Unwrapping Christmas Memories

The holiday season isn’t just about the lights, the music, or the gifts—it’s also about those cherished traditions that make this time of year truly magical. For many, Christmas is inseparable from the delicious treats that adorn our tables and fill our homes with the scent of nostalgia. Among those treats, there’s one special delight that holds a unique place in my heart: Cherry Balls, or as my family fondly calls them, “Secrets.”

The Secrets were a blend of sweetness, texture, and an element of mystery. Made with a base of crushed graham crackers and coconut, they held a secret treasure within—the vibrant, jewel-like maraschino cherries. These cherries, wrapped in their sugary embrace, were like hidden gems waiting to be discovered with each bite.

But here’s the twist: my mom would sometimes included walnuts in a few of these treats. Now, for most, this would be a welcome addition, but for me, it was a moment of disappointment. The walnuts, though delicious on their own, paled in comparison to the burst of flavor and sweetness that the cherries provided.

The beauty of making Secrets is in their versatility. You could opt for the classic red maraschino cherries, which added a vibrant pop of color reminiscent of holiday festivities. Alternatively, the green cherries could evoke a sense of evergreen trees and the wintery wonderland outside. Whichever color adorned these delightful treats, their taste remained an embodiment of Christmas cheer.

As I grew older, I began to appreciate the allure of those walnut-filled Secrets. Their unique flavor and texture offered a contrast to the sweetness of the cherries, and I found myself embracing the variety they brought to the table. It was a lesson in appreciating the unexpected, in finding joy in the different facets of a familiar delight.

Now, whenever I think of Secrets or Cherry Balls, I’m transported back to those cozy kitchen moments, surrounded by the warmth of family and the anticipation of festive indulgence. These treats aren’t just about their taste; they encapsulate the essence of togetherness, tradition, and the joy of discovering life’s delightful surprises, much like the cherry-filled Secrets themselves.

So, this holiday season, as I roll these sweet concoctions in my own kitchen, I’ll savor each bite—the sweetness, the crunch, and yes, even the occasional surprise of a walnut. For in these simple treats lie the magic and memories of Christmas past, present, and future.

May your holidays be filled with the sweetness of cherished traditions and the joy of delightful surprises, just like our beloved Secrets.

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Secrets aka Cherry Balls

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4.5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: The Kilted Chef
  • Yield: Makes 12 1x


Units Scale
  • 3/4 cup room temperature butter
  • 1 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, finely chopped
  • 12 Maraschino cherries ( red or green)
  1. Place the butter and icing sugar in a bowl, mix together by hand then switch to a hand mixer once most of the icing sugar has been incorporated into the butter.
  2. Add in the coconut and mix until well blended.
  3. Scoop by the tablespoon and roll around a cherry (You can also use any type of nut that you like) once rolled dip in graham cracker crumbs and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
  4. Store in the refrigerator.

  • Category: baking, recipes