Tuesday, 6 November 2012

I nailed vegan marshmallows! (gluten free, too)

I used scissors to cut some of the marshmallows into mini heart shapes

Next time I'll colour some pink, and maybe dust them with edible glitter...

Yes, it's true! Actually, it was totally by accident, but so what ;-) ? I ended up with sweet, soft and squishy marshmallows and the kids were delighted: let me tell you the story...
I was in Holland and Barrett at the weekend and a packet of Orgran "No Egg" caught my eye, because there on the front was a photo of what looked like meringue. If only I could make vegan meringue..! My desire came from two sources; firstly, I remembered the yummy meringue desserts my mum used to make in my childhood pre-veg days and wished I could somehow make an eggless version for my own family, and secondly, we had been watching "The Great British Bakeoff" and it gave the kids ideas about meringues, macaroons, marshmallows and suchlike. I didn't want them to feel left out or perhaps even to be tempted to eat eggy/ gelatine-y, chemical-laden rubbish from the shops. So anyway, when I looked on the packet, sure enough there was a recipe for vegan meringue. Sold! -But then on the way home I noticed that the recipe required pectin, which I couldn't find in the two supermarkets I passed by, so I thought I'd have a go at the meringue anyway, substituting the pectin with agar flakes. And then I go home, and -horror!- found I was out of agar flakes...what to do? I noticed some arrowroot in my baking cupboard so decided to have a go with that. Of course, the meringues did not hold their shape, and what I ended up with were flat, crunchy, gluten-free cookies. (Which actually went down very well with jam on!) BUT- I had realised the meringue wouldn't stay in shape, so I had put a thicker layer of some mixture into dampened silicone cupcake moulds. As I was checking out my creations every 15 minutes or so while they cooked , I broke some of the cupcake-case mixture off and realised I had made...MARSHMALLOWS!!! I was so excited I rang up my daughter, who was at a friend's house, and rushed upstairs with a sample for my grownup stepson, too! After that, I stashed some of them in a bag and hid them away so that I'd have something to photograph in decent light the next morning (and to eat for myself, hehe :)... )
Now my next use for my No-Egg plus arrowroot discovery will be macaroons (or, more correctly, macarons); those colourful, Parisian, oh-so-fashionable confections that seem to be the new cupcakes these days. If I could only nail those too...
So here's my adapted meringue recipe, which makes quite a decent batch of marshmallows, depending on the size you make them, of course.

1/2 cup (250ml) Orgran No Egg
1 cup water
3/4 cup icing sugar (I used unrefined, and got off-white marshmallows)

  • Mix the No-Egg with the water in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix on high speed for 5 minutes. (I used an electric whisk). I noticed the mixture becoming aerated and stiff, but not so stiff as to form peaks, like meringues would.
  • Gradually add the icing sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and carry on mixing on high speed for another 5 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into a dampened silicone mould- maybe a layer in the bottom of a square or oblong cake mould.
  • Cook in an oven preheated to 130C (125C if you have a fan oven.) Next time I might use the dehydrator rather than the oven. I didn't actually time how long it took, but it was probably around half an hour. Keep checking, and when you can peel it away from the bottom of the mould, it's done.
  • Remove from oven, cool and take out of mould. You can now use scissors to cut the marshmallows into any shape you like.
  • If you want, you can add vanilla essence and/ or food colouring just before you add the icing sugar.
  • Store in an airtight container.
This recipe is also going to Radhika's event "I love Baking 9" at her lovely space, "Tickling Palates". If you would like to contribute a recipe (s), her linky's open until the 30th of this month. 







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