While candy isn’t necessarily difficult to make, many recipes are time consuming, so allow plenty of time.
For the candies that are dipped in a flavored coating, such as melted chocolate or peanut butter chips, do not omit the shortening. The shortening is what makes the coating set and harden on the candy. Also, don’t use butter in place of shortening, or it will be oily. When my mom first started making candy, all the recipes called for paraffin wax, which is no longer recommended, so now she uses vegetable shortening, with great results, even though it’s not the healthiest choice.
If you’d rather not use shortening, an online search suggests substituting melted almond bark or candy melts for the baking chips and shortening. Feel free to research it further for additional options and suggestions, as well as comments and results from those who have used these substitutions.
Cherry Mash Candies
These pink-centered candies are rich and flavorful. Yields about 20 candies.
• 1 package (7-1/2 ounces) white frosting mix, such as Jiffy
• 1 pound confectioners’ sugar, or more
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
• 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
• 2 to 3 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
• 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
• 1 package (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips
• 2 tablespoons shortening
• 1-1/2 cups finely chopped dry roasted salted peanuts
1. In a large bowl, combine dry frosting mix, confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla, butter flavoring, cherries and juice, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. The mixture should be thick. If it isn’t, add a little additional confectioner’s sugar until it is. You want the mixture to hold together well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Remove mixture from refrigerator, and roll into bite-size balls. Place balls on cookie sheets lined with waxed paper. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
3. Melt chocolate chips and shortening in the top of a double boiler, set over gently boiling water, until melted and smooth. Stir in peanuts.
4. Dip chilled balls in melted chocolate, and place back on cookie sheets. Once all the balls have been dipped, use a teaspoon to drizzle the remaining chocolate mixture over the balls, letting it run down the sides. Let stand at room temperature until coating is set, and then refrigerate overnight.
5. Store at room temperature in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
Make sure to stock up on holiday goodies this year! See Easy Christmas Candy Recipes and Holiday Cookie Recipes for more ideas.