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Sugarplums
These sweet, spicy confections are the perfect conclusion to a holiday meal. The dried fruits and nuts can be varied. Apples, pears and pecans are excellent alternatives.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried figs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts
  • 2 Tbs. brandy
  • 1 Tbs. apricot preserves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Directions:

Line a small baking sheet with waxed paper. In a food processor, combine the dates, walnuts, apricots, figs, pistachios, brandy, apricot preserves, cinnamon and cloves. Pulse until the mixture begins to clump together.

Put the sugar in a small, shallow bowl. Using a teaspoon, scoop up a rounded spoonful of the mixture, press together, and roll between your palms into a compact ball. Roll the round in the sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fruit-and-nut mixture and sugar.

Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 18 confections.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, After Dinner, by Kristine Kidd (Time-Life Books, 1998).