When I was a kid, my Grandma Fletcher used to recruit us grandchildren to help her with preparing for the holidays. Grandma went all out – live Christmas tree, Dickens Village, homemade ceramic Old World Santas, and making holiday treats. When I think of Grandma, I think of fudge and peanut clusters. The trick to making Grandma’s Peanut Clusters is adding Spanish peanuts and mini-marshmallows.
Now if you have read any of my post about my Grandma Fletcher, you know she doesn’t measure when she bakes. That sometimes makes it hard to know exactly how to make one of her recipes. It is my understanding the Peanut Cluster recipe was originally my Great Grandma Kingston’s recipe – so Grandma Fletcher had years of experience cooking it with her mother.
After Grandma and Grandpa Fletcher started going to Yuma for the winter, there was no more preparing for the holidays with Grandma for us grandkids back in Nebraska. That also meant we didn’t get to eat these goodies anymore.
My uncle Ed used to tell his mother that all he wanted for Christmas was her Peanut Clusters. At some point, Ed realized that he needed to figure this recipe out before his mother passed away. Luckily, Grandma remembers all the ingredients so he had a good starting point. He played around with butter vs margarine and varying levels of sugar. Ed even went over to Grandma Fletcher’s and borrowed his Grandma Kingston’s pot she cooked the mixture in. After lots of trial and error, my uncle walked into my grandpa’s office one day and declared – “I think I got it.” He shared one with my mother and she concurred that they tasted just like the ones their mother and grandmother had cooked for years.
Lucky for you, my uncle Ed wrote down that recipe and shared it with the rest of us. Unfortunately, he passed way four years ago. When I think of my uncle Ed, this recipe and the love he had for his wife, children, and grandchildren are some of my fondest memories of him.
Peanut Clusters by Ed Fletcher
2 bags of milk chocolate chips
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large jar of marshmallow cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 and 1/2 c. Spanish peanuts
6 c. sugar
1 can evaporated milk
3/4 c. melted butter
1 bag of mini-marshmallows
In a large bowl, put two bags of milk chocolate chips, 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 large jar marshmallow cream, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 and ½ c. of Spanish peanuts. Mix together.
In a large pan, mix 6 c. sugar and 1 can of evaporate milk. Full boil for 5 minutes or until soft ball stage. Remove from heat. Add ¾ c. melted butter.
Pour melted sugar mixture into bowl and stir completely. Sprinkle with mini-marshmallows. Spoon one marshmallow per cluster. Apply to waxed paper.
Serve when cooled.
Note: If you don’t like nuts, just pour the chocolate (less nuts and marshmallows) into a 13 x 9 glass dish to make fudge.