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Home cooking: Easy and Versatile Chocolate Cream Candies

February 05, 2013

Nearly 30 years ago, Marilyn Hembrock and her husband moved to the Smithsburg area. Her husband pastored a church and Hembrock taught school in Montgomery County, Md.

But earlier, the couple spent time in Europe with the United States military.

"He was an Army chaplain," Marilyn Hembrock said. "We were stationed in Germany 40 years ago. That's when I got interested in gingerbread houses and German pastries. Also, they had a lot of interesting chocolate candies."

Making food comes easy to Hembrock. She said she improvises and almost never follows a recipe exactly. Encountering a new culture with different food traditions was exciting.

"I'm one of these people who look at something nice and try to imitate it," she said. "So I picked up some German cookbooks, joined a German-American cooking group. I came up with an Americanized recipe for some of these German things."

This year, Hembrock has introduced her recipes to the youth group at Trinity Lutheran Church in Smithsburg. The youth prepared chocolate candies for a fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 9. The chocolate festival will feature homemade chocolate candies, cakes and other confections. Proceeds will benefit the Trinity Lutheran Church Youth Work Camp to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. The public is invited.

For more information, or to make a donation, call Leigh at 301-491-6267.

—  Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor



Easy and Versatile Chocolate Cream Candies

Candy center:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 pounds confectioner's sugar, added gradually

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

3/4 cup coconut, optional

1/2 cup coconut and 1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

1/4 cup drained chopped maraschino cherries and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon mint flavoring, optional



Coating:

24 ounces chocolate candy coating (see cook's note)

Candy sprinkles, optional



Mix together butter, condensed milk, confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Knead together until smooth. Divide in half.

If desired, to each half of candy center dough, add one of the optional flavor profiles: coconut; coconut and pecans; cherry nut; or mint chocolate chip. Mix each half thoroughly. Form into 1-inch balls and place on parchment or waxed paper.

Melt chocolate candy coating in a double boiler over hot water.

Dip the balls into melted chocolate using a fork or skewer. Let excess chocolate drip off, then carefully place the candy on waxed paper or parchment. Sprinkle on decorative sprinkles, if desired. Let sit for 30 minutes to set.

Cook's notes: Chocolate candy coating is available in selected grocery stores in the baking aisle. In place of candy coating, can use chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons shortening. Milk chocolate coating works well for plain, mint chocolate chip or cherry nut. Dark, semi-sweet or white chocolate works well for the coconut-flavored chocolate centers.
— Courtesy of Marilyn Hembrock of Smithsburg

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