Peanut butter clusters are amazing, easy to make AND a total crowd pleaser. They were at my sister-in-law’s Easter party and disappeared WAY faster than any other chocolate/candy treat! These peanut butter clusters will satisfy your sweet tooth but won’t pack on the pounds. You can keep them on hand for a quick snack.
Peanut Butter Clusters
Keyword Peanut butter, Special K
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1 cup peanut butter smooth or crunchy
- 6 cups Special K or corn flakes or rice cereal
- **Gather your ingredients first because process moves quickly.***Grease a 13×9 pan or cover a sheet pan with parchment/wax paper/silicone pad.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar and syrup until combined. Bring to a rolling boil. Immediately, remove from heat.
- Stir in peanut butter until smooth. Stir in cereal until coated.
- Using a cookie scoop, make clusters on a parchment/wax paper/silicone pad covered sheet pan or cookie sheet. Cool.Alternately, you can press mixture into a greased 13×9 pan as you would Rice Krispie Treats. Cut when cooled.
PEANUT BUTTER NUT CLUSTERS
We first got familiar with nut clusters a couple of months ago when our “virtual workout trainer,” Pamela Reif, came out with her own line, Naturally Pam. I (Maja) ordered her whole line because I am a huge granola lover, and I thought this might be something that I could snack on during a busy day. Right now, she sells three different nut clusters, and since we loved the Peanut Cinnamon flavor, we wanted to recreate it at home and make it our own with a few twists. This is a quick and easy snack worth making or buying for a delicious (healthy-ish) snack.
FANTASTIC QUICK SNACK – PEANUT BUTTER NUT CLUSTERS
I am so happy that we found Pamela Reif and her Naturally Pam products online. This recipe is inspired by her Nut Clusters, and these are the top reasons why we love it so much:
- the exterior is crunchy, while the interior is sticky (in a good way)
- sweet, but not overly sweet, the sweetness doesn’t dominate over other flavors
- a beautiful combination of creamy peanut butter, crunchy nuts, puffed quinoa, fruity apple chips
- one nut cluster has only 37 calories
- these are great for anyone who is vegan or follows a gluten-free, dairy-free diet
- quick 20-minute recipe for a delicious everyday snack
- feel free to store them at room temperature or freeze them for later
HOW TO MAKE PEANUT BUTTER NUT CLUSTERS AT HOME
These Peanut Butter Nut Clusters are currently our favorite snack. They are quick and easy to make; you simply follow these steps:
- In a bowl, stir to combine all the ingredients
- Using a spatula, spread the mixture over the prepared baking dish
- Bake in an oven for 15 – 20 minutes
- Set aside for the mixture to cool, then cut into cubes
- Serve or store in an airtight container
ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS AND HOW TO MAKE THEM YOUR OWN
You will find the whole list of ingredients and the method below. There are only 7 ingredients in this recipe. They are all essential to make the recipe work, but there are some possible substitutes and ways to make these clusters your own.
Peanut butter – Use unsalted creamy peanut butter. We don’t usually recommend using salted peanut butter because it can quickly make the clusters too salty. However, if you have it in your pantry, go ahead and use it, but be careful when adding the salt.
Rice syrup – is not overly sweet, it has a good consistency, and it’s pretty neutral when it comes to flavor. Corn syrup would be a good substitute too.
Cinnamon powder – cinnamon, apples, and peanut butter are a match made in heaven.
Salt – season to taste. Thanks to salt, everything tastes even better.
Peanuts – use roasted, unsalted peanuts. Same as with the peanut butter, using salted roasted peanuts could make these clusters too salty.
Apple chips – add a wonderful, fruity, slightly sweet flavor to the clusters. We used these apple chips from Kotanyi.
Puffed quinoa – helps with the volume of the nut clusters. Feel free to substitute with puffed buckwheat or puffed rice.
Chocolate coating – Make a simple chocolate coating by melting dark chocolate in your microwave or over a water bath on the stove. Dip half of the cooled nut cluster into the chocolate, transfer to a wire rack, and wait for the chocolate to cool.
Cacao nibs – Feel free to add some cacao nibs to the mixture. They would add a delicious cacao aroma and extra crunchiness.
Coconut chips – Chop the coconut chips and add to the mixture for some sweet nuttiness.
A FEW IDEAS WHEN AND HOW TO SERVE THESE NUT CLUSTERS
Here are some ideas about when and where to serve these delicious, crunchy Peanut Butter Nut Clusters.
- take them with you to work or school
- they are a great hiking snack and great for picnics
- a quick snack while commuting or going on a trip
- serve them with coffee or tea in the afternoons
- a quick snack during a week when you are super busy
HOW TO STORE PEANUT BUTTER NUT CLUSTERS
We can store these Peanut Nut Clusters in two ways.
Add the Peanut Butter Nut Clusters to an airtight container or a glass jar. Seal the container or the jar and keep it at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
You can freeze these too. Place the cluster cubes in a freezer bag. Keep them in the freezer for up to 2 months. Before serving, defrost at room temperature.
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Clusters
- Level: Easy
- Total: 1 hr
- Active: 30 min
- Yield: About 30 clusters
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups peanut butter chips
4 teaspoons vegetable shortening
4 cups cereal squares (such as Chex)
1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
White nonpareils, for decorating
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and shortening in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water). Stir until melted and smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan and add the cereal and peanuts. Stir with a rubber spatula until evenly coated.
