On the first day of Christmas baking I made for my true love......
Chocolate Covered Cherries
2 pounds powdered sugar (or 7 & 1/2 cups)
1can of sweetened condensed milk
1 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 jars of maraschino cherries
1-2 packages almond bark chocolate
Drain the cherries, saving some of the juice for any left-over cherries. Line cookie sheets or baking pans with wax paper.
Mix the powdered sugar, condensed milk, melted butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. When the mixture begins to form a dough, then mix by hand (this helps get the lumps out of the powdered sugar.)
Pinch off a small amount of dough. Press the dough into a circle in the palm of your hand. I have found that sprinkling powdered sugar on surface and pressing it in the powdered sugar is best; otherwise it does get gooey on your hands and the gooeier it is, the harder to form the circle this is a time consuming step. make the circle of dough slightly larger than your cherry. (tip: more powdered sugar on your hands/surface the better keep applying all the while making these.)
Take one cherry and roll the dough around it
Place on cookie sheet or baking pan. After all the dough is gone, place the cherries in the freezer for about an hour.
After cherries have been in freezer at least an hour melt chocolate according to directions on package. Remove the cherries from the freezer as you need them (I have found they are easier to chocolate coat frozen than room temperature.)
Dip the cherries in chocolate and replace them on wax covered cookie sheets. I have found the easiest way to cover the cherry is stabbing the frozen cherry with a toothpick and using a spoon to kind-of pour chocolate on top of cherry.
Make sure the whole cherry is covered with chocolate. If you desire you may return back to freezer for about 10 minutes to harden the chocolate. These are better with age. Make about three weeks before you want them. the centers will get gooey like your store bought cherries. You'll see seepage here and there but that is ok too, it'll harden up