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Jan. 13th, 2008 @ 08:16 pm Vegan marshmallows
Some of you may not know that most commercially available marshmallows are not vegetarian due to the use of animal gelatin made from boiled bones. This is also not an issue for most of you but it is for us.

There used to be this brand of vegan marshmallows which tasted amazing and were quite good, only problem being they used an ingredient (Emes Kosher Gel) which even though the manufacturer assured them was vegan, it was in fact not only not vegan, but in fact made from gelatin. So both the marshmallow company and Emes went out of business pretty fast once this was discovered. And it meant that all these vegans who thought they had found marshmallow paradise had been in fact eating animal, which doesn't go down too well with that kind, knowwhatimsayin.

For a while there were these things in Whole Foods called Vegan Sweets Marshmallows which really were vegan but were these pathetic little beige lumps which may have worked for rice krispie treats but would not have done for s'mores or hot cocoa. They are also no longer available.

I just watched a recent Good Eats where Alton makes marshmallows, and although there's an offhand reference to the use of gum arabic as a gelling agent, and a trip with his nutritional anthroplogist to a marsh where they show us marshmallow root, he makes marshmallows with gelatin, sugar, and corn syrup.

You can actually buy marshmallow root from herbal places, and I've seen reference to boiling the root, making a gel from it, and using that to make real marshmallows, but haven't found a recipe for it yet.

But luckily you can now get real vegan marshmallows from a place in Queens, and they had them at the local Whole Foods.

They're incredible, they're just like the good gourmet marshmallows except no gelatin (replaced with gum arabic, carageenan, and soy protein). They're a little denser than usual, but they are tasty and melt just like the real thing. I made marshmallow treats with them and they are so good.

Now only if they weren't $7 for a tiny tiny box. I'm still on my quest for homemade marshmallow--I may get some agar agar and try Alton's recipe with that instead of gelatin and see what happens. My only concern is that the woman who made the ones I bought apparently spent a year working on the recipe, and I'm sure she tried agar along the way somewhere. But maybe that and the marshmallow root extract. Hmmm....
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Date:January 14th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
If I can just figure out how to get these in Massachusetts, you have ended a very long quest for me. I've tried the agar agar and a Vegetarian Times recipe with no luck (but one very sticky kitchen that we could never get quite clean - we solved that problem by moving out) and had resigned myself to giving up marshmallows.
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Date:January 14th, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)

This place sells them (search for "marshmallows") but are currently out of stock.

I didn't know there was a Vegetarian Times recipe.

Alton Brown made it look really easy. The key was the 15 minutes in the stand mixer.

Date:January 14th, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)
The Veg Times recipe (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061210155524AAIBpbo) doesn't use a candy thermometer, it might work better if you combine this recipe with the temp requirements of a standard recipe.
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Date:January 14th, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC)


"Reduce heat slightly and continue cooking and stirring until sugar mixture thickens and forms strand or ball in cold water."

There's a difference between strand and ball in candy making. I could see why this might not work.

We've got the Vegetarian Times cookbook from a while back, and several of the recipes are just wrong. They don't work. Things like too much water.
Date:February 3rd, 2008 08:11 am (UTC)

Re: Yeah

Boy, have I got some good news for you!! I run a company called Angel food here in New Zealand. After 2.5 years of trial and error, mostly error, we finally have produced a vegan marshmallow to be proud of! We got them into shops just before Christmas and - here's the bit that's exciting for you - I'm now working on a make-your-own vegan marshmallow kit. How's that?! They'll be available by mail order in the next few weeks.