Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vegan Marshmallow FAQs

Will they roast over a campfire?
Yes.  They brown, they melt, they even fluff if you burn them.  You won't be able to tell the difference in the campfire.

How do they freeze?  I'm thinking of making Rocky Road ice cream.
They freeze great.  You will not detect any difference in the texture of the marshmallow when it is frozen.  It will simply be colder.  They do not harden if frozen.

Can I make marshmallow fluff with a version of this recipe?

Seriously, what do I need to do to make marshmallow fluff?
I have no idea.  I haven't tried yet.  Hopefully, I will have a recipe soon! ;-)  My best guess is to add more water to the sugar syrup and/or cook the sugar syrup less.  I would start by using 1 cup of water in the sugar syrup rather than 1/2 cup.  I would also cook it to probably 220 degrees, not 230.  

Can I use vital wheat gluten instead of soy protein isolate?
I attempted to make the fluff part of the recipe with vital wheat gluten.  The result was about 75% as firm as using soy protein isolate.  My best guess is that it would produce a marshmallow somewhere between marshmallow fluff and a firm marshmallow.  I wouldn't recommend using gluten as your protein source, but if you're jonesing for a marshmallow and that's all you got, go for it! 

How did you develop this recipe?
A ton of trial and error.  I also did extensive research on molecular gastronomy, hydrocolloids, and gelatin-based marshmallows.  I documented most of my process primarily at Bryanna Clark Grogan's Vegan Feast Open Cooking Forum and the Post Punk Kitchen Forum.  I also participated in other molecular gastronomy forums.  Many thanks to all of them and to the dozens of kind vegans and molecular gastronomy experts who offered their ideas and support.

Why is it open-source?
My hope is that others will contribute their ideas on how to make basic marshmallow recipe even better.  

You have a copyright on your variations of the basic recipe.  Why?
I wanted all vegans to have access to a basic marshmallow recipe that works.  Someone needed to establish the science of making a vegan marshmallow for all to see.  Variations beyond that come from my ideas and creativity.  That's the art of cooking that I believe is my own.  Do I smell a cookbook in the works?  You never know...  


  1. I made my first attempt at these last night and they taste great etc. but they finished marshmallows keep absorbing the powdered sugar I put on them and going sticky again, what did I do wrong?

    1. Hi there, I haven't made this recipe yet but totally plan on it asap. I am however a pastry chef, and what I can tell you about traditional meringues/marshmellows/sugar is that sugar is hygroscopic. So anytime you have a lot of sugar in a goodies and you leave it out it gets sticky, like a lolli. Meringue is especially susceptible to moisture. Never make meringue on a rainy day!
      You might want to try to whip the meringue until the bowl has cooled. Or cut back on your sugar.

  2. Interesting issue. I haven't run into that but I have some suspicions of what the issue could be. Do they hold their shape firmly? Do you keep them in an air-tight container? Did you put them in the fridge while they were hot?

    Absorbing powdered sugar means there is excess moisture somewhere, either in the marshmallow or outside the marshmallow.

    I'm trying to figure out where that moisture might be coming from...

  3. They hold their shape fairly well, but could be a little firmer. They were still quite warm when they went in the fridge and they were left in the fridge overnight open to the air and they haven't been in an airtight container.
    I used the no-corn syrup recipe and replaced guar gum with xanthan and Genutine with a product called Vegeset which doesn't have the locust bean in it.

  4. Ah. I see. I don't have an explanation for you with different ingredients but if you got marshmallows in the end, great work! If you write up what you did in a recipe and take a picture, I will make it a post on this site! Especially in the UK, lots of people are looking for local ingredients to use to make them. Great to hear.

    You can send it to:

  5. I will be trying again with a different gelling agent, Dr Oetkers Vege-gel which does have locust bean gum. Not sure if that was anything to do with the moisture issue.
    Should I be waiting for the mixture to cool before I put it in the fridge?
    I'm writing up my attempts at the marshmallows as well as other recipes containing hard to find ingredients in the UK on my blog ( http://veganquest.blogspot.com/ ) Feel free to copy/paste anything I've written if you think it will help :D

  6. Cool! Will do. The only thing I can think with the fridge is that warm marshmallows in a cold fridge could cause condensation. If nothing else, you could roll them in powdered sugar again just before you serve them. You could also try a mix of powdered sugar and rice four which tends to resist moisture more,

  7. I will try that next time, I have rice flour in my pantry :)

  8. I got my hands on some Versawhip to use for the fluff. When I tried it as the 5T of soy protein isolate in the receipe, my kitchen looked like the Sta-Puf marshmallow man exploded. It was nothing like the fluff pictures on you blog. Any idea of how to substitute it down?

  9. Hi Dave,

    Quick question about the genutine vegetarian gelatine. Now I understand it's part Carageenan and part Locust Bean Gum. Would you have any Idea as to what percentage of each it is made of? because it's far cheaper to source both ingredients individually.

  10. I admit I have not tried to decipher the recipe. My guess is that it is predominantly carrageenan.