links for 2006-05-11

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Vegan Marshmallows, fer real!

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When it comes to vegan foods, the holy grail is an odd one. The thing that most vegans most want, aside from a vegan cheese that’s better than mediocre, is a gelatin-free marshmallow. It makes me think that most vegans subsisted on nothing but s’mores and fluffernutter sandwiches before they gave up animal products.

Vegan Supreme Marshmallows were amazing, but unfortunately they used Emes Kosher Jel, a product thought to be vegan until the company was exposed. Since then, we’ve suffered oh so much waiting for a new vegan marshmallow to make s’mores, Rice Krispy treats, or just eat right out of the bag. There are a few options out there, but the ones I’ve tried have been OK at best. Until now.

Last year, Sweet and Sara, a new bakery in New York City, started developing their own formula. A couple of months into their experimentation, though, the Emes scandal broke and the bakery was nearly done for before they even started. Thankfully, they didn’t give up and kept things running, managing to make what can now be called, unequivocally, the world’s best vegan marshmallow. Go ahead, quote me on that.

There are three varieties of marshmallow available: vanilla made with organic (non-refined) sugar, vanilla made with refined white sugar, and a Mexican chocolate variety. The reason for the two different types of sugar is that the refined white sugar gives a slightly more traditional marshmallow taste, texture, and color, but honestly, I didn’t find much difference between the two. Both were squishy and delicious right out of the box. It took a lot of willpower for me to not devour them all before I even got them from the mailbox to the house.

The chocolate marshmallows took me by surprise, as I’d never tried such a beast. At first the flavor felt wrong, but by the second bite I was appreciating the chocolateness of the experience. I still like plain vanilla better, but can you imagine making s’mores with chocolate marshmallows? That’d be wicked good.

Did someone say s’mores? Yes… yes, I did. The thing is, I didn’t even have to make my own — Sweet and Sara sell premade s’mores as well. These Moon Pie-ish delights have a layer of chocolate poured over a fat layer of marshmallow on top of a graham crust. They’re phenomenal, each bite an eye-rolling delight. But that’s not all… Sweet and Sara also sell peanut butter s’mores! The extra layer of peanut butter adds even more goodness, making for one of the most enjoyable dessert treats I’ve had in a long time. Great, great stuff.

Sweet and Sara Bakery also makes croissants, a toasted coconut marshmallow, and other baked goods available in New York and via mail order. Though they’re not officially open yet and haven’t set prices for all of their products, keep an eye on Sweet and Sara’s site for more information.

The holy grail has arrived by way of Sweet and Sara. Bow down at their feet.