Martha Washington candies are sweet little coconut-filled Southern Christmas traditions that are versatile and fun to eat!
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A.K.A. Christmas Candies.
A.K.A. Coconut Bonbons.
A.K.A. Michelle Obama Bonbons, as voted on Instagram.
These are southern Christmas traditions, y’all. When I lived in Virginia Beach, I went to a Christian private school that would go all out for Christmas. And when the month of December rolled around, out came these sweet, chocolate coated, coconut candies that everyone would be on their best behavior to receive in class or during lunch. Those were the days. And each one would have different bits inside, my favorite being cherries mixed in.
The authentic version of Martha Washington candies don’t involve maraschino cherries, and include using paraffin wax in the coating.
Well, I like maraschino cherries, that’s what was always in our candy in school, and I am not looking in the craft stores for some edible paraffin wax. I used chocolate almond bark candy melts that I found at Aldi for $2 and change and they worked perfectly and were super easy to work with.
These Michelle Obama / Martha Washington candies are so sweet and rich with a ton of coconut and powdered sugar. This recipe will take up a whole bag of powdered sugar, so make sure the kiddos don’t steal two handfuls and bounce off the walls like mine and his little friend did.
You could exchange the classic pecans for almonds (for an almond joy type of mix) put in those holiday green and red cherries for a more festive feel, or switch up the coating and decorate it (like I did!) to make these appropriate for any occasion like game day, parties, etc.
Have the kids cover them in sprinkles for a fun little Christmas craft, along with sugar cookies to decorate, or dress them up with a contrasting chocolate drizzle on top. I love how versatile these candies are.
Looking for more Christmas cheer? Check out:
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- 2 lbs confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 (14 oz) bag sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 (8 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
- 3 cups pecans or preferred nuts, chopped
- 1-1 1/2 cup chocolate almond bark melting candy, melted
- Sprinkles, optional
- With a rubber spatula, mix butter, coconut flakes, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and cherries together in a large bowl. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and stir until well incorporated.
- Add cherries and nuts, mix well.
- Place in fridge for at least 2 hours to overnight.
- Roll into 1 inch balls using a spoon or small cookie scoop.
- Melt chocolate melting bark according to package directions. Dip candy into melted chocolate mixture, one piece at a time, with a tooth pick.
- Sit on wax paper on a large plate to set. Decorate with sprinkles before the chocolate completely sets.
- Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 90
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.