Imagine salty peanuts and bouncy homemade vanilla-maple marshmallows tossed with just enough chocolate to hold them together! These chocolate peanut clusters are hands down my favorite holiday treat. Karl’s too!
“Fluffernutter” chocolate peanut clusters are named after the childhood favorite peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich. I’ve actually never had one of those, but I do love the name! And peanuts and marshmallows make a pretty fantastic pair!
While this recipe is really simple to make, it absolutely NEEDS homemade marshmallows, which are not quite as simple. They also aren’t all that hard to make and are definitely worth trying if you’ve never made them before! They’re the star and what makes these chocolate peanut clusters so special!
I have a great recipe with instructions at the bottom of this post if you’ve never made homemade marshmallows before. If you’re a visual learner, I also have a saved story highlight of the whole process here on my Instagram page.
If you aren’t going to make your own marshmallows, I’d recommend using the Toasted Vanilla Marshmallows from SmashMallow– they should make a mighty fine fluffernutter chocolate peanut cluster! Buy them here!
Since there are only a few ingredients in this recipe, you’ll want to make them count by using the highest quality you can get, especially for the chocolate! I really like a higher-end chocolate chip like Guittard, or Ghirardelli. Whole Foods 365 brand is good too, or if you want a really clean and thoughtfully made chocolate, try Equal Exchange brand.
Fluffernutter Chocolate Peanut Clusters Recipe
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 cups salted peanuts (not dry-roasted, not raw!)
2 cups small pieces of marshmallows (see recipe below)
Mini parchment paper cups
First, set up all the parchment cups on a sheet pan so they are ready to go. You won’t have time to do this after the chocolate gets melting!
Next, cut the marshmallows into small pieces, about the size of store-bought mini marshmallows or slightly smaller. As you cut the homemade marshmallows, try to keep them separated into pieces and don’t allow them to all clump and stick together. This recipe uses around half of a batch of the marshmallow recipe below.
Melt both types of chocolate chips together in a double boiler. I use a glass bowl fitted over a small saucepan. Heat the chocolate gently, stirring often, until the chips are almost fully melted. Take the bowl off the heat and place it on the counter, allow the chips to finish melting with the residual heat.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: First, add the peanuts and stir them in. They will help to cool the chocolate. If you add the marshmallows right away to the hot chocolate, they will melt and disintegrate into the chocolate.
Once the peanuts are stirred in, fold in the marshmallows.
Now work quickly! Use a spoon and your clean finger to drop spoonfuls of the chocolate peanut marshmallow mixture into the parchment cups. The chocolate will cool fast and set up quickly. Unlike other melted chocolate-type treats, you can’t re-melt this over the double boiler or the mallows will melt too. This is your one chance, don’t blow it! :)
Let the fluffernutter chocolate peanut clusters cool and set on the counter, and then store in an air-tight container.
Homemade Maple Marshmallows Recipe
Recipe adapted from The Urban Poser
Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper goes up both sides and up and out the top, forming handles that you will use to eventually lift the marshmallow slab out of the pan. Sprinkle the parchment lightly with arrowroot starch, or powdered sugar.
In the bowl of your stand mixture place 1/2 cup cold water. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over top of the water so that it hydrates or “blooms.” You will need the whisk attachment, and it’s best to get that set up now too.
Place the other 1/2 cup water in a 2-quart saucepan, along with the maple syrup, honey, and a pinch of salt.
Cook over medium heat and bring the sugars to a boil. You can stir the sugar while it is coming up to a boil, but once it is boiling DO NOT STIR IT. Any agitation of the sugar can cause it to crystallize. Keep a watchful eye, as it can boil over in just seconds! If it threatens to do this, turn the heat down.
Allow it to boil, and use a candy thermometer, or carefully use a meat thermometer (remember, no stirring) to take the temperature and allow it to heat to 240-242F (soft ball stage). This will take around 10-15 minutes. The bubbles of the boiling sugar will start to change texture when it’s getting close. Once you hit the target temperature, turn off the heat.
Pro tip: sometimes you can get a false temperature reading… what I mean is that your pan might have a hot spot and hit the target temperature in that spot first, but the rest of the sugar isn’t actually up to temperature yet. This will cause your marshmallows not to set. It’s best to take the temperature in several different locations in the pan to insure that it uniformly at the correct temperature.
Turn the mixer on low, and then slowly start to pour the syrup into the bowl of the mixer and onto the gelatin. Try not to get the syrup on the side of the bowl, or the whisk… but right down to the bottom of the bowl where the bowl starts to curve up.
Once the syrup is in, turn the mixer up to medium for about 30-60 seconds until the mixture starts to turn lighter in color. Stop and add the vanilla extract now.
Turn the mixer on medium-high to finish it. It will take anywhere between 5-10 minutes for the mixture to turn into marshmallow, and knowing when it’s done is a bit of an art.
Whip it too little and it won’t set, whip it too much and it will harden right in your bowl. The marshmallow is ready when it has about tripled in size, is cool to the touch, and when it just holds its shape or holds a bit of a shape when drizzled from the whisk into the bowl.
Work quickly! You have about 30 seconds to scrape the marshmallow from the bowl into your prepared pan before it sets. Smooth out the top with your spatula, and make sure the marshmallow is all the way into the corners of the pan.
Allow the marshmallow to sit at room temperature for about 4 hours before attempting to cut them into squares. Remove the marshmallow from the pan using the parchment handles, and place it onto a cutting board. Sprinkle the top with more starch (which will prevent your knife from sticking), and then use your sharpest knife to cut the marshmallows.
After the marshmallows are cut, dust them again with starch or powdered sugar. Use just as much as it takes to make the cut sides no longer sticky, you don’t want gobs of starch on the them! I often give them a toss in a colander at the end to get excess starch off.
The marshmallows will keep at room temperature for about a week, usually a little longer if you leave them to dry on the counter for a day or so before putting them into an air-tight container. If you intend to keep them longer than a week, they store really well in the freezer!
My guess is you’ll never buy marshmallows from the store again!
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