In all honesty, we had no idea what sugar plums were until after watching Alton Brown's Good Eats Christmas special the other night. We'd heard of sugar plums in lore -- psychedelically dancing in the heads of children in the "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," and in fairy form in Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker -- but we didn't know that the old timey Christmas treat was, in fact, just a dragée of dried fruits, spices, honey and sugar rolled into a ball. (They're sweet, decorative, and keep you regular. Genius.)

Try them yourself. Brown's recipe is as follows:

Sugar Plums
6 oz toasted slivered almonds
4 oz dried plums
4 oz apricots and figs
1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 honey
pinch of salt
1 cup course sugar

In a food processor chop the almonds, dried plums, apricots and figs. Toast the anise seeds, fennel seeds and caraway seeds. Add the toasted seeds, cardamom, confectioners sugar, salt, honey in a bowl and mix together.

Form into 1/4 ounce balls. Dry the balls for a few hours or overnight, covered with a towel. After drying, roll the balls in our hand to warm and coat in course sugar.