A quintessential element of Christmas is, of course, Clement Moore’s poem, “A Visit From Saint Nicholas,” better known as, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a beloved seasonal story written on a snowy night before Christmas in 1823.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
“The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads…”
Indeed, I’ve been known to dream of sugar plums every November as I begin making lists and baking for Christmas. But what, exactly, are sugar plums? And… do they even exist?
Apparently… they do. But they aren’t sugar-coated plums. Which makes me smile — and turn up my Christmas music while sipping hot mocha.
Here is what they are…
“According to candy historians and the Oxford English Dictionary, a sugar plum is a comfit—that is, a seed, nut, or scrap of spice coated with a layer of hard sugar, like the crunchy outer case of an M&M. In the 17th century, popular innards for comfits included caraway, fennel, coriander, and cardamom seeds, almonds, walnuts, ginger, cinnamon, and aniseed. Tiny comfits—“hundreds and thousands,” “shot comfits,” or nonpareils”—were made by sugar-coating minuscule celery seeds; “long comfits” were sugar-coated strips of cinnamon bark or citrus peel.” (National Geographic)
A comfit? Sugared nuts and seeds, the oldest known sugar candies. Candied Almonds were among the first recorded.
Are you in the mood yet? I am!
Gift-Worthy Christmas Candy to Make Ahead
Mississippi Mud Medallions
“Try substituting mini marshmallows for espresso beans.”
Peppermint Pretzel Candies
“For delicious candy that comes together in a snap, combine pretzels, peppermint, and white chocolate in your slow cooker. This crunchy Christmas candy makes a sweet holiday gift idea. Tip: Be sure to use the low-heat setting when cooking chocolate in a slow cooker, and watch carefully to avoid scorching.”
White Chocolate Raspberry Truffles
“With just 5 ingredients, make the most amazing melt-in-your-mouth White Chocolate Raspberry Truffles to delight in this holiday season.”
Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy
“The hardest part about making Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy is waiting for the chocolate to firm up before devouring it.”
No Bake White Chocolate and Almond Butter Balls
“Break open the bright white exterior of this Chrismas candy to reveal a delicious blend of crisp, crunchy rice cereal and creamy almond butter. Drizzle melted white chocolate over the treats for a gourmet presentation.”
Easy Peppermint Bark
“An unbelievably easy, no-fuss, Christmas peppermint bark recipe.”
Crispy Peanut Butter Toffee Truffles
“These Crispy Peanut Butter Toffee Truffles are light, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter toffee truffles coated in rich milk chocolate and topped with crushed toffee bits.”
“Try a nutty twist on buttery brittle by trading cashews for peanuts. The classic Christmas candy takes just 15 minutes of prep and can be stored for up to a week.” It also freezes well!
“Traditional nougat takes on the fresh flavors of lemon and pistachios in this soft and chewy candy recipe. Whipped egg whites help to achieve the nougat’s fluffy consistency.”
Soft, Buttery Homemade Caramels
“This recipe makes a ton of caramels! I usually make them for my yearly Christmas “neighbor gifts”. The original recipe my Grandma has always used to make caramels is from an old church cookbook.”
Pecan Toffee Shortbread
“Shortbread serves as a base for this chocolaty pecan toffee. Pecan-Toffee Shortbread makes excellent food gifts, but make extra because it’ll be hard to give this sweet treat away.”
No-Bake Caramel Popcorn Drops
“We’ve reinvented your favorite salty snack mix in the form of irresistible candy clusters. Salty pretzels, mixed nuts, popcorn, and golden raisins get the sweet treatment thanks to a creamy coating of caramel.”
Velvety Pecan Candy
“Make two batches of Velvety Pecan Candy, one each of chocolate and vanilla. Then prepare to see them disappear.”
Microwave Hot Chocolate Fudge
“This Hot Chocolate Fudge Recipe brings two of your favorite winter desserts together. Hot cocoa and rich fudge topped with marshmallows! The perfect holiday party recipe.”
“No matter how you make pralines–with brown sugar or white sugar, evaporated milk or buttermilk–they are one of the paramount Southern treats.”
Mrs. Floyd’s Divinity
“Divinity is a classic candy make with granulated sugar, corn syrup, and stiffly beaten egg white. With the addition of chopped pecans, this divinity is crunchy, fluffy, and simply divine.”
Candy Bar Fudge
“Homemade fudge sandwiches thick, gooey caramel and crunchy peanuts for a delicious sweet that rivals your favorite candy bar. Our recipe yields 64 servings, making it perfect for holiday baking exchanges and large family gatherings.”
Chocolate Mint Divinity
“Ridiculously smooth and creamy, divinity is as dreamy as its name. Add a seasonal crunch to this chocolate candy with a light sprinkling of crushed peppermint hard candies.”