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Martha Washington Candies

It’s a very retro holiday candy treat!

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The holiday season usually means baking, but I like to give my oven a little break and whip up one of my favorite holiday no-bake recipes, and these chocolate dipped sweetened coconut-pecan-cherry treats are a great no-bake option. They’re called Martha Washington’s candies, and they’re a delightful holiday treat for the coconut lovers in your social circle.

There’s definitely some sugar in this recipe: sweetened condensed milk, sweetened shredded coconut, chopped maraschino cherries, powdered sugar, and chocolate, so it’s not for the faint of heart. But each candy is the perfect bite-sized confection, so I like to consider them virtually guilt-free.

Instead of my oven, it’s my refrigerator that’s doing most of the heavy-lifting to make these festive treats. Chilling becomes essential to the success of making a batch of Martha Washington candies. The filling needs to be chilled in order for the candies to maintain their shape, then they’re chilled again once dipped in candy chocolate.

If there’s one “difficulty” with this recipe, it’s in how the candies are dipped in chocolate. No special tools are really required, but patience is a must if you want to achieve the ideal candy shape. I use both a fork and a spoon to help me dip, roll, and drain the excess chocolate from each candy. Then they chill again in the refrigerator to harden that chocolate candy-coated shell.

One bite reveals the interior of each candy, filled with creamy sweet coconut, nutty pecans, and tart-sweet maraschino cherries. I particularly love that initial crack of the chocolate coating as I take that first bite into these Martha Washington candies. That combination of chocolate, coconut, pecans, and cherry are just so good! It’s the layers of flavor and texture that make these candies a festive sweet treat.

I love a good retro recipe and this recipe, in particular, goes WAY back. Martha Washington Candies are a festive holiday treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. A coconut lover will go nuts for this sweetened coconut dipped in chocolate and punctuated with bits of chopped pecans and diced maraschino cherries. It’s sweet, a little bit sticky, but super delicious, and a recipe that’s clearly stood the test of time.

Yield(s): Serves 10-12

15 minutes active, 30+ minutes inactive

Rated 4.5 out of 5
Rated by 132 reviewers
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  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (14 oz) package sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (10 oz) jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
  • 3 cups pecans, finely chopped
  • (16 oz) chocolate coating
  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, coconut, condensed milk, and pecans. Fold in chopped cherries. Refrigerate mixture for at least two hours.
  3. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out and roll into balls. Place onto prepared baking sheet. Chill until firm, about 20 minutes.
  4. Once firm, add chocolate coating to a microwave-safe bowl and melt according to package instructions. Dip balls in melted chocolate, shaking off excess. Place back on wax paper and allow to sit until firm. Enjoy!

From Key Ingredient.