- Spoon the cereal mixture into clusters (about 2 tablespoons each) onto the prepared baking sheet; sprinkle with nonpareils. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Peanut Butter: Is It Good for You?
Peanut butter is a protein-packed spread popular around the world. It’s made of ground peanuts — often roasted first — blended into a thick paste.
Natural peanut butter is available at health food stores and specialty grocers, and can be easily found online. Look for a product that contains no additives other than a little salt.
You can also make peanut butter at home by blending peanuts in a food processor until you reach your desired texture.
A quarter-cup of peanuts (the approximate amount in a 2 tablespoon serving of peanut butter) contains:
- Calories: 207
- Protein: 9 grams
- Fat: 18 grams
- Carbohydrates: 6 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Sugar: 1 gram
Peanut butter is a good source of:
- Vitamin E
- Niacin (B3)
- Vitamin B6
Peanut butter is also a good source of copper, a mineral that helps maintain our bone health, immune function, and blood vessels. Some research suggests that getting enough copper in your diet may reduce your risk for osteoporosis and heart disease.
Potential Health Benefits of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a concentrated source of nutrition that may offer potential health benefits. One study showed that eating peanuts every day can decrease the overall risk of death by up to 21% – and reduces the occurrence of heart disease by 38%.
However, peanuts are high in calories and, while they contain “good fats,” too much can be a bad thing. Moderate your intake to avoid unwanted weight gain or health problems caused by excessive fat intake.
As long as you exercise portion control, research suggests peanut butter offers the following health benefits:
Improved Heart Health
One of the main fats in peanut butter is oleic acid. When substituted for other fats in your diet, oleic acid is shown to help maintain good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Managing these levels in your body can lower the risk of heart disease.
Peanut butter also contains omega-6. This fatty acid lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol and increases protective (HDL) cholesterol. In addition, peanuts are a natural source of arginine, an amino acid that may prevent heart and vascular disease by promoting good blood vessel function.
Reduced Risk of Diabetes
Oleic acid also been shown to reduce the body’s insulin resistance, a condition that raises your blood sugar and leads to diabetes. Research shows that peanut butter’s omega-6 content may have this same effect as well.
Peanuts are a great source of antioxidants like manganese, vitamin E, and B vitamins. These compounds act to prevent and repair cell damage in your body, and this effect can reduce your risk of chronic diseases like cancer.
One of peanut butter’s most powerful antioxidants is coumaric acid — and research found that its activity is boosted by 22% if you roast peanuts before whipping them into a butter.
It also contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that’s been shown to have anti-cancer effects and may lower the risk of obesity, heart disease, and cognitive decline.
Aid in Weight Management
The healthy fats in peanut butter are called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fats are associated with a lower risk of weight gain and obesity when consumed as part of a healthy diet.
Foods high in healthy fats, proteins, and fiber — like peanut butter — also take longer for our bodies to digest, which can keep us feel fuller for longer and reduce the risk of overeating.
While weight loss and management depend on a healthy diet and lifestyle, the research suggests that peanuts can assist with these goals.
Potential Risks of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is rich in a variety of nutrients — but it’s also rich in calories and fat. While the healthy fats in peanut butter are nutritious, you should consume them in moderation to avoid unwanted weight gain or potential health problems.
Commercial peanut butter brands often have added sugars, oils, and fats. For the best health benefits from peanut butter, look for all-natural products without these added ingredients.
Health Benefits of Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter can be categorized as a superfood and is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and has many additional health benefits.
1. Vitamins and Minerals
Peanut butter is an excellent source of Niacin needed for brain functioning and Vitamin E which acts as an anti-oxidant. It also contains a significant amount of Folate and Vitamin B-6 which helps in maintaining smooth functioning of the heart and copper which plays an important role in enzyme functioning. Additionally, the zinc content boosts immunity.
2. Peanut butter for weight loss
Various studies have shown that eating peanut butter at breakfast aids in weight loss as the protein and fiber content gives satiety and reduces cravings for empty calories. However, it should be consumed in moderation to avoid over-consuming calories and exceeding the recommended fat intake.
3. Peanut butter for a healthy heart
Peanut butter is an excellent source of Mono-Unsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and oleic acid which boost HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Peanut butter is an excellent source of potassium, which is associated with improved blood pressure control.
4. Peanut butter for healthy skin
Peanut butter contains Vitamin E, zinc and magnesium which keeps the skin glowing and prevents acne breakouts. The magnesium content aids in better blood flow to the skin resulting in youthful and healthy skin.
5. Peanut Butter and bodybuilding
In the age of protein shakes and energy bars, bodybuilders have forgotten that peanut butter is a superfood. With a 98% protein digestibility of peanuts, peanut butter sandwich is an ideal post workout snack providing all the essential amino acids. Unsaturated fats in peanut butter assist in muscle growth and repair.
6. Peanut butter and colon cancer
Roasting peanuts can increase their antioxidant properties as found in peanut butter. A number of studies have shown nutrients like folic acid, flavonoids, phenolic acid, phyto-sterols in particular beta-sisterol and resveratrol have anti-cancer effects. The high vitamin E content makes peanut butter a colon cancer-preventive food.
7. Peanut butter and pregnancy
Various studies have found that when pregnant women ate peanut butter, they tended to have children with fewer nut allergies. Since it scores high on both nutrition and calories, it can help in healthy weight gain in pregnant mothers.