The internet is of the Devil--part two
Okay, I'm back. Betty says I ought to watch out for that Wolfgang Zailskas, the man who read this blog thing and sent me an email from a foreign country. She's feels just like me when it comes to the men. We've lived a while, and we've both got two simple words of warning, for young and old alike, when it comes to the men: Watch Out. Especially if you get a strange one from a foreign country, groping at you over the internet!
Now. I believe it was yesterday--seems like a week ago!--that I promised a recipe for a Christmas sweet that I don't believe many people make these days, and that is sugar plums.
You might remember that Night Before Christmas book where it says something about children snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads. I remember being little and Ollie Pearl reading that to me, and I would wonder what in the world a sugar plum was. She said she recalled her grandmother talking about sugar plums, but couldn't remember the details of just what they were. Anyhow, I grew up thinking a sugar plum was some kind of a fairy. You'd naturally get that idea if you grow up hearing that book read and having the thought of sugar plums dancing in your head at night drilled into you.
And you'd think after all those years of baking cakes and cookies and what not, I would have thought to find out about sugar plums, but making them just wasn't what my grandkids call "on my radar" because you didn't see them in those cookie exchanges the women have this time of year, or see Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray or Paula Deen making them on TV. At least, I didn't.
So, yesterday, I found in the Hendersonville-Times News a whole article about sugar plums from somebody called J.M. Hirsch. The article started out "Sugar plums may dance in your dreams, but chances are you couldn't identify one if it hit you on the head." Well, I thought that was a clever way of putting it, and it sure hit the nail square on the head for me.
She says what you need is this: a half of cup of granulated sugar; 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom; 1/2 teaspoon of cinammon; 1/2 cup of pecans; 1/4 cup pistachios; 1 cup pitted dates; 1/2 cup dried apricots; 1/2 cup dried figs; 1/4 cup golden raisins; 1/2 cup dried cherries; and 2 tablespoons orange liqueur or rum.
In a big bowl, mix up the sugar, cardamom, and cinammon. Mix it up good and set it aside. Then rough chop the pecans in a food processor, if you use one of those. Add the pistachios and chop some more. Then set that bowl aside. Then throw into the processor the dates, the apricots, and the figs. Give them a quick chop. Then add the raisins and cherries and give everything a good chop until it gets all clumpy. Then add the nuts and the rum or liqueur. I guess then you stir that up good in it. Then roll the stuff into little balls about a teaspoon at a time, then roll it in the sugar until each one is good and coated. Now you've got sugar plums. Put them in a Tupperware in the refrigerator. You can keep them in there for a month.
Now, see, you don't even have to turn on the oven to make some.
Well, would you believe that after I found that recipe I went looking in one of my very old cookbooks and found a recipe? I must have overlooked it all those years ago. It was a little simpler, too. Went like this:
2 cups whole almonds; 1/4 cup honey; 2 tsp grated orange zest; 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon; 1/2 tsp ground allspice; 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg; 1 cup finely chopped dried apricots; 1 cup finely chopped pitted dates; 1 cup confectioners' sugar.
Preheat oven to 400. Arrange almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast in oven for ten minutes. Set aside to cool and then finely chop. Meanwhile, combine honey, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl. Add almonds, apricots, and dates and mix well. Pinch off rounded teaspoon sized pieces of the mixture and roll into balls. Roll balls in sugar and refrigerate in single layers between sheets of wax paper in airtight containers for up to one month.
I guess from those two recipes you can figure out your own way of making sugar plums. I'm that way with recipes. I'll look at one to start with, them my contrariness sets in, and I end up doing it my own way. What I end up with might not taste as good, but I get the satisfaction out of singing that Frank Sinatra song in my head: "...I did it my way..."
Bye for now. I'll check on y'all later.