Since I'm a dancer, let's get started with some Sugar Plum cookies. If you are familiar with The Nutcracker, it is a truly beautiful and magical traditional ballet that features the Sugar Plum Fairy. I got to learn the en pointe (toe shoes!) variation one time and it's always been a favorite. However, until this week I never actually knew what a sugar plum really was.
Since, I've been home during the day I've been able to catch up on episodes of ABC's The Chew. This is a show that "celebrates and explores life through food." It has a great group of co-hosts and some wonderful recipes as well. If you aren't home during the day you can watch episodes on their website and get all the recipes from the show.
They made sugar plums the other day and knew I had to try to make them! They are messy to make (so if you wear rings take them off!) but I kinda enjoy that part of baking. I guess this isn't really baking because all you do is toast the almonds in the oven but more baked cookies will come later! These are healthy holiday sweets, kinda! You do use powdered sugar but you also use fruit and honey as a natural sweetener. The citrus zest and cinnamon smell delicious as you are making them. The final product reminded me sort of some fruit & nut bars I've tried. However, the taste really reminded me of panaforte, an Italian fruit & nut dessert which my husband and I love. These are kind of like fruitcake balls....but Sugar Plums sound much more magical and dancer like!!
- 2 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup dried apricots (finely chopped)
- 1 cup dried figs (finely chopped)
- powdered sugar (for rolling)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put almonds on baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes. Once cooled finely chop almonds.
(I used a food processor)
2. In a mixing bowl combine honey, orange zest, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Add chopped nuts, apricots and figs and stir until everything is well combined.
3. With a spoon begin making balls out of the mixture (should be golf ball sized). Roll each ball in powdered sugar and then place in an airtight container lined with wax paper. These can be served immediately or stored in the refrigerator until needed.
(*slightly adapted from The Chew)
If you came to visit my kitchen, you would find a lot of gadgets by OXO. Their products are functional, easy to use, and well made. Right now, they have this adorable limited edition "be a good cookie" silicone spatula created to increase awareness for the charity, Cookies for Kids' Cancer. In 2007, Cookies for Kids' Cancer was founded by two OXOnians (OXO employees!) whose son was diagnosed with pediatric cancer. Through this cause, they wanted to help raise money for pediatric cancer research though local bake sales. Over the past four years, they have raised over $2.5 million dollars, pretty remarkable!
This spatula would make a great stocking stuffer if you need any last minute gifts! When you buy this limited edition spatula, 50% of the profits go to benefit Cookies for Kids' Cancer.
You can purchase the spatula at Bed Bath & Beyond or Amazon. Please check out www.oxogoodcookies.com where you can find even more ways to help this great cause. If you can host a registered bake sale or fundraising event, OXO will match all proceeds up to $100,000 from the sales until December 31st. You can also send fun virtual cookies to help spread the word to your friends and family.
My holiday gift to you: TWO readers will each win one "Good Cookie" Spatula!!
To enter: Leave a comment below answering this question-
What is your favorite holiday cookie?
For extra entries you can do the following:
1. Follow me on Twitter: @dancerkitchen
Leave a seperate comment for each entry. If you already follow me on any of the above just leave a comment saying you do! You can get up to 4 total entries! The giveaway will end December 26, 2011 at midnight. (US residents only)
*As part of the OXO Blogger Outreach Program I received free products from OXO.