When I became vegetarian a few years ago, I was still learning about what did and didn’t contain animal ingredients. I didn’t even think about marshmallows as a possible culprit, but indeed, they’re not just non-vegan, they’re non-vegetarian. Gelatin, used primarily as a binding agent, is made from a variety of animal parts.
A while back I pointed a recipe for vegan marshmallows, noting that the only companies that made them had since ceased production. Happily, though, this year two new brands of vegan marshmallows hit the market.
Ming from Vegan Supreme Marshmallows was nice enough to send along some marshmallows and Rice Krispy—er, Krispy Rice—Treats to try out.
I tried the Krispy Rice Treats first. The regular certainly tasted like a traditional Rice Krispy Treat, but unfortunately, had gotten a little stale in the time it took to get to me. Refrigerating it helped the problem a bit, but there was definitely still a weird texture about it. Ming confirmed that this is an issue they’re continually trying to fix. So, rest assured, they’re looking for a better solution. On the other hand, the Peanut Butter Treat’s texture was just fine and tasted excellent. Sweet, but not too sweet, and pleasantly chewy. I wouldn’t mind having one of these in my lunch bag every day.
I held off on trying the marshmallows themselves until I could get a few other people in on the testing. I put one bag in the fridge and one bag in the freezer, as suggested, to help restore the normal consistency (they can get a little too squishy in the mail). This certainly did the trick, as the next day they were ready to go in a S’mores-making test with my wife, my sister, and my 5 1/2-year-old niece. The marshmallows melted wonderfully, just like the “real thing” (if using animal products somehow makes something like this more “real”), as you can see in this picture. They stuck to our fingers as we ate the S’mores and certainly met my niece’s approval. There’s no doubt: these will cut the mustard with any audience, vegetarian or otherwise.
For me, though, the real test was how good they tasted by themselves, so we all tried a few straight from the bag. Once again, this is no half-assed vegan substitution, these are honest-to-God marshmallows that will bring memories flooding back to vegans who haven’t tasted one in years. In fact, I’d venture to say they’re even better than I remembered marshmallows tasting. They’re fluffier and definitely fresher tasting than standard store-bought ones.
The marshmallows are made from non-bone-char-refined sugar, water, light corn syrup, Emes vegan gelatin, vanilla extract, corn starch, and sea salt. They’re distributed by Vegan Essentials and a few selected stores. One 10 oz. bag runs about $6 and the Krispy Rice Treats cost $2. Expensive, but Vegan Supreme is a small company that makes the marshmallows from scratch. With time and support, I’m sure the prices will come down.
Pick up a bag online or request them at your local natural food store. Come to think of it, a cup of hot chocolate (vegan, of course) would taste awfully good with some of these right now.