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Martha Washington Candy

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overhead shot of a cake stand of chocolate candies with a bite taken out of one
If you are a fan of coconut, this Martha Washington candy recipe is a delightful sweet treat wrapped in a chocolate coating. 
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Table of Contents
  1. Martha Washington Candy Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Martha Washington Candy Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

If you’ve never tried Martha Washington candy before, you’re in for a real treat. This classic candy is the perfect mix of chocolate and creamy coconut, and it’s always a hit among kids and adults alike.

overhead shot of a cake stand of chocolate candies with a bite taken out of one

Martha Washington Candy Ingredients

Martha Washington Candy raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
  • 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
  • 3 cups pecans, chopped
  • 6 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons shortening

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

NUTS: You can use raw or toasted pecans in this simple recipe. You can toast pecans in the oven at 300°F on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 6-8 minutes, keeping a close eye so that they don’t burn.

How to Make This Martha Washington Candy Recipe

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

This old-fashioned candy recipe makes close to 80 candies! You can definitely halve the recipe for a smaller quantity.  

STEP ONE: In a large mixing bowl, beat together softened butter, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

ingredients blended together in a bowl

STEP TWO: Add powdered sugar and beat until combined.

powdered sugar added to the butter mixture in a bowl

STEP THREE: Mix in the coconut, cherries, and pecans. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the coconut-pecan filling for 1 to 2 hours to firm up the mixture.

coconut, cherries, and pecans added to the bowl

STEP FOUR: Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.

STEP FIVE: Use a 1½ tablespoon scoop or a melon baller to form balls from the chilled mixture. You can roll the balls in the palms of your hands to make more even, uniform balls from the mixture.

PRO TIP:

If you are rolling the balls in your hands and you find that it is sticky work, cover your hands with a light dusting of powdered sugar to prevent the filling from sticking to you.

balls scooped from the mixture with a scooper

STEP SIX: Place the formed candy balls onto parchment paper and place the sheet pans back into the refrigerator.

PRO TIP:

The butter and large quantity of powdered sugar in the filling for these candies allow the filling to firm up quite a bit. The filling still needs to be chilled before dipping to keep the balls intact until they are coated.

candy balls placed on a baking sheet

STEP SEVEN: Place the chocolate chips and shortening in a large, microwave-safe bowl. You can also divide the chocolate chips and shortening in half and work on dipping half of the candies at a time.

PRO TIP:

The chocolate chips may be easier to melt and work with if you divide the chocolate/shortening mixture in half and work in batches. You could also roll all your balls, but store half in the freezer and then dip half of them at a time. Three cups of chocolate chips will coat about 40 candies.

chocolate chip and shortening combined in a measuring cup

STEP EIGHT: Heat the chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring between each until the chips are mostly melted.

chocolate chip and shortening melted in a measuring cup

STEP NINE: Stop heating and continue stirring until the mixture is fully melted and smooth.

STEP TEN: Use a fork to dip balls and roll each candy ball in the melted chocolate chips. Lift from the chocolate, tap to remove excess chocolate, and place back on the sheet of paper to set.

candy balls dipped into the melted chocolate mixture and placed on a baking sheet

STEP ELEVEN: Continue dipping and setting all of the balls. Dipped chocolate balls can be placed back into the refrigerator to set more quickly.

PRO TIP:

Reheat the melted chocolate coating for 15 seconds at a time if it begins to thicken too much for dipping. The shortening in the chocolate mixture helps to make the chocolate more fluid for dipping. It also keeps the set chocolate just a tad softer at room temperature than pure chocolate.

chocolate dipped candies placed on a serving stand

How To Serve

Easy candy recipes are always a welcome treat, especially as a gift. Try our Oreo truffles and homemade peanut butter cups for two more ways to share your creations.

These are ideal treats to add to a gift box of truffles along with our white chocolate lemon truffles and buckeyes. Tie them with a pretty bow and give them to friends and family.

Or just simply enjoy this beloved confection recipe when you are craving a bit of sweetness.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store these Martha Washington cherry candies in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks in an airtight container.

IN THE FREEZER: This classic candy will stay fresh in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 3 months. 

close up shot of a cake stand of chocolate candies with a bite taken out of one

This old-fashioned favorite is a rich mixture of buttery coconut, cherry, and pecan filling wrapped in a decadent candy coating. These little bites of heaven will be a hit whether you are sharing them or keeping them all to yourself.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why are they called Martha Washington candy?

These candies are named for the Martha Washington candies company that sold them during the 1920s. Most of the stores closed during the Great Depression but the coconut candy remains a favorite confection.

Can I freeze this classic recipe?

You can freeze this candy in an airtight container for up to three months.

Can I use milk or dark chocolate chips for the coating in this recipe?

Any type of chocolate chips will work fine in this recipe.

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overhead shot of a cake stand of chocolate candies with a bite taken out of one

Martha Washington Candy

5 from 3 votes
If you are a fan of coconut, this Martha Washington candy recipe is a delightful sweet treat wrapped in a chocolate coating. 
Prep Time 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 80 candies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
  • 10 ounces maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
  • 3 cups pecans, chopped
  • 6 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons shortening

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together softened butter, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  • Add the powdered sugar and beat until combined.
  • Mix in the coconut, cherries, and pecans. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to firm up the mixture.
  • Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.
  • Use a 1½ tablespoon scoop or a melon baller to form balls from the chilled mixture. You can roll the balls in the palms of your hands to make more even, uniform balls from the mixture.
  • Place the formed balls onto parchment paper and place the sheet pans back into the refrigerator.
  • Place the chocolate chips and shortening in a large, microwave-safe bowl. You can also divide the chocolate chips and shortening in half and work on dipping one half of the candies at a time.
  • Heat chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring between each until chips are mostly melted.
  • Stop heating and continue stirring until the mixture is fully melted and smooth.
  • Use a fork to dip and roll each candy ball in the melted chocolate. Lift from the chocolate, tap to remove excess chocolate, and place back on the sheet of paper to set.
  • Continue dipping and setting all of the balls. Dipped candies can be placed back into the refrigerator to set more quickly.

Notes

  • This old-fashioned candy recipe makes close to 80 candies! You can definitely halve the recipe for a smaller quantity.
  • If you are rolling the balls in your hands and you find that it is sticky work, cover your hands with a light dusting of powdered sugar to prevent the filling from sticking to you.
  • The butter and large quantity of powdered sugar in the filling for these candies allow the filling to firm up quite a bit. The filling still needs to be chilled before dipping to keep the balls intact until they are coated.
  • The chocolate chips may be easier to melt and work with if you divide the chocolate/shortening mixture in half and work in batches. You could also roll all your balls, but store half in the freezer and then dip half of them at a time. Three cups of chocolate chips will coat about 40 candies.
  • Reheat the melted chocolate coating for 15 seconds at a time if it begins to thicken too much for dipping. The shortening in the chocolate mixture helps to make the chocolate more fluid for dipping. It also keeps the set chocolate just a tad softer at room temperature than pure chocolate. 

Nutrition

Sodium: 1701mg | Calcium: 2279mg | Vitamin C: 16mg | Vitamin A: 7566IU | Sugar: 1377g | Fiber: 142g | Potassium: 10294mg | Cholesterol: 688mg | Calories: 16021kcal | Trans Fat: 15g | Monounsaturated Fat: 330g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 102g | Saturated Fat: 532g | Fat: 1039g | Protein: 139g | Carbohydrates: 1612g | Iron: 86mg
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