Martha Washington Creams

These lovely chocolate-covered pecan candies have been a holiday staple in my family since my mother was a girl, when her mother first made them.

“Marthas” pictured here with Almond-Orange Buttercream Snowflake Cookies

It just doesn’t seem like the holidays until the house smells of roasted pecans and chocolate and I see the shiny little candies all lined up on cookie trays, drying before being mailed to friends and relatives.

They are simple, but time consuming to make, and impossible to resist when finished.

Here’s the recipe:

Martha Washington Creams –Full Batch *Warning, this makes a ton of them, so half or quarter if you only want one or two dozen of them.


1 quart of pecans, raw or roasted (You can make them with either – I buy raw and roast them myself in a 225 degree oven for 1 ¼ hours.)


32 oz (plus or minus for firmness) vegan powdered sugar

1 cup of sweetened condensed nut milk or coconut cream (I take soy milk, add cane syrup and reduce by 1/3. So, I start with 1 and 1/3 cups of milk and end with 1 cup. You can just use coconut cream, but you will get a coconut flavor that’s nice, but changes the recipe somewhat.)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ stick of vegan buttery spread (I use Earth Balance)

Mix all ingredients except pecans and knead until it is like play dough/modeling clay, etc. (You can try a mixer, but it strains the motor on mine, because it is so firm.)

Wrap the pecans in the cream, just like little pillows – more or less cream depending on how much sweet you like and place on a non-stick cookie sheet with silicon baking mat, wax or parchment paper. (I just make sure the pecan is totally covered with a thick layer but keeps its pecan shape.)

Let them air dry on the cookie sheet (s) for a couple of hours or overnight if you have time. It makes them sturdier when dipped in the melted chocolate.

Chocolate Coating:

Use either 4 boxes of unsweetened chocolate or two bags of dark chocolate chunks/chips, etc. They are so sweet, if you use sweetened chips it will be too much.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or bowl over water and dip the candies in one at a time. I use a teaspoon and tilt it slightly to drip excess chocolate back into the pan before sliding the candy off the spoon onto the cookie sheet. If you drop a candy in the chocolate, remove it quickly as it will melt fast.


Allow the finished candies to air dry for at least 24 hours to make sure they are hard and keep their shine. My mother used to add a 1/4 cup of paraffin to make them more shiny and slow melting, but it’s not necessary. (I usually just cover the cookie sheets with plastic wrap  or another cookie sheet overnight but leave them uncovered all day.)


2 thoughts on “Martha Washington Creams

  1. Cristina

    Yum! A few questions about the process:
    1. Do you mix the pecans around while roasting?
    2. Should I use soy milk that has minimal ingredients? (just soy beans and water?)

    We really like nuts/chocolate combos, so this is something I would love to make soon before it starts getting too humid because I imagine that will affect how they dry.

    1. Kate Post author

      These keep quite a long time and only dry out when a couple of months old. (Still good, just crunchy instead of soft.). So, about halfway through, I pull the pecans out of the oven and give them a toss before putting them back in. As for the soy/nut milk, I’ve just used whatever I have on hand, usually “plain”, but vanilla would probably enhance the flavor, I think. One year, I used coconut cream instead of sweetening and condensing the soymilk and it was good, but I didn’t like the coconut flavor, ’cause it wasn’t the traditional Martha flavor, to me.

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