Coconut Chocolate Covered Cherries

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
2 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
2 c. finely chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp. shortening
2 (16 oz.) jars maraschino cherries with stems, well drained and patted dry
2 (11 1/2 oz) pkgs. milk chocolate chips

In large mixing bowl beat butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in milk and vanilla until well blended and mixture looks like softened butter. Fold in coconut and walnuts. With moist hands shape two teaspoons of coconut mixture around each cherry, forming a ball. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for one hour or until chilled. In microwave-safe bowl melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip coated cherries into chocolate. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to one month. Makes about 5 dozen.

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