Friday, April 11, 2008
HOMEMADE VEGAN MARSHMALLOWS! (WELL..I HAD A LITTLE HELP)
I've been waiting to have a little time to try this-- a kit that gives you the ingredients you need to make vegan marshmallows that are firm and fluffy and taste justlike the "real thing"! Alice Leonard from New Zealand has a vegan baking and confectionery business, Angel Food:
Alice sells vegan marshmallows, which has taken no small amount of devising since we found out that Emes Kosher Jel was not really vegan, and other kosher jels wouldn't work. Clever lady that she is, she devised a kit that could be easily mailed out internationally to give those of us who don't live in beautiful New Zealand a chance to try her marshmallows, AND have the satisfaction of making them ourselves.
Here's from the Angel Food website:
Fresh marshmallows are the best - and when you make your own, you can eat them as fresh as fresh can be! The world of vegan cuisine is littered with the shattered corpses of those who tried to veganise marshmallows. (Ain't that the truth!--BCG)
Just replace the gelatine (blerrgh!) with agar? Not so simple! Now, Angel Food takes the angst out of the situation with our new make-your-own-vegan-marshmallows kit. It contains all the specialist ingredients for making about 50 good-sized drool-worthy marshies (plus the recipe, of course). You just need to add sugar, water, syrup, vanilla essence and starch or coconut, and you're away!
The kits are only available by mail order and online purchase, and yes, we ship world-wide!"
Alice will send you a bright cardboard envelope containing two packets of ingredients (and the instructions are on the inside of the envelope) that will make these professional-looking fluffy treats-- 36 really big marshmallows, or 50 regular-sized ones, so, for about $8, it's a good price! (You supply your own sugar, vanllla, and a little bit of syrup.)
If you dry the marshmallows in the open air, not touching, for 24 hours, you can then store them in an airtight container for 2 weeks!
Now, I'm not a marshmallow fanatic-- I can live without them, and have done for some years! But, many, many of my readers love them, and I used to love S'Mores as a kid. I thought I would make a vegan version of S'Mores with my homemade "marshies", as Alice calls them, and organic chocolate, etc.. I figured that my grandchildren would enjoy them, too!
Now, I am not a candymaker-- I love experimenting in the kitchen, of course, but not usually with candy thermometers and lots of sugar! However, I assembled everything on my counter and followed Alice's instructions. It takes a little time, but it's easy and the results are fantastic!
This is the contents of the first packet beaten for about 5 minutes with water to a stiff "fluff".
This is the sugar, water and syrup (I used agave nectar) mixture boiling to hard ball stage.
There is another mixture consisting of the contents of the second packet and some water, that you eventually mix with the syrup, and then beat into the white "fluff" with some vanilla.
It certainly looked and felt like real marshmallow batter! Here it is first poured into the pan:
A couple of hours later-- real marshmallows!
NOTE: I used a 9" square pan because I didn't have the 10" square pan Alice called for, so mine are quite think. I cut 36 large marshmallows, but 50 smaller ones, as Alice recommends, would probably be better. You can roll them in coconut or starch.
VEGAN S'MORES (OR "SOPHISTICATED S'MORES", AS I LIKE TO CALL THEM!)
Instead of graham crackers and Hershey bars, I used PC Organics Chocolate Digestive Biscuits (vegan, organic digestive biscuits, which are similar to Graham crackers, but round, with organic dark chocolate on one side). You heat the marshmallow (more about that below) and then sandwich it between two of the biscuits, with the chocolate sides in. The hot marshmallow melts the chocolate, and-- sweet, gooey bliss!
Instead of the above, you can use your favorite vegan, organic chocolate and vegan graham crackers, or vegan digestive biscuits (you might have to make them yourself-- here's a recipe, but you'll have to sub for the milk and butter).
VEGAN GRAHAM CRACKERS (without palm oil): (Updated Nov. 27, 2016)
Some bulk graham cracker crumbs are vegan-- check the label on the bin (if it's visible) or ask your grocer to let you see the original bag.
The following crackers are "accidentally vegan" and not made with organic or whole foods ingredients (but no palm oil):
Nabisco Original Graham Crackers
Keebler Original Graham Crackers
Keebler Cinnamon Graham Crackers
NOTE: Sweet & Sara's brand contain palm oil.
Another option I have used is to make crumbs out of "animal" crackers-- here are some vegan ones made with organic and/or healthful ingredients. they are often easier to find than vegan Graham crackers and usually not expensive:
Barbara's Bakery Snackanimals Animal Cookies
Trader Joe's Organic Animal Crackers
(Both of the above are organic, whole grain, palm-oil-free, HF-corn syrup-free, but they do contain soy lecithin)
Kirkland Organic Animal Crackers [Costco brand] (ingredient list: http://tinyurl.com/zk8kduq )
Annie's brand Bernie's Animal Farm Cookies
Another option: there are numerous vegan (including GF) graham cracker recipes on the 'Net, if you are into making your own.
About heating the marshmallows:
"My son Mack and I have actually toasted the marshies, on a beach over a tiny little fire tucked into a rock shelf. They were more delicate than I remember standard marshies being when toasted, but they did crust on the outside and melt in the middle."
The wood fire in our heater had gone out, so I couldn't try toasting them on a skewer. One recipe I saw on the internet said you could microwave them, but DON'T! These ones melted in seconds! I ended up placing them on a cake tin and putting them under the broiler for a short time (watch carefully!). They didn't brown, but got soft and hot.
Do give these a try! Enjoy!