Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Fun Holiday Fact #1

From the "did you know" files...

What is a sugarplum?

Whether you know them from children's dreams in the poem, "A Visit From St. Nicholas" or from the exotic lands governed by the Sugar Plum Fairy in the ballet, "The Nutcracker", you may have wondered, just what are these magical delicacies?

Well, a few years back my curiosity overcame me, so I did a little research. It turns out that a sugarplum is simply a candy made from boiled sugar, however, it can also refer to a small piece of sugar-coated candied fruit, or more generally, any kind of candy or sweet.

The fact that they were such delicacies that even relatively well-off children dreamed of them as a special Christmas treat says a lot about how rare they were, and how we've learned to take such indulgences for granted.

My favourite version involves fruitcake and marzipan and can be found on my nutcracker theme page here: http://greensim.com/lemonade/nutcracker.html#sugarplum It is very sweet, but fun to make and decorate.

An alternative version is to make fruit shapes from marzipan (almond paste) and paint with food colouring or dust with coloured sugar.

If you would like to make either of these but are concerned about potential nut allergies, you can use candy clay instead: http://greensim.com/lemonade/foodrecipes.html#labele

If you would like to try candy making experiments,(making candy from boiled sugar) see this page for a temperature guide.