a plate of sugar plum shortbread cookies

A Unique Sugar Plum Recipe: Sugar Plum Cookies

We’re exicted to share a unique Sugar Plum recipe – Sugar Plum Shortbread Cookies. The old-fashioned candy is a traditional holiday staple. Our friend Meg created a delicious way to incorporate this sweet candy into her modern-day holiday – Sugar Plum Shortbread Cookies. This tender buttery cookie from This Mess is Ours is laced with all the makings of traditional sugar plums folded into the batter like finely diced California Prunes, cranberries, dates, and almonds.

traditional sugar plums on a wooden board and a bowl of sugar with two sugar plums

First things first – what are sugar plums?

Sugar plums are an old-fashioned candy that’s been around for hundreds of years. Originally, a sugar plum was simply a candy coated ball of nuts and seeds. These first versions didn’t even contain plums (or prunes). They name referred simply to the fact that these candies were shaped like a plum.

Over time, the sugar plum recipe evolved to include nuts, warm spices and dried fruits. This version did include dried plums…aka prunes (and if you didn’t know that prunes are plums, you should probably read this).

a plate of shortbread sugar plum cookies from this mess is ours

What’s in our Sugar Plum Cookie recipe?

Meg took all of the elements of the traditional sugar plum candy and incorporated into a buttery shortbread holiday cookie! Here are some the ingredients that give this cookie its sugar plum vibe:







Perfect for gifting

This unique take on the traditional sugar plum recipe is perfect for holiday gifting! They’re a fabulous addition to a holiday cookie tray or a delicious hostess gift (especially if paired with a bottle of California sparkling wine).

Sugar Plum Shortbread Cookies from This Mess is Ours on a plate surrounded by prunes
a plate of sugar plum shortbread cookies

Sugar Plum Shortbread Cookies

Meg from This Mess is Ours
Sugar Plums are a traditional holiday staple. Incorporate this sweet candy into your modern-day holiday by baking a batch of Sugar Plum Shortbread Cookies. This tender buttery cookie from This Mess is Ours includes cranberries, dates, and almonds.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 24
Calories 153 kcal


  • 3 California Prunes diced fine
  • 1 date pitted, diced fine
  • 1 tsp dried cranberries minced
  • 1 tsp slivered almonds
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • 16 TBSP cold unsalted butter cubed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 2 TBSP pearl sugar

For the optional icing & decoration

  • 1 cup powdered sugar plus more if needed
  • 2-3 tsp whole milk
  • 1 TBSP finely diced raw pistachios
  • 1 TBSP finely diced dried cranberries


  • In a small bowl combine the prepared prunes, date, cranberries, almonds, and cinnamon. Stir to coat the fruit completely. Set aside.
  • Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Chill until the butter is firm, about 30 minutes.
  • Whisk together the flour and salt; add to the bowl with the butter and sugar.
  • Using the paddle attachment, mix at low speed until the dough starts to resemble a coarse meal, about 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix 2 to 3 minutes more, until the dough starts to clump together in the bowl or around the paddle.
  • Add the cinnamon-coated fruit mixture and the pearl sugar pieces to the bowl with the dough and mix on low just until everything comes together.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a cylinder, then pat it into a rectangle. Lay a large sheet of parchment paper on the work surface and dust it lightly with flour. Put the dough on top. Start rolling the dough, stopping to push together any cracks that form. To keep the dough from sticking, dust the top lightly with flour and cover with another piece of parchment paper.
  • Continue to roll the dough until it reaches a ¼-inch (6 mm) thickness, approximately a 10×13-inch (25 x 32 cm) rectangle in shape. Transfer the dough and parchment to a baking sheet. Cover with another piece of parchment and chill until firm, at least 20 minutes, preferably several hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180C). Let the dough sit at room temperature for up to 10 minutes.
  • Invert the dough onto a work surface and peel off the top sheet of parchment paper. Using a knife, pastry wheel, or cookie cutters, cut dough into desired shapes. Use up remaining scraps of dough by combining and re-rolling.
  • Arrange 12 to 16 cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Pierce each cookie with a fork multiple times. Transfer the pans to the oven, lower the temperature to 325 F (160 C)and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Rotate pans and bake until cookies feel firm to the touch and are lightly golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes more. Let the cookies cool completely on the pan.
  • Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

To decorate the cookies:

  • In a small bowl whisk the powdered sugar and milk together until completely smooth. Dip a small portion of each shortbread cookie into the icing. Allow excess to pour off. Place the cookie back on the sheet pan. Sprinkle the prepared pistachios and cranberries over the wet icing. Leave undisturbed, the icing will set within a few hours.
  • Note: It is key in any shortbread recipe to start with chilled butter, refrigerate between steps if needed, and work quickly. The heat of your hands will warm the butter when you cut it into pieces. Do not skip chilling the butter in the bowl.


Serving Suggestion: Still dreaming of Sugar Plums? Serve with a Sugar Plum Cocktail!


Calories: 153kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 255mgPotassium: 30mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 248IUVitamin C: 0.03mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cookies, Holiday, shortbread, sugar plums, this mess is ours
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Love these cookies? We’ve got more sugar plum goodness for you…

a plate of Traditional Sugar Plum Candy Recipe by KC Cornwell of G-Free Foodie

Traditional Sugar Plum Candy

Are you wondering if sugar plums are real? Our friend KC of  G-Free Foodie shared her recipe for Traditional Sugar Plum Candy.  For the record – all authentic sugar plum recipes contain prunes, or dried plums. Hence the name.

Warm Sugar Plum Cocktail from G-Free Foodie in a glass mug and garnished with citrus, prune and cinnamon

Warm Sugar Plum Cocktail

This Warm Sugar Plum Cocktail by KC of G-Free Foodie combines the fragrant blend of spices, juice, and rum — perfect for a cozy night in.

slices of Vegan Chocolate Brownies from Displaced Housewife with a bowl of peppermints

Vegan Peppermint Brownies

Obviously, these Peppermint Brownies from Displaced Housewife are the perfect holiday dessert – minty, fudgy and incredibly delicious!

two loafs of Fruitcake from this Mess is ours surrounded by bowls of dried fruit


What’s the absolute best fruitcake recipe? Our friend Meg from This Mess is Ours put in some extensive research – and this recipe for fruitcake came out on top.

Star Bread from Britney Breaks Bread Starbread on parchment paper with prune puree and powdered sugar

Soft and Buttery Prune Starbread

How gorgeous is this Prune Starbread? Our friend Britney filled buttery dough with a luscious prune butter and then twisted it into an intricate star pattern. And yes, it tastes as good as it looks.

Did you try this recipe? Maybe you’ve got a favorite recipe using California Prunes that you’d like to share with us? Snap a pic and share it on social using #caprunes.

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