Saturday, May 2, 2009
Now that I've become fairly adept at making vegan jello, I thought I'd try my hand at vegan marshmallows. Marshmallows are made with gelatin-an animal product, and there is no real exact substitution for gelatin in the vegan world. There are some plant derived ingredients that have similar properties to gelatin. There is agar agar which is made from seaweed, carrageenan which is also made from seaweed, pectin which is made from citrus fruit, and gum arabic and other gums which are made from tree sap.
There are now some jel dessert products available, which can take the place of gelatin in many recipes. The most well known of these is made by Eames and is a kosher product. There were some reports made several years ago that there were in fact some animal ingredients in the Eames jel. I really don't know if this is true or not, but I don't use Eames, and instead use the other brands. A great resource for vegan products is http://www.veganessentials.com/.
So, vegan marshmallows are notoriously hard to make. In fact, I think that there is only one company that makes them-Sweet & Sarah. Their marshmallows are really good and taste much like the real thing. You can even use them for s'mores.
There is also a product made from rice which is somewhat of an imitation of marshmallow fluff. It's called ricemellow, and it's pretty good. You can not use it to make marshmallows though.
If you do want to try making vegan marshmallows, here is a very comprehensive recipe. It's from "125 Best Cupcake Recipes" by Julie Hasson-it's one of my favorite baking books. This is the recipe I used. I was fairly happy with how my marshmallows came out, but I need lots more practice to get them right. I found them to be too sweet, but maybe that's just me and they should be that sweet. Also, they were not very spring-y, but this could be because I somehow messed up the recipe. It's a pretty long recipe, and I tend to do several things at once. The recipe will of course make white marshmallows. I added some red food coloring to the mixture because I love pink food. I love pastel food in general. You can now buy natural food colorings made from foods such as beets and berries. Look for them at your natural foods store, or online.
Then here it is...
Vegan Marshmallow Recipe
3 tablespoons Eames Kosher Jel ( I used a different brand)
1/2 cup water
For the syrup:
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cornstarch
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine jel powder and water, stirring just until mixed. Let stand for 30 minutes.
After the jel has been sitting for 25 minutes, beginning preparing the syrup. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Stir until dissoved. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and cook, without stirring, for 3 minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture boil over.
Increase heat to high. Uncover and continue cooking, without stirring, until firm-ball stage (248F). This will happen very quickly. Do not overcook the syrup because it will make the marshmallows tough.
Remove from heat and pour syrup slowly over jel mixture. Using the wire whisk attachment on the stand mixer, beat mixture on high speed for 15 to 20 minutes or until very thick and fluffy, and mixture increases in volume and climbs up the side of the bowl. When mixture is done, beat in vanilla.
Dusting mixture: Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Using a small, flat-bottomed metal measuring cup, pack 1/2 cup of the mixture into the pan. Reserve excess cornstarch mixture.
Scoop marshmallow mixture into prepared pan, smoothing the top as best you can. Coat top with some of the cornstarch mixture. Reserve remaining cornstarch mixture. Let marshmallows stand, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours or until dry and somewhat firm to the touch.
When marshmallow is dry, invert it onto a cutting board dusted with a bit of the cornstarch mixture. Cut marshmallow into squares with kitchen scissors or into desired shapes with a metal cookie cutter dusted with cornstarch. Dust marshmallow pieces with remaining cornstarch mixture to coat. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Before serving, lightly shake off extra cornstarch.
If you're going to attempt vegan marshmallows, I wish you good luck. If you have any questions, please comment, or e-mail me.