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how to make sugar plums
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4.88 from 8 votes

Traditional Sugar Plums Recipe

Here’s a recipe to make traditional sugar plum candies with dried fruit, toasted nuts, warm spices and crunchy sugar.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: candy recipes, gluten-free candy recipes, holiday recipes
Servings: 14 pieces
Calories: 87kcal
Author: K.C. Cornwell


  • food processor


  • ½ cup California Prunes about 3.25 oz
  • ½ cup walnuts toasted & coarsely chopped (about 2 oz)
  • ¼ cup dates pitted & chopped (just over 1 oz, about 5) or dried figs
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries about 1.25 oz
  • ¼ cup hazelnut meal or almond meal* toasted (or hazelnut or almond flour) (see note to use whole nuts)
  • 2 Tablespoons apricot preserves or honey
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground cardamom
  • teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • ½ cup sugar I use coarse sugar for crunch


To toast the walnuts and hazelnut or almond meal:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • Spread the nuts out in a single layer on one side of a sheet pan, and pour the nut meal in a pile on the other side, and flatten with you hand or a spatula so it's an even layer, about ¼ inch thick. Place the sheet pan in the oven for 8 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.

To make the Sugarplums:

  • Put the chopped prunes, walnuts, dates and cranberries in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are chopped into small, even pieces. Stop before the mixture becomes a ball.
  • Add the toasted nut meal, apricot preserves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and salt. Pulse several times (you may need to stop to scrape down the sides) until the ingredients are fully combined and the mixture will hold itself together when rolled into a ball. (You should still see some texture from the fruit & nuts.)
  • Line a tray or container with wax or parchment paper. Scoop the mixture into heaping 1 tablespoon portions and roll into 1 inch balls, and place on the paper.
    sugar plum candy without coating
  • Roll the sugarplums in the sugar just before serving.
    rolling sugar plums in sugar


You can store the sugarplums before they are rolled in sugar. Store at room temperature in a covered container (but not airtight/sealed) for up to 1 week. Or, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Allow the sugarplums to come to room temperature before coating in sugar.
*If you'd like to use whole almonds or hazelnuts instead of flour/meal, use the same toasting and chopping method as the walnuts.


Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg