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Feb 12, 2013 10:25 PM

Agar marshmallows?

Hello everyone. For a few days now i have been researching marshmallow recipes. It seems like the question of marshmallows that use agar instead of gelatin has come up a bunch of times in a number of threads, but I have yet to see a recipe that seems to definitively work.

So is there a recipe for marshmallows that uses agar that's been well tested and DEFINITELY works, and (obviously) tastes good. It would be awesome if it didn't use corn syrup either. I don't care if it has eggs in the recipe or not.

The reason I ask is because I have not been able to find gelatin sold anywhere near me and I'd like to make marshmallows today or tomorrow. Also gelatin sorta freaks me out. I do however, have a whole bunch of agar agar powder.

As far as I understand, agar doesn't have protein in it, and this somehow makes agar marshmallows fail. Eggs have protein in them, so can't I just use agar instead of gelatin in a recipe that uses egg whites?

Oh yes, lastly I'll mention that the marshmallows will be used in rice crispy treats, so maybe it doesn't matter if they hold shape?

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      1. re: wattacetti

        Thank you! This link looks really great. I guess you have tried the agar marshmallow recipe then?

        As far as I understand, corn syrup is in marshmallows basically to keep the mouthfeel smooth; basically so you don't taste the sugar crystals. Lots of people report success with invert sugar or honey.
        Do you think either of them would be okay in this recipe, or is there something about the interaction of corn syrup and agar I'm missing?

        1. re: BakedVanilla

          Yes I have tried the agar marshmallows. Martin's guide is an excellent sourcebook for recipes as they are recipes that have been tested in the wild.

          I had corn syrup around when I made the marshmallows but haven't tried with honey. You'd probably have to experiment to verify what proportions work best for the application.

          1. re: wattacetti

            I can't speak to agar specifically, but honey worked for me in gelatin marshmallows. Even light honey added a strong, distinctive flavor, though.

      2. Regarding finding gelatin, in the USA, the most commonly available form is Knox plain gelatin. It's in a small box with four envelopes. Apparently in Europe sheet gelatin is readily available, judging, at least, by recipes for an ISI cream whipper. Sheet gelatin is also used by professional cooks in the USA.

        Puffed wheat squares are a similar sweet that does not use marshmallow
        While the recipes call for puffed wheat, I don't see why puffed rice couldn't be used in the same way.

        I have used Marshmallow Fluff in rice krispy bars. It has the same taste, but a spread like consistency, similar to melted marshmallows. Ingredients are: "Marshmallow Fluff contains Corn Syrup, Sugar Syrup, Dried Egg Whites and Vanillin." bars with fluff

        I bet there's a homemade Fluff recipe out there.
        A British krispie bar using Golden Syrup.
        US Rice Krispie bars without marshmallows
        US recipe with melted marshmallows (the gelatin is not needed)

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          I have really looked all over the place for plain gelatin, and no one seems to carry it in the tiny town I live in. I already have the agar, so I figure, why not use that? Someone's gotta have a recipe that works, but the net seems full of agar marshmallow fails, which sort of scares me.

          The recipe for the puffed wheat squares looks pretty interesting, but I'm pretty sure the brown sugar would definitely lend a flavor that I'm not looking for in this case, as would golden syrup.

          By the way, I always thought fluff was made out of marshmallows, but apparently it doesn't need the gelatin?! This may in fact be the solution here, assuming fluff will make good rice crispy treats.

        2. I hope this is isn't a dumb question, but can you just buy marshmallows? I've made rice crispy treats but I didn't make the marshmallow from scratch, I just melted down a packet of bought ones.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ursy_ten

            The reason I haven't bought marshmallows, vegan or otherwise, is because all the ones sold near me seem to be laden with corn syrup. If I use them, the other people I live with will not eat them, which may be all the better for me anyway. Mwahahaha!!

            It seems also like something I really should be able to make. All the recipes I've seen make it look easy and fun to do. I sure do love any recipe involving a candy thermometer.

          2. If you're just making rice krispie treats, you don't need proper marshmallows. You could make agar-based marshmallow fluff and it would hold the cereal bars together. The success or failure of agar marshmallows as structured items that hold their shape are irrelevant in this use, so your agar should be fine regardless.

            Also, I replaced the corn syrup with honey to make a honey-spice marshmallow that was very popular.

            8 Replies
            1. re: LisaPA

              a rice crispy treats recipe that uses agar agar and honey, and BROWN rice crisp cereal. Must be healthy! :)

              1. re: paulj

                I made rice crispy treats once with rice syrup, tehina and brown rice cereal. For something so healthy, they were unbelievably delicious.

                1. re: almond tree

                  and the Cliff bar lawyers didn't send you a cease and desist letter? :)

                    1. re: almond tree

                      oops, wrong number of 'f's.

                      "Ingredients: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, ClifPro® (Soy Rice Crisps ..., Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Toasted Oats ... ClifCrunch® ..., ..."

                  1. re: almond tree

                    I made similar ones with Sunbutter for a kids' cooking class and they were a hit with the children *and* the parents.

                2. re: LisaPA

                  Thank you for the advice, I think I'll make fluff as per your suggestion.
                  Do you have any idea what the agar is supposed to do in such a recipe, since it's not there to hold shape? I have read that adding agar contributes to a chewy, as opposed to a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
                  I was thinking of perhaps omitting it altogether and making a fluff recipe like this one:
                  I would substitute the corn syrup with invert sugar syrup.

                  By the way, I have also read somewhere that to get agar marshmallows to really work, you want to add something like soy protein isolate, which I do have. It's the kind that's sold as a health food supplement; I believe my husband got it at GNC. Has anyone here tried making agar-soy protein isolate marshmallows? Even though I'm making rice crispies out of these, I'd still like a vegetarian marshmallow recipe that works. After all, homemade marshmallows=yum.

                  1. re: BakedVanilla

                    Vegan mashmallows
                    it uses guar gum, and Genutine Vegetarian Gelatin (carrageenan)

                    I wonder if the soy protein isolate is a substitute for egg whites.


                3. Hi, you mention you can't find plain gelatin. How about regular flavored gelatin? I've seen some recipes that use that in order to make flavored marshmallows.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                    This might be a better idea BakedVanilla, depending on how you go about things. Once agar is set, heat won't melt it again (I just did a bit of research - I didn't know this when I posted before). So if you make the marshmallows, then set them, and then make the rice crispies, it might not all happen like it would if you used gelatin based marshmallows.

                    I don't know for sure, it's just an educated guess.

                    Best of luck whichever way you go!