Martha Washington Candy (2 Ways)

November 27, 2019
Martha Washington Candy is an old-fashioned favorite for the holidays -- and it's easy to see why.  Loaded with creamy sweetened coconut-pecan centers coated in chocolate, this classic confection is a purely decadent delight.  Enjoy it in its traditional coconut-pecan flavor, or add in chopped maraschino cherries.  Either way, there's just one word to describe it -- delicious!
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Martha Washington Candy Image

I'm a total sucker for coconut candy, in any form.  If it's got creamy coconut involved, I'm all about it.  And if that creamy coconut happens to be dipped or coated in chocolate? -- Well, that's even better.

Which is why I absolutely adore this old-fashioned Martha Washington Candy.  With its creamy sweetened coconut-pecan centers coated in chocolate, this classic confection is a purely decadent delight.  

Martha Washington Candy is just perfect for enjoying at the holidays, when we're up for indulging in festively delicious sweet treats.  And it makes for great gifts-from-the-kitchen, too.  Just package up a dozen or so of these treats with a fun ribbon, and you've got one tasty little gift.


Loaded with creamy sweetened coconut-pecan centers coated in chocolate, this classic confection is a purely decadent delight.

From what I've read, it's not completely clear where these candies, also known as coconut bon bons, originated.  But it's generally accepted that despite their name, Martha Washington herself had nothing to do with their creation.

It's believed the old-timey Martha Washington Candy recipe originated around 1892, when Elie Sheetz began trying his hand as a candy maker working out of his home.  His endeavors later led to his creation of the Martha Washington Candies Company, a name he trademarked in 1906.  In 1906, he also opened his first candy store -- which grew into a chain of stores by the 1920s. 

At the companies peak, there were more than 200 Martha Washington stores throughout the US and 15 factories producing its candies and ice cream.  However, the Great Depression brought about the company's close.

And I, for one, sure do enjoy the legacy Elie Sheetz left behind with this recipe.

Inside of Coconut and Cherry Martha Washington Candy Image

When it comes to making this Martha Washington Candy recipe, you can go two routes with the flavors:

1.  Coconut-Pecan, or
2. Coconut, Pecan, and Cherry

I am truly hard-pressed to say which I like better, as both flavors are divine.  If you can't decide which way to make it, you could always split the filling mixture in two and add cherries to half the dough.

That way, you'd be getting the best of both Martha Washington Candy worlds!

Martha Washington Candy Ingredients Image

To whip up a batch, cream together a mixture of softened butter, confectioners' sugar, and sweetened condensed milk.  Then mix in coconut and finely chopped pecans.  

Be sure the pecans are chopped up pretty finely so you don't get large chunks to bite into in the middle of the finished candies.

Then, roll the coconut mixture into small balls.

How to Make Martha Washington Candy Image

If you're making the Martha Washington Candy cherry version, add in well-drained chopped maraschino cherries when you stir in the coconut and pecans.

The mixture will be a little stickier than the plain coconut version.  And the candies will turn a light shade of pink from the juice of the cherries.

How to Make Martha Washington Candy with Maraschino Cherries Image

After the filling mixture is rolled into balls, chill the balls before dipping them in chocolate.  Chilling makes the balls much easier to work with and helps them better keep their shape when dipping.

Either pop the rolled balls in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Once chilled, use a fork to dip each ball in melted chocolate.  (See my post How to Melt Chocolate: On the Stove & In the Microwave for helpful tips on melting chocolate.)

Dipping Martha Washington Candy in Melted Chocolate Image

After dipping each ball, let any excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.

To get a nice, thin even coating of chocolate, very gently wiggle and bounce (I hesitate to say shake) the fork to get as much excess chocolate to drip off as possible.

Martha Washington Candy Dipped in Melted Chocolate Image

Then place the dipped coconut ball on a wax paper or parchment-lined baking sheet to allow the chocolate to set.

Continue the dipping process until all the coconut balls are coated in chocolate.

To speed along the setting of the chocolate, you can pop the dipped candies in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Martha Washington Candy with Coconut and Cherry Fillings Image

Store Martha Washington Candies in the refrigerator for up to about 2 to 3 weeks.  Or, freeze them if you need to keep them longer.

Then get ready to enjoy the Martha Washington deliciousness!

Because these beauties are one decadently delightful little bite.  Whether you choose to make them in straight-up coconut or cherry flavor, this old-fashioned holiday favorite is fantastic.

Check out these other tasty little-bite treats:
Martha Washington Candy with Coconut Pecan Filling Image
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Martha Washington candy recipe, how to make Martha Washington candy, Christmas candy
Candy
American
Yield: about 100-120 pieces
Author:

Martha Washington Candy

Martha Washington Candy

Martha Washington Candy is an old-fashioned favorite for the holidays -- and it's easy to see why. Loaded with creamy sweetened coconut-pecan centers coated in chocolate, this classic confection is a purely decadent delight. Enjoy it in its traditional coconut-pecan flavor, or add in chopped maraschino cherries. Either way, there's just one word to describe it -- delicious!
prep time: 1 H & 30 Mcook time: total time: 1 H & 30 M

ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. (32 oz.) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. finely chopped pecans
  • 2 c. coconut
  • 1 (10 oz.) jar maraschino cherries, chopped (optional)
  • 1 (12 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp. shortening (such as Crisco)

instructions:

How to make Martha Washington Candy

Prepare Filling:
  1. Cream together butter, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract.  Add confectioners' sugar and mix until well combined.
  2. Add finely chopped pecans and coconut (and cherries, if including); mix well.
  3. Roll filling into 1-inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet.
  4. Freeze balls for 30 minutes (or chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours).
Melt Chocolate:
  1. Combine chocolate chips and shortening in the top of a double boiler or small shallow mixing bowl set over simmering water.
  2. Stir frequently until chocolate chips are melted and smooth.
Dip Coconut Balls in Chocolate:
  1. Remove melted chocolate from the pot of simmering water. Remove coconut balls from the freezer.
  2. Working with one coconut ball at a time, rest the ball on a fork and use the fork to dip the ball in chocolate to coat completely.  Let any excess chocolate drip off back into the melted chocolate.
  3. Place on wax paper-lined pan to allow chocolate to set.
  4. Repeat until all coconut balls have been dipped in chocolate.
  5. Chill the dipped coconut balls until the chocolate is set, about 15 minutes.
  6. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator (or freezer) until serving.
TRACEY'S NOTES:
  1. I use a small cookie scoop (about 1 tablespoon capacity) to scoop out the coconut dough for each ball. This helps keep all my Martha Washington Candies pretty close to the same size.
  2. See my post How to Melt Chocolate: On the Stove & In the Microwave for helpful tips on melting chocolate.
Created using The Recipes Generator

You might also like these other tasty sweet treats:

Martha Washington Candy (2 Ways) ~ An old-fashioned favorite for the holidays! Loaded with creamy sweetened coconut & pecan centers, this classic is a purely decadent delight.  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com

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1 comment

  1. These look delicious. I have a favorite old time candy, but not as old as this recipe. The Price Candy Co. out of Kansas City may still make their Annaclairs.

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