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Anyone attempted Elizabeth Falkner's Vegetarian Marshmallows?

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In Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts, she has a variation for her marshmallow recipe that uses xantham gum instead of gelatin. I made my first batch last night and it came out more fluff-like than solid. I am not sure if this is just the limitation of this ingredient or other user error.

It seems like most of the online chatter around vegetarian 'mallows are for recipes and methods that use agar-agar, so I am not sure where to start with troubleshooting. I am okay with the idea these might not be quite the same as regular marshmallows, but just not sure how far I should expect to get, and what other elements are under my control.

If anyone has also given it a shot and has any tips, I'd appreciate it. I am trying to make them as a bday gift for someone in early December, although there is a good chance I will now swap this with her Xmas gift since I get the feeling there are a lot of failed batches in my future...

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  1. I will take that as a general no.

    Well, in case anyone else ever searches on this in the future, the marshmallows turn out a lot better when you use actual xanthan gum. It was gently pointed out to me that the ingredient that had been sitting in my pantry, and that, in my head, WAS xanthan gum, was in fact agar agar. While, as noted, it is possible to make them with agar agar, it's a whole different process, so that's why it didn't work. Magically, when you make the marshmallows with the proper ingredient for the recipe you are using, they turn out a heck of a lot better. Who knew?

    Try the rose saffron ones if you do, and know that you are apparently part of a very exclusive club of xanthan gum marshmallow makers. There might just be two of us.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ThreeBowls

      I just made a version of this recipe with xanthan gum (found on line, I don't have the book, so I can't confirm how similar/different it is). It's in the refrigerator now, so I can't comment on the final product (will do so later/tomorrow), but it's looking to be successful...I think!

    2. I just made Faulkner's recipe and found that so far it seems good but not great. I wouldn't call my ene result fluff-like, since it is solid, but it isn't quite as fluffy as I would like (I would definitely chill the marshmallows for longer than an hour next time, as they seemed to deflate/stretch/collapse a bit when I cut them after only an hour...they were never as fluffy/puffy as I'd hoped, though). That being said, I am thinking about making this recipe again but perhaps whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks before adding the syrup, as another marshmallow recipe I found online (it is with gelatin) says to do this with the egg whites, and says that the marshmallows produced with this recipe are very fluffy, which is what I am going for. I thought perhaps a higher number of egg whites would produce more fluffiness, but this other recipe I found doesn't use any more egg whites for a similar ratio of ingredients than Faulkner's. Anyway, after being on a quest for a vegetarian (not necessarily vegan) marshmallow recipe for close to ten years now I'd say Faulkner's is good but not life-changing. I'll report back if I have more to say once they've sat longer and once I've actually tasted them in their final form. If nothing else I'm sure they'll taste nice toasted for smores or made into some other baked good. Oh, one more thing I can say about flavor--I think that some vanilla extract (in addition to the vanilla bean) or perhaps another extract would make the flavor of these better, as right now they seem kind of bland. Thanks!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Laura D.

        Laura D.,
        Curious, did yours hold shape like a cut marshmallow with gelatin might/should? Mine tasted great, but really were rather gooey. Not quite runny, but didn't hold its form.

        1. re: jayaymeye

          Mine have been getting worse and worse as the last 24 hours have progressed. They went from being a bunch of soft marshmallows that held their form but weren't as puffy as I would have liked, to one large marshmallow glob since all of the individual marshmallows have pretty much melted into one big glob of a substance that is slightly less sticky and slightly more firm than fluff. While it might be a bit hot in my kitchen, I don't think that this was the underlying problem nor do I think this caused the spread. So, I'll either continue my hunt for a worthwhile recipe or will perhaps work on modifying this one. Just as an FYI, taste-wise I think I like the marshmallows better in their softened form than I originally did, though I'm still not jumping through hoops. Thanks!

          1. re: Laura D.

            yeahhhh....I had a similar experience. I suspect the stuff could be kept and scooped out, a la fluff, but that was sorta not the point of the recipe for me. I've got other recipes for marshmallow fluff/creme; I wanted one that yielded marshmallows that hold their shape. So far, no luck...