Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

December 21, 2012

A bell tower brick for Christmas?

By Curt Oden - Exline correspondent
Daily Iowegian

EXLINE — From the snowstorm that was supposed to hit this week, perhaps we will still have snow on the ground for Christmas. Everyone seems to always enjoy a White Christmas.   

I remember my grandmother used to make a delicious fudge during the Christmas season when I was a kid.

It was called Mamie Eisenhower’s Million Dollar Fudge. In the 1950s she was the First Lady since her husband, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the president of the Untied States. He had also been Supreme Allied Commander during World War II.

At the time, her fudge recipe was quite popular and had been published in newspapers and magazines.

They say that Mamie’s original recipe is on file in Abilene, Kan. at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. The recipe I found for this fudge, says it was adopted from Mamie’s original recipe that she used.


Mamie Eisenhower’s Million Dollar Fudge


4 1/2 c. sugar

Pinch salt

2 Tb. butter

1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk

2 c. coarsely chopped pecans

1 pint (1 jar) marshmallow cream

12 oz. semisweet chocolate

12 oz. German's sweet chocolate



In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar, salt, butter and evaporated milk to a boil. Boil for six 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 its setting up.


Did you know that the famous Whitman Sampler box of candy is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year? They are the company that has a yellow front cover that resembles an old fashion, hand sewn, cross stitch sampler.

They are also known for having the individual candies listed, as to what kind they are, on the inside of the box lid. That way you can pick out the candies you like.

The company originally began in 1842 when a 19 year old young man named Stephen F. Whitman, started a small fruit and confectionary shop along the waterfront on Market Street in Philadelphia. Mr. Whitman was a great marketer of his product. He created eye-catching packaging and innovative marketing to attract customers to the high quality of his candies.

By 1857, he had a thriving business and he introduced new products.

On Dec. 29, 1860 four months before the beginning of the Civil War, Whitman had his first newspaper ad published promoting his candy.

By 1869, Stephan’s son, Horace Whitman took over operating the company and became the company president.

During the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, celebrating the first 100 years of the country, Whitman was awarded a bronze medal for product excellence.

In 1907, Whitman’s candy began to be sold in better drug stores. By 1911, when Walter Sharp took over as the company president, he came up with new products and instituted a money back guarantee that the company still promotes today.  

The box of candy known as the Whitman Sampler, made its debut in 1912.

It was under Walter Sharp’s guidance that the Whitman Sampler box of candy was developed based on an original sampler that hung in his own home. He worked with a talented employee at the company and they designed the Whitman Sampler box cover.

Also in 1912, Mr. Sharp introduced the use of cellophane, which helped to keep the candy fresh. At that time they were the biggest user in the country. At first it was imported from France but by 1924 the DuPont Company began to produce cellophane in the United States.

By 1915, the Whitman Sampler box of candy became the best selling box of chocolates in the country, and it still maintains that status to this day.

Over the years, a lot of innovations have been implemented within the company. By the 1970s the company expanded its product line. They introduced chocolate bars, baking chocolate and chocolate chips, along with hard candy sticks. They also began to produce Danish butter cookies and special candies for Easter and Christmas.

By 1984 the company introduced “Light Chocolate,” which contained fewer calories than its regular kind of products.

In the year 2001, sugar free candy began to be made, followed by a net-carb line in 2003.  By 2005, they teamed up with Weight Watchers and introduced a line of chocolates for them. Whitman Samplers are also served at the White House and on Air Force One.

They produce their confections at plants in Colorado, Texas and two locations in Kansas. They estimate that the company has sold over one billion of these famous boxes of chocolates in 100 years and that one is sold every 2.5 seconds.      

To celebrate their 100th anniversary they are kicking off their Kiss Me, I’m 100 Giveaway. If anyone was born in the year that the Whitman Sampler premiered, 1912, they are giving out special gifts to anyone that comes forward and is recognized as being 100 years old.  

The  Sampler wants to party with them, by sending them a jumbo size box of Whitman Sampler chocolates, along with a hat that says, Kiss Me I’m 100!

The company is the oldest continuous producer of boxed candies in the country and the Whitman Sampler remains the number one selling box of chocolates nationwide.

If you are having a hard time trying to come up with a gift for someone on your Christmas list, why not have their name placed on a special brick on the Bell Tower in Hero’s Park, in Exline as a lasting tribute. It will cost you $50. For further information call (641) 895-2691.  

Do not forget that the Exline Old Country Store is having its annual Christmas Cookie Exchange this morning at 10 a.m.

Bring two dozen cookies to share and a container to take home the two dozen you select from the cookies that others bring to the exchange.

We wish everyone a Happy Holiday and a very Merry Christmas.