Flip open a few lunchboxes in a New England elementary school cafeteria, and I suspect at least one of them will contain a Fluffernutter sandwich — that heavenly, sweet combination of white bread, peanut butter, and marshmallow creme so beloved by Yankee children that it’s been known to stick around on lunch menus well into adulthood.
I say “sticks” intentionally, since the Fluffernutter is the kind of sandwich that leaves most eaters (especially young ones) in need of a vigorous face-scrub after it’s finished. Why? The “Fluff” in Fluffernutter stands for Marshmallow Fluff, our preferred local brand of thick and gooey marshmallow creme. The marshmallow creme concept (described in The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches as “a spreadable concoction of melted marshmallows and corn syrup”) wasn’t a new one back in 1917 when entrepreneur Archibald Query began making and selling his version door to door in Somerville, MA, but after Query sold his formula to nearby candy makers H. Allen Durkee and Fred Mower, production and popularity steadily increased until Marshmallow Fluff was arguably the region’s top marshmallow creme supplier. And by the 1960s, the word “Fluffernutter,” in all of its gooey glory, was synonymous with the sandwich we love today.
You might be surprised to learn that Marshmallow Fluff (which is still made by Durkee-Mower in Lynn, MA) has just 4 ingredients (corn syrup, sugar, dried egg whites, and vanillin) and no artificial preservatives. It’s also gluten-free, kosher, and (at least in my house) a totally acceptable substitute for marshmallows in hot chocolate. Fluff is so popular that there’s even a National Fluffernutter Day (October 8) for hardcore Fluff fans, and the town of Somerville, MA still celebrates its Fluff pride with an annual Fluff Fest, one of our picks for the Best Food Festivals in New England.
Building a Fluffernutter is simple. Take 2 slices of white bread (when you’re dealing with this much sugar and salt it doesn’t really make sense to reach for the sprouted wheat bread, now does it?), then slather one with creamy peanut butter (Teddie is a popular local brand) and the other with Marshmallow Fluff. I find that the Fluff is easier to spread if you scoop out a large amount to start, so don’t be bashful. Now press the two pieces together, and dig in!
While some folks live and die by the classic Fluffernutter, there are other that like it made with toasted bread (just remember to spread the peanut butter and Fluff onto the toast while it’s still hot!), or “Elvis-style” with added sliced bananas. You can also swap out the classic Fluff for Strawberry or Raspberry Fluff (yes, both varieties exist), but it’s been my experience that you don’t see too many pink Fluffernutters. If you want a fruity sandwich, that’s what a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is for!
Are you a Fluffernutter fan?
This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated.