August 10th is National S’mores Day. But if you’re a vegetarian or vegan–which means you probably don’t eat gelatin–you may have a hard time with the celebration. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to make your own vegan marshmallows that are gelatin-free and still perfect for roasting.
Gelatin, which helps give most store-bought marshmallows their light, fluffy texture, is a pretty common ingredient. It’s also, when you think about it, kind of yucky. So even if you’re not explicitly vegetarian or vegan, you may want to skip the traditional store-bought kind. Or, maybe it’s all the preservatives that turn you off. Whatever the reason, the recent surge in artisan marshmallows has meant a lot of vegan options–and a lot of vegan marshmallow recipes.
But even before flavored, salted, coated, and yes, even vegan marshmallows were showing up at craft fairs and on Etsy, blogger David Soleil set out to make them more widely available. He created an “open source” recipe for the treat on his blog back in 2009.
His recipe, which you can still check out and use (I’ve linked to it again at the end of this post), hits all the major bases. It has both the sugar component–you’ll be hard-pressed to find a marshmallow recipe that isn’t sugary, but just consider it dessert and treat yourself–and the “fluff” component, which is necessary. He also explains how to mix them perfectly, which is very, very key to a great texture.
However, Soleil’s recipe, like most vegan marshmallow recipes, uses vegan gelatin. Which, if you’re a last-minute planner (like yours truly), you may have a hard time finding if you don’t live near a health food store. But if you have an Asian food market (or even a store that does canning and storage solutions) nearby, you may be able to locate a close second: Agar agar flakes. If you can, this recipe will probably help you out and is just as awesome.
And, if all else fails, order some vegan marshmallows online. Which may seem to defeat the purpose of this most holy of national snacking holidays, but if you’re not much in the kitchen, it may be worth putting it off until you can get some really, really good ones. Sweet and Sara is one of the premier makers of delicious, 100% vegan marshmallows. Dandies is another good option. And, if you do live near a health food store, or at least a store with a lot of vegan options, they may even carry something to that effect.
Alright, ready to get cookin’? Here’s David Soleil’s open source vegan marshmallow recipe. For instructions, head over to his site.
Image: Mat Hayward via Shutterstock