1. For filling: In a food processor, combine cashews and the 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Cover and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl; set aside. Place 12 ounces white chocolate in the food processor. Cover and process until finely chopped. In a small saucepan, combine whipping cream and butter. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat.
2. With the food processor running, carefully pour hot cream mixture through feed tube into finely chopped white chocolate. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape side of bowl if necessary. Add white chocolate mixture to cranberry mixture. Add brandy; mix well. Cover and chill about 3 hours or until firm. Shape filling into 3/4-inch balls; freeze for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, for coating: In a 4-cup glass measuring cup, combine 12 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Pour very warm tap water (100 degrees F to 110 degrees F) into a large glass bowl to a depth of 2 inches. Place measuring cup containing white chocolate in large bowl. (Water should cover bottom half of measuring cup.) Stir white chocolate constantly with a rubber spatula until melted. (This takes about 20 minutes; don't rush. If water cools, remove measuring cup. Replace cool water with very warm water; return measuring cup to bowl of water.)
4. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Using a fork, dip frozen balls of filling into coating, allowing excess coating to drip back into measuring cup.
5. If desired, sprinkle tops of truffles with coconut and/or snipped dried cranberries. Chill about 10 minutes or until coating is set. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator or freezer. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Makes about 60 truffles.
*Cook's note-- if you're making these in mass quantities, you might want to go with the almond bark. My sister and I found that the white chocolate tended to get too hard and then wasn't so pretty looking anymore.* Posted by: Sallie