Drain the maraschino cherries in a sieve over a bowl, catching the juice. Let cherries drain for a few minutes, then place 3 - 4 layers of paper toweling on a large plate and put cherries on the toweling to drain further.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the cherry juice and vanilla. Combine the flour and salt and gradually add to the creamed mixture.
Cherry Bon Bons above
Below: forming the Bon Bons
Divide dough into approximately 24 portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then hollow out the center. Fit in one cherry, then seal the opening completely. (At this point, you may roll them in little sprinkles, or colored sugar, or leave them plain and pipe icing over them later). Place on baking sheets about 2-inches apart. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until completely set. Watch carefully at 18 minutes, they should not get browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Substitute different types of liquor. Try using rum, or Malibu Rum, or spiced rum. Try a type of liqueur, one that is not too sweet, such as Cointreau for a chocolate orange flavor.
Change the type of cookie used. Try using gingersnaps to make the crumbs, or even a chocolate wafer cookie. Any cookie that makes good crumbs would work.
Vary the kind of syrup. You may use honey, a more natural sweetener, but corn syrup works great also.
Russian Tea Cakes, aka Snowballs, Mexican Wedding Cakes
Pink & blue fillings make these perfect for a baby shower. Other colors could be used as desired, or leave white.
White Chocolate Ganache (tinted pink) Filled Meringues, above
Dark Chocolate Ganache Filled Meringues, below
A Gluten-Free Recipe
When I was in Guatemala, one morning I made a batch of these cookies. I popped the last pan in the oven, and set the timer. Itching to get outside for a bit, I stepped out to see what the children were doing. . . and got distracted. By the time I remembered the cookies they had baked and shrunken down to tiny little black hockey pucks - not even the dogs had any interest in them! It pays not to get distracted when baking.
Making Vanilla Wafer Cookies
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
2 cups pecans or walnuts, chopped
Spoon the beans into an electric food processor and process until smooth. Add the cocoa, butter and vanilla and blend until well mixed and beans are totally pureed.
Nutritious, Delicious Fudge
Hermit Cookies above, dipped in glaze icing
Below, Hermits made with Busy-Mom-Method