Cherry Almond Fudge
1 (8 ounce) can almond paste
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, divided use
few drops red food color (optional)
1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup red candied cherries, chopped
1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped*
Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with aluminum foil, extending foil at least 2" over ends of pan. Set aside.
In a small bowl, beat almond paste and 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk until well blended. Add food color, if desired. Beat until well blended. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until stiff.
Spread chilled almond mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.
Place chocolate chips and remaining sweetened condensed milk in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high (100%) 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or just until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Stir in chopped cherries and toasted almonds. Spread chocolate mixture over almond paste layer.
Cover and refrigerate until firm. Using the extended edges, lift fudge from pan. Place on cutting board. Peel off foil. Cut into squares.
To toast nuts, place in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 10 to 15 minutes or until nuts are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Cool. Or, place in skillet over medium heat and toast almonds, stirring constantly, until golden in color. Be careful not to burn nuts.
For best results, do not double this recipe.
Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.
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