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Apr 21, 2013 11:16 AM

Anyone ever try Vegan Jel by Natural Desserts?

Someone told me that 'Vegan Jel by Natural Desserts' is a better analog for gelatin than agar agar, etc because it reacts to heat similarly. Has anyone tried it?

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  1. Pretty sure I tried it a few years ago (flavored versions) when DH had severe diverticulitis and was forced onto a liquid diet for days. I bought it at Whole Foods, as it was the only vegan gelatin dessert that they carried (looking at an image on Google, I'm pretty sure this was the brand I got). It was easy to prepare...similar to Jello of long ago. I have tried making agar desserts in the past using agar agar without success. I was never was able to get the agar flakes to dissolve properly...this from a gal used to making agar plates in the lab with NO PROBLEM!

    1. I made panna cotta with it tonight and it went well. Granted, I've never made panna cotta before, but it set well and it was pretty easy to use. My only issue was that the powder is kinda clumpy, but I've never used gelatin powder before, so I don't know if this is different.

      11 Replies
      1. re: CloggieGirl

        Can you taste it in the panna cotta? I mean, does the jel have a flavor of its own?

        1. re: plantsvsme

          Nope. They have flavored "jels" for a jello-o analog but this was unflavored.

          I wrote the review before I had eaten more than a quick taste from the top. The bottom wasn't as set. I haven't made panna cotta before and had to alter the recipe on the fly, so it may have been user error.

          1. re: CloggieGirl

            Hey, thanks for the followup. I haven't attempted anything gelled since a failed attempt at marshmallows. Maybe it's time.

            1. re: plantsvsme

              Yes. It's time! My next dessert attempt will be butterscotch pudding from scratch with soy milk, since I found the butterscotch flavoring. I tried making vanilla pudding once but it ended up a thicker version of creme anglaise. Not one to cry over spilled milk, I used it to dress up some store-bought desserts. However, I haven't attempted any puddings or custards since.

              1. re: CloggieGirl

                Rather than use butterscotch flavoring, I highly recommend you make it yourself. Just brown sugar and butter melted together! If you are vegan (I'm ovo-lacto veg, so I use the butter), you could use vegan margarine. I've also found that almond milk or coconut milk gives far superior results over soymilk in puddings. Try this recipe for a vegan version....and don't use that artificial flavoring!

                1. re: Science Chick

                  The flavoring is consistent, distributes well and doesn't alter fat or liquid contents. Also, brown sugar and butter tastes like brown sugar and butter, not the same as butterscotch.

                  1. re: CloggieGirl

                    I'm glad you found a product you like working with. But I'm pretty sure that butterscotch *is* brown sugar, butter and cream cooked down.

                    What is it you perceive is missing that the flavoring contains? I was simply voicing my preference for real, natural butterscotch, as opposed to an artificial flavoring.

                    1. re: Science Chick

                      As the link you posted notes, there isn't an exact recipe for butterscotch out there, neither in content nor proportion. Since I had to guess at the proportions you were suggesting, similar combinations seem like brown sugar or caramel.

                      Also, my post was on whether people had used the gelling agent, not whether or not you approve of my using an 'artificial' flavor.

                      1. re: CloggieGirl

                        No offense intended.....and certainly no "disapproval". I was just voicing my preference and providing information in case you may not realize that it isn't difficult to make, if you are going to the trouble of making homemade pudding anyway. This is a public forum, and I usually welcome people's opinions on the general topic at hand....never know when you are going to get a useful piece of info ;).

                        I still am wondering what you find lacking in the sugar/butter concoctions that this flavoring has. Is there a sort of rum-like infusion? I've tasted butter-rums that are really yummy, and I was wondering if that was what you were going for.

                        1. re: Science Chick

                          Butterscotch "flavoring" is pretty nasty. If you are already using other substitutions, I suggest flavoring it naturally.

                          1. re: JudiAU

                            I agree, but if the OP likes the flavoring she has procured, that's certainly her call. It seems like there is some flavor note in the flavoring that she prefers that isn't in traditional butterscotch recipes, but I don't know what that is. C'mon, CloggieGirl, fill us in!!

      2. I just heard about this product last month and haven't had the chance to try it. I'd love to know if anyone has had success using it for marshmallows, as my attempts using agar agar and xanthan gum both failed. Thanks!

        8 Replies
        1. re: Laura D.

          Did you try the MM recipes from this site ?

          I haven't... but lots of searching and I've yet to find any definitive vegetarian/vegan MM online recipe or discussion. Maybe it needs to be here :


          Can I nominate Marshmallows for Vegetarian recipe of the month? Year?

          1. re: youareabunny

            I've tried the ones with xanthan gum but not the ones with agar (at least not this particular recipe...I made some kind of agar recipe years ago). The xanthan gum ones were okay, but wouldn't hold their shape.

            Thanks for the link, though!

            1. re: Laura D.

              I've read some blogs that used the khymos recipes with success. It's presented so simple yet science-y that it just has to work! I've yet to delve in myself (I think I want a scale that measures to the tenths, first).

              1. re: youareabunny

                I'm excited to try it. Thanks again for posting as a vegetarian/vegan marshmallow recipe that actually yields successful results is something I've been looking for for well over a decade. Thanks!

                1. re: Laura D.


                  Two blogs that have used the khymos XG marshmallows recipe with success! It seems a key difference is that they are set and possible stored in the refrigerator.

                  Turns out I've got XG in the cupboard so I will try it out soon. Please post when you do!!

                  1. re: youareabunny

                    I feel like I was having a senior moment during one of my last posts. So, the xanthan gum recipe that is on the khymos website is from Elizabeth Faulkner's book. That is actually the recipe I tried without success, though, in all fairness, it was more successful than previous attempts using agar and some other gelling agent. Let me know how yours turn out because I'd be willing to try the recipe again given that I have xanthan gum too. From what I remember, the spread of the marshmallows was annoying but tolerable. Even when storing them in thr fridge they tended to grow over time. But, the taste just wasn't what I wanted. The homemade marshmallow trend wasn't very popular when I stopped eating marshmallows, so perhaps I'm unsure what a good quality homemade marshmallow is supposed to taste like. But, I actually enjoy the spring/chew of an air-puffed "commercial" marshmallow and believe I was disappointed in how flat, dense, and non-airy the marshmallows from this recipe seemed to be. I hope they work for you, though. Keep us posted

                    1. re: Laura D.

                      A long time ago I made Falkner's Demolition Desserts recipe for marshmallows, the one using xantham gum and egg whites. I guess you could say it turned out, but I didn't like the flavor at all.

                      It could it have been user error, though.

                      1. re: plantsvsme

                        I don't remember being in love with the flavor either. I'm not sure what exactly I didn't like--I probably made them 3-4 years ago--but I didn't like the flavor enough to perfect the texture issues by making the recipe again.