Martha Washington candy, also known as coconut bonbons, is an easy, no bake treat. They’re so simple anyone can make them and they just melt in your mouth!
Who loves chocolate and coconut? (Maybe a better question is who doesn’t?)
I can’t get enough of that perfect combo, which is why these Martha Washington candies are my latest dessert obsession.
They’re the perfect one-bite sweet treat to satisfy your sugar cravings!
Why you’ll love this Martha Washington candy:
- It’s really easy to make and the ingredients are all readily available at any grocery store
- You don’t even need to turn on your oven to make them—they’re fully no bake!
- This candy will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge and a month or so in the freezer, so it’s perfect to have on hand for last-minute gatherings during the holidays.
What is Martha Washington Candy?
Martha Washington Candies are basically coconut bonbons, or coconut truffles with chocolate coating. They’re also sometimes called Martha Washington Balls.
The filling is made with coconut and sweetened condensed milk, usually contains pecans, and sometimes contains chopped maraschino cherries.
They taste very similar to an Almond Joy, but with pecans rather than almonds.
This is an old-fashioned recipe, the kind you’ll find in old community cookbooks or that would be handed down from your grandmother. It’s one of those treats you see on Christmas cookie trays or at holiday potlucks because the candies are easy to make and a total crowd pleaser.
However whether these candies are in any way related to Martha Washington, or if she ever made them herself, is unclear.
It seems, from my research, that it’s more likely the name comes from a company called Martha Washington Candies Company, which was founded in 1892. (Again, that’s unclear from what I can find!)
I’ve read that Martha W was an excellent cook (and George was known for his eggnog!) but I can’t find any evidence that this recipe originated with them. Would flaked coconut even have been available in colonial times? I have no idea.
How to make the candies
- Stir together butter, pecans, vanilla, and salt
- Gradually mix in powdered sugar (the mixture will be dry)
- Stir in coconut and sweetened condensed milk, then chill for 2 hours
- Once the filling has chilled roll it into balls
- Dip the balls in melted chocolate
Pop the balls in the fridge until the chocolate sets, then serve!
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or wax paper.
Combine the almond bark and chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler set over an inch of boiling water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth.
Recipe notes and tips
- Be sure to use sweetened condensed milk rather than evaporated milk in the filling. They’re not the same and your filling will be runny if you use evaporated milk.
- When you’re dipping your candies, it’s easiest to work with a few balls at time and keep the remaining filling chilled; the filling softens quite a bit at room temperature. Alternatively, you can scoop all the balls onto paper-lined baking sheets and freeze until firm, then dip them in chocolate.
- I used a mixture of chocolate chips and chocolate almond bark. Almond bark is usually found right near the chocolate chips in the baking aisle of the grocery store. It’s also sometimes called candy melts or candy coating.
- Chocolate chips taste better than almond bark but almond bark melts better, which is why I use a combination of both. You can definitely use all chocolate chips or all almond bark if you prefer!
How to store the candies
Uneaten Martha Washington candy can be stored in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Layer the candies between pieces of wax paper.
You can also freeze your candies for about a month (or even up to 2 months if they’re wrapped really well), again in airtight containers layered with wax paper.
If you live in a colder climate, these are pretty shipping-friendly since they aren’t delicate like some cookies. Just know that if you live someplace where it tends to be warmer, the candy could melt.
Did you make this Martha Washington Candy? That’s great! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. And post a pic on Instagram too; tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your beautiful creations!
Martha Washington Candy is an easy treat made with simple ingredients. These candies melt in your mouth and make a delicious gift for the holidays!
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 3 cups sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 16 ounces chocolate flavored almond bark
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Stir together the butter, pecans, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Gradually stir in the sugar until combined (the mixture will be dry).
- Add the coconut and condensed milk stir until well combined. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm enough to roll into balls.
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or wax paper.
- Combine the almond bark and chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler set over an inch of boiling water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth.
- Scoop tablespoons of the filling mixture and roll into balls*.
- Use a fork to dip each ball into the chocolate; tap the fork on the side of your double boiler to remove excess chocolate. Place dipped balls on the prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate to set the chocolate, then serve.
- Uneaten candy can be stored in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Layer the candies between pieces of wax paper. You can also freeze your candies for about a month.
- *When you’re dipping your candies, it’s easiest to work with a few balls at time while keeping the rest of the filling chilled because the filling softens quite a bit at room temperature.
- Alternatively, you can scoop all the balls onto paper-lined baking sheets and freeze until firm. Then dip them.
- Chocolate chips taste better than almond bark but almond bark melts better, which is why I use a combination of both. You can use all chocolate chips or all almond bark if you prefer.
- Be sure to use sweetened condensed milk rather than evaporated milk. They’re not the same and your filling will be runny if you use evaporated milk.