12 October 2011

Not A Cookbook -- Mamie Eisenhower's Fudge

Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower, 1959 by Thomas Edgar Stephens

Having a boatload of cookbooks means that I often get requests to find recipes. I was asked recently for an old fudge recipe, that someone remembered and I dare say, Mamie Eisenhower's Million Dollar Fudge may well be the most famous fudge recipe, if not the most famous recipe in American history.

Not only has it been reprinted in numerous newspapers and books, but it seems that everyone's mother or grandmother has a recipe card with this fudge recipe tucked in a box.

Supposedly, it made its first appearance in a cookbook entitled, Who Says We Can’t Cook, published in 1955 by the Women's National Press Club. Here is the recipe:

Mamie’s Million Dollar Fudge

4-1/2 cups of Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Butter
1 pinch of Salt
1 tall can of Evaporated Milk
12 ounces of Semi-sweet Chocolate Bits
12 ounces of German Sweet Chocolate
1 pint of Marshmallow Cream
2 cups of chopped Nutmeats

Heat the sugar, butter, salt and evaporated milk over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, and boil for six minutes. Put the chocolate bits, German chocolate, marshmallow cream and nutmeats into a heat resistant bowl. Pour the mixture you've been boiling over the ingredients you've just placed in the bowl. Beat until the chocolate has melted, and then pour it all into a pan. Let it stand for a few hours before cutting it into fudge sized pieces. Remember, it is even better the second day. Store in a tin box
When not tucked in a recipe box, it can be seen as a bookmark,

holding a place in a rather obscure Vladimir Nabokov novel.

Several days before Dwight Eisenhower was elected President, Mamie Eisenhower sent a letter to Mrs. Robert W. Macauley. She included a recipe for "Uncooked Fudge," and sent her best wishes for the success of the Cathedral's Women's Auxiliary Fall Festival. Whether this was the same fudge as her Million Dollar Fudge is unknown to me.

The Food Network "updated" the recipe for Eisenhower's fudge. The update seems to be changing "nutmeats" to "pecans" and moving the nuts to a higher position in the recipe. Here is their update:

Mamie Eisenhower's Fudge
4 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 pint (1 jar) marshmallow cream
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
12 ounces German's sweet chocolate


In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar, salt, butter and evaporated milk to a boil. Boil for 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the pecans, marshmallow fluff and chocolate in a large bowl. Pour the boiled syrup over the chocolate mixture. Beat until chocolate is all melted.

Spray a 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 by 1-inch jelly-roll pan with a nonstick cooking spray and pour fudge into pan. Let harden at room temperature before cutting into 1-inch squares (can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer to speed hardening process).

All the updating in the world will not change the fact that this recipe is still a family favorite.

Check out things people leave in books at Forgotten Bookmarks.

For old recipes check out Gram's Recipe Box.


  1. I love this post! I'm going to make this for the holidays.

  2. This recipe was printed in "PEOPLE" Magazine in the 1980's in a story about a monastery in Calif. that was looking for a way to make $$$, the Monks made and sold this fudge :>) It is super easy to make. I was unaware of the Mamie Eisenhour connection...

    1. It was published everywhere. I am sure Mamie Eisenhower stole it from someone!

  3. I have made this fude since the 60's as a newly wed. My mom made it throughout my childhood when our Sunday night consisted of watching Bonanza and snacking on buttered popcorn and fudge.


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