I wanted to write about Mamie Eisenhower and her famous “million dollar” fudge. As it turns out, every foodie and their precocious child has written about this fudge, but Mamie Eisenhower deserves a shout-out, because she was an especially good first lady, and a great hostess. She was an enormous asset to Dwight Eisenhower as he rose through the ranks of the military. Their home was thrown open to so many officers over the years that it became known as “Club Eisenhower.” Her career was his career; she moved 37 times with her husband during his military employment, saying that she’d lived “everywhere but an igloo.”
Mamie Eisenhower brought her polished social skills to the White House, where every holiday was cause for lavish decoration and celebration, and her long years as a military wife gave her the self-discipline to shake every hand and be gracious to every person who came through those historic doors. Being a first lady may seem like a glamorous life, about as close to modern-day royalty as it gets, but the reality is somewhat different. There are hundreds of demands on a first lady’s time, events to support, people to see, personal causes to shepherd. And there are obligations that fall to every first lady, traditional events that require her participation each year – whether it’s meeting with spouses of world leaders, lighting the national Christmas tree, or serving as the patron of deserving charity balls. It takes self-discipline and a well-honed sense of duty to embrace these obligations, and Mamie Eisenhower did it with good grace.
Now to the recipe: fudge can be easily burned, and over the years I stopped making it altogether because it always ended up tasting like charbroiled chocolate – which actually sounds like a recipe you’d find on a much hipper blog than this one. But I didn’t have any difficulty with this recipe because it doesn’t require endless stirring. The original recipe called for a combination of semi-sweet and German sweet chocolate. I used semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate morsels instead – no sweet chocolate at all – and added vanilla to give it more flavor. You can use any type of nuts, and even dried fruit, so I added pecans, walnuts and bits of candied orange peel to the basic recipe, to offset the sweetness of the fudge. I’ve fudged Mrs. Eisenhower’s fudge recipe a bit, but I’m guessing she wouldn’t mind.
Serves: 24 one-inch pieces
Prep time: 45 minutes
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2/3 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 5 ounce can of evaporated milk
- 1 7/5 ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff
- 1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped
- ¼ cup candied orange peel, chopped
- Line a 8 x 8 inch pan with foil and butter the foil.
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, salt, butter, evaporated milk and marshmallow fluff.
- Set on low heat and stir until blended.
Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until temperature reaches 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat and add vanilla and chocolate pieces, stirring until mixture is well-combined.
- Add nuts and orange peel pieces and mix well.
Turn fudge out into the foiled and buttered pan and smooth down gently.
- Allow to cool at room temperature until firm (take from 1-4 hours to firm up).
- Cut into one by one inch squares.
- Store in airtight container, keeps for up to a week.