored plums feature jam and fruit preserves in the center. They're typically rolled in granulated or powdered sugar to add an extra element of sweetness and texture before serving.
Liquor-infused sugar plums are made with rum, brandy or another alcoholic beverage in the center. They're usually rolled in granulated or powdered sugar before serving, like fruit-flavored varieties. The nut-flavored one typically feature nuts encased in a hard sugary shell and may be rolled in finely chopped nuts prior to serving for an extra crunchy texture.
Types of sugar plums
For those who love sharing at parties, fruit-flavored the products make great treats. You can find jam- or jelly-filled sugar plum varieties in most grocery stores during the holiday season, as well as liquor-infused varieties with a stronger alcoholic taste. If you're hosting a party or just want to try something new, consider giving fruit- and the nut-flavored one a shot - they're sure to be a hit with your guests!
How to make sugar plums?
They were a sweet fruit found in Europe during medieval times. They were thought to have medicinal properties and could help cure many illnesses, especially the common cold . They were originally created by accident when an Italian candy maker was trying to make hard candy and accidentally added the sugar plum tree's sap to his mixture.
However, after many revisions of the recipe, They were eventually made by mixing fruit juices and honey with a sprinkle of sugar; then they would be left to dry in the sun for five days. The resulting product was sweet and chewy and could be made into many different flavors, including honeycomb, gardenia, orange blossom, mint leaf and moonlight.
You will need:
Candy canes or a mixture of cinnamon and sugar for coating the outside.
A medium to large bowl.
A few bowls that are sufficiently sized for your mixture plus an extra small one if your candy canes have been flattened into flakes by the grater.
Optionally, you may also need a pan or a saucepan and a spoon.
Separate your candy canes or cinnamon and sugar mixture into three different bowls. The first bowl should be for the mixture that will provide the filling of the sugar plum. The second, third, and fourth bowls should be for each individual layer of your sugar plum texture. For example, if you wanted a fluffy texture, you would add whipped cream to the second bowl and if you wanted a crunchy texture, you would add chopped nuts to the third bowl. If your mixture is too dry or too wet, then adjust accordingly by adding more of whatever ingredient that needs it.
You will need to mix thoroughly all three mixtures together until they form a uniform texture. If you find that your mixture is still too dry, add some milk or water slowly while mixing it. If the mixture is too wet, add more sugar gradually until it becomes thicker and forms a dough-like material.
Melt about 1/4 cup of chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. If your mixture is still too dry or wet then adjust accordingly by adding more of whatever ingredient that needs it.
Place the chocolate chips in a bowl and roll each candy cane in it until it is coated once. Place each one on its side on wax paper until the chocolate hardens.
Roll out your dough on a cutting board until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the rolled dough into circles big enough to wrap around each candy cane.
Place one candy cane in the middle of a circle and fold up and around so that they meet in the back and pinch the seam closed. Repeat this process with each candy cane to form the "sugar plum."