I can't really remember the year that I got this recipe. I think maybe the first Christmas that we flew home from El Paso, Texas--maybe 1996 or 1997. Anyway, we were at my mother-in-law's house and I was trying to find something sweet to eat. There were some holiday cookies and stuff over on top of her chest freezer and so I picked up something chocolate. I thought it tasted pretty good, although it was dry from sitting out a long time. I asked Verna where they came from and she said her sister, Gertie Sutton, had brought them over. So I contacted Gertie and she sent me the recipe. The first time I made them I thought I was in Chocolate Heaven! These have wowed my friends and family for years. This recipe, from Mary Anne Tyndall of North Carolina, won $50,000 in the 1994 Pillsbury Bake-Off.
WARNING: Side effects of this product include addiction and sheer pleasure!
60 milk chocolate Hershey's Kisses or Hershey's Hugs, unwrapped
1 (12-oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 350. In medium saucepan combine Hugs and butter. Cook and stir over very low heat until chips are melted and smooth.
2. Add sweetened condensed milk to chocolate mixture and mix well. Remove from heat.
3. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level off before putting in stand mixer bowl. Add chocolate mixture and vanilla. Mix well on medium speed.
4. Shape 1 tablespoon of dough around each Hug, covering completely. Place bonbons 1 inch apart on UNGREASED cookie sheet (I use parchment for ease of release from pan for cooling).
5. Bake for 6-8 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE. Cookies will be soft and shiny but will become firm as they cool.
6. Cool bonbons completely on cooling racks.
7. Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave according to package directions. You can add a little shortening to thin, if necessary.
8. Dip the tip of each bonbon into the white chocolate or drizzle over . Get creative. You can even color the white chocolate to go with your event.
SECRETS TO SUCCESS:
- This is an easy recipe, but time-consuming.
- Try to work quickly as the dough will become harder to form around the Hugs toward the end of the batch.
- I just pinch off about a tablespoon of dough, roll it into a ball and then flatten in the palm of my hand, then place the Hug in the middle and fold the dough up and over the Hug.
- The parchment I use is actually a reusable sheet and "shimmies" easily off of the cookie sheet.
- The original recipe included nuts and used white baking bar/white candy coating melted in a saucepan with the shortening or oil. I find using the chips and microwave more efficient and just as good.
- Store the bonbons in an air-tight container to prevent drying out.
- When I first tasted the bonbons, Hugs were used so they are my preference. I did try Hershey's Kisses with Almonds and those were really good. Experiment with your candies. I bet caramel would be interesting...
Source: Mary Anne Tyndall, Pillsbury Bake-Off Winner, 1994.