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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegetarianism