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Double Chocolate-Covered Cherries

* 1 jar maraschino cherries with stems (10 ounce)
Chocolate Fondant
* 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
* 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
* 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
* 2 teaspoons half & half or milk
* 2 cups powdered sugar
* 1 package (12 ounce) vanilla milk chocolate chips
* 1 tablespoon shortening

Drain cherries on several thicknesses of paper towels; press out excess moisture. Allow to drain at least 1 hour. In medium bowl combine butter, corn syrup, chocolate and half & half; beat until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar (mixture will seem dry and crumbly). When most of the powdered sugar is mixed in turn onto flat surface and knead until smooth.
Divide into 24 pieces (about 2 teaspoons each) and shape into balls. Flatten each ball slightly and mold around drained cherry, covering c herry completely. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until very cold and firm.
Line large cookie sheet with waxed paper. In small saucepan over very low heat melt vanilla milk chocolate chips and shortening, stirring constantly. Place over pan of hot water to maintain dipping consistency. Holding stems, dip covered cherries into melted chips; draw bottoms of cherries lightly over edge of pan to remove excess coating.
Place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet to set. Place candies in small paper cups; store in tightly-covered container. Centers will soften slightly in 10 to 14 days.

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