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Chocolate Covered Cherries

 Chocolate Covered Cherries
Not only is this my family's favorite festive dessert, but it makes a delicious holiday present, too. Best of all, you can prepare these ahead. The candy just gets better as it's stored, with the centers becoming even juicier. —Linda Hammerich, Bonanza, Oregon
18 ServingsPrep: 25 min. + chilling

Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 jars (8 ounces each) maraschino cherries with stems , well drained
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar, butter, milk and extract. Knead
  • until smooth and pliable. Shape into 1-in. balls and flatten each
  • into a 2-in. circle.
  • Wrap one circle around each cherry and lightly roll in hands. Place
  • with stems up on waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Cover loosely and
  • refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
  • In a microwave, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth.
  • Holding on to the stems, dip cherries into chocolate; allow excess
  • to drip off. Place on waxed paper until set. Store in a covered
  • container. Refrigerate 1-2 weeks before serving. Yield: 3 dozen.
Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (2 each) equals 206 calories, 10 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 7 mg cholesterol, 28 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein.