Created in 1912 by Howell Campbell and the Standard Candy Company in Nashville, Tennessee, Goo Goo Cluster candy is a treat for all ages. A delicious combination of marshmallow nougat, chewy caramel, peanuts and milk chocolate, Goo Goo Clusters were originally sold in large glass jars in store’s near the factory. Now you can find Goo Goo clusters all over the country (and world) in old time candy stores and even in coffee drinks at Cracker Barrel Country Stores.
There’s a few different types of the candy and we love them all. The original Goo Goo Cluster has caramel, marshmallow, peanuts and milk chocolate. Love pecans? Try out the GooGoo Supreme which substitutes pecans in place of peanuts. And peanut butter lovers will lick their lips over the Peanut Butter GooGoo which switches out the marshmallow for peanut butter.
While the store in downtown Nashville actually hosts classes to teach you how to make the candy, (even how to pair the candy with wine) today we wanted to share with you our recipe of this famous combination candy bar.
How to Make Goo Goo Cluster Candies
The base of this southern tradition is the caramel. While the original makes their own marshmallow caramel (which is to die for) we are going to take a bit of a short cut and use pre-made caramel and shape it. When buying your caramel look for a soft variety that is easy to shape. We use about three caramel candies shaped into a roundish mound as the base.
Sprinkle on some mini marshmallows and preheat your oven to a low broil. We want to broil the candies just enough to soften the marshmallows but not to toast them or melt the caramel. So keep a close eye on the oven.
Once the marshmallows are soft, sprinkle on the roasted peanuts and press with your hands to adhere to the sticky marshmallows. Once added, take the entire pan and place it in the freezer to chill. You don’t need the candy to freeze but rather set the marshmallow and caramel.
Meanwhile, melt chocolate wafers according to their package directions. We prefer to use chocolate melting wafers instead of chocolate chips because they are already tempered with, giving chocolate that crispness. If you were to use normal chocolate without tempering the chocolate would never fully set at room temperature.
Remove the candies from the freezer and place on a wire baking rack with parchment paper underneath. Spoon the chocolate over the mounds (pouring the leftover chocolate back into the bowl) and place back into the freezer to set.
When set, flip the chocolate over and spoon the melted chocolate over the bottom of the candies. Place the chocolates back in the freezers and chill until set.
When ready, remove the Goo Goo Clusters from the freezer and let them come to room temperature before serving. (I know it’s hard to wait but frozen caramel and teeth don’t mix).