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Vegan marshmallows used to be one of those items on the "I miss eating..." list for many vegans. Then Chicago Vegan Foods stepped in to save the day in 2009 with the creation of Dandies.
Vegans avoid conventional marshmallows because they contain gelatin, which is derived form boiling animal bones, ligaments, and tendons.
It's widely used because it works as a binding agent, keeping all that delicious sugar together.
If you stopped eating marshmallows for that very reason, there's no need to miss the gooey goodness anymore. There are a few great alternatives out there.
Dandies taste exactly like gelatin-based marshmallows and more importantly, they roast perfectly for S'mores and they puff up perfectly for Rice Crispy treats. They are truly revolutionary. The company is even making pumpkin flavored marshmallows in the fall and Peeps shaped marshies in the spring.
They are air-puffed just like our old favorite campfire marshmallows, and evidently they cook the same way too.
That means you can roast them over a fire and expect delicious s'mores! You can throw them in hot chocolate, melt them for rice crispies treats, put them on top of your Thanksgiving yam casserole, and anything else your heart desires!
You can order Dandies online from Vegan Essentials, which is my favorite online retailer for all things vegan food and clothing. Dandies are also available in health food stores, and you can even find them in most of the major grocery stores now.
Sweet & Sara makes tasty vegan marshmallows from cane sugar in vanilla and toasted coconut. These little guys can even be toasted for smores. They sell for about $6 for 12 marshmallows, so they aren't cheap, but they are delicious!
If you live near New York, you can actually find Sweet & Sara at their store. I've heard they have killer s'mores to go along with their homemade marshmallows.
Angel Food makes a cool marshmallow kit that allows you to experiment with the flavors. You just add sugar, water, syrup, vanilla, and cornstarch, and you have about 50 fluffy guys for only $6. It's fun to add ingredients and make specialty vegan marshmallows.
Evidently, making the Angel Food marshmallows takes little more than a good stand mixer, a candy thermometer, and a little patience. I've heard they are as good as the 'real' thing.
There's also another brand from Vegan Sweets called simply, 'Marshmallows' that are made without gelatin. These marshmallows have been hard to find recently and they have listed that they are reformulating the recipe.
Are you looking for that delicious fluff you had when you were a child? There is always Ricemellow creme! This fluff is made by Suzanne's Specialties, and uses brown rice syrup as a sweetener. It comes in the same type of tub we are used to.
I love this stuff-- I think it's actually sweeter than the old stuff, and it can be used in any recipes that used to call for fluff.
Don't be fooled by a brand called Vegan Supreme Marshmallows, by Emes Kosher-Jel. They are actually made with gelatin and therefore, not vegan in any way, shape, or form.
You can make a ton of amazing vegan marshmallows with aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas (other beans work as well, but I prefer the mild flavor and color of white beans for this type of treat.) There are tons of recipes online, but the basic recipe calls for whipping aquafaba with sugar and a thickener in a stand mixer until it reaches stiff peaks, and then baking them at a low temperature until hardened.