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Sugar plums for santa

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One of the favorite activities during the holidays is reading classic and new holiday books. "The Night Before Christmas" is a classic story that is chosen every year for a fun read-aloud. Sugar plums are featured in this familiar story. Why not substitute sugar plums for Santa this year for the traditional cookies that are left out on Christmas Eve? This recipe fro sugar plums is kid-friendly and requires no cooking. Children will enjoy preparing this special treat for Santa to have on Christmas Eve when he delivers gifts.

Ingredients:

*1/2 cup dried apricots

*1/4 cup dried figs or dates

*1/4 cup golden raisins

*1/4 cup flaked coconut

3 tablespoons orange juice

*1/4 teaspoon almond extract

*1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions: In a food processor, finely chop apricots, figs or dates, raisins, and coconut. add orange juice and almond flavoring. Stir well until blended. Roll into 36 balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Roll each ball in granulated sugar. layer in an airtight container, placing wax paper between each layer. Store in refrigerator until ready to eat, well chilled.

Teachers and childcare providers might want to prepare this classroom-friendly recipe after reading "The Night Before Christmas". Many teachers combine cooking activities with reading a favorite book. The teachers at The Cottages at Michaels Learning Center in Sarasota often combine favorite books with a cooking activity. Storybook Cooks is included in their curriculum. Teachers read a favorite book during storytime, and children prepare a classroom-friendly recipe to extend the interest in the book.

Give Santa a treat this year with these sugar plums. The sugar plums might become a treat of choice and a tradition to add to the celebration each year.

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