~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gluten-Free Snacks... Sugar Plums and Mustachudos

Gluten-Free Snacks... Sugar Plums and Mustachudos I thought it would be nice to share some healthier snacks that are great to have around the house ...especially when you are craving something sweet and don't want to settle for cake, cookies or the like. I usually always have some dried unsweetened fruit or nuts in the pantry or freezer. I find they are the perfect snack that fills you up...and I don't feel bad when eating them. I most always settle for making the homemade LaraBars. But recently I tried a new fruit and nut variation called, Sugar Plums. Sugar plums are mainly a mixture of dried fruits and nuts that's "seasoned" with various spices and then rolled in powdered sugar. The sugar plums are made usually around Christmastime, but I figure there's absolutely no reason why they can't be made throughout the year:). The spices can take a bit getting used to...especially if you aren't used to using them regularly. There are quite a few versions out there on how to make sugar plums. I rather like Saveur's version as it has more common spices/flavors... such as cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, etc. While the sugar plums are generally rolled in powdered sugar, I chose to skip the sugar and rolled them in un-sweeteened shredded coconut...I am wondering if they would still be called "sugar" plums...maybe I'll just call them fruit and nut balls:). But I liked them...a lot. So I thought maybe some of you might care to try it...and like them as just as well:).
I am also posting a recipe for mustachudos that comes from LindenTea. I've been making quite a few recipes of Megi's lately...well, ever since I've come across her blog. She has some really neat healthy recipes...many that are new to me. I've learned so much from her and I simply love going by her site....just to see what she's baking or cooking... or to try one of her recipes. When I saw the mustachudos some time ago, I knew instantly that I would make them.
These snacks are gluten-free... so it's nice to be able to vary a cookie platter with a few other alternatives. Hope you enjoy....

Tip: Feel free to omit any of the spices in the sugar plums... or add some other spices you like.
For the mustachudos, I am sure you can vary the walnuts with a mixture of other nuts...though I wouldn't know if they would still be called mustachudos:).

Sugar Plums.... adapted from Saveur

You will need:
2 cups whole almonds
1⁄4 cup honey
2 tsp. grated orange zest
1/4 tsp ground cardamom, optional( I added)
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
confectioners' sugar or unsweetened shredded coconut


1. Preheat oven to 400° and toast almonds on a baking sheet... in a single layer. Bake for about 10 minutes....do watch them as every oven is different. Cool and then finely chop.

2. In a bowl, combine honey, cardamom, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Add almonds, apricots, and dates and mix well.

3. Form balls( about a teaspoon-size) from the mixture. You will probably need to rinse your hands often. The mixture is sticky.

4. Roll balls in dried coconut... or powdered sugar, if you prefer.

5. Refrigerate in single layers between sheets of parchment paper using airtight containers.

~They should last up to 1 month. Their flavor improves after several days.

Mustachudos adapted from LindenTea

You will need:
250 grams(2 cups) shelled walnuts
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon*
orange zest from one orange
3-4 TBS orange juice
powdered sugar
* feel free to add as little or as much cinnamon as you like. I like cinnamon, so I added 1 tsp.

1. Add some powdered sugar to a plate and set aside.

2. Place walnuts and sugar in a food processor bowl... pulse until the walnuts are finely ground.

3. Add the orange zest, orange juice, and cinnamon. Pulse until you feel the mixture will hold its shape.
4. Scoop out about 1 TBS size( or walnut size) of the mixture... you could use a cookie scoop to make it easier and place the scooped mixture on the reserved plate with the powdered sugar.

5. Roll the scooped out mixture in the sugar to coat it and then gently form it into a smooth ball....you might need to powder your hands a bit with some of the sugar.

6. Place the ball in the powdered sugar again and either roll it again in extra sugar or shake the dish to coat the walnut balls.

7. Repeat with the rest. Leave the mustachudos uncovered on the counter for a few hours. Every so often, shake to make sure each ball is evenly coated with the sugar.

8. Place in container, cover, and and store in the fridge.


megi said...

Ellie, the sugar plums sound fantastic with all the spices, dried fruits and nuts. I am a big fan of the sweet spices and can't wait to try this recipe, in fact, I might try it tomorrow. :) I love that you rolled the sugar plums in unsweetened shredded coconut, they look so pretty! How long do you think I can keep them in an air tight container in the fridge? Not that they would last very long, the Larabars disappear really quickly around here. :)

Ellie said...

Megi, I am thinking you will like the sugar plums. Since I rolled mine in coconut, I had to sort of press the coconut into the balls so that it would adhere better. But I really like them with the coconut.
They last really well in the fridge...a month or so. Maybe even a bit longer...I am sure you can probably freeze them as well. I've kept them in the fridge for several weeks and they are just as delicious.

Mihaela said...

Nice combinations with these dried fruits and nuts. When I saw the whites mini balls I thought that they goes well for a snack at a wedding ceremony.....

Speranta said...

Ellie, m-am bucurat sa vad o reteta care im place. :)

Ellie said...

Mihaela, Thank you ... they are a wonderful little snack...and quite healthy:). Thanks for stopping by....sweet of you to take the time to comment.

Speranta, O reteta care cred ca o sa iti placa...multumesc pentru vizita:)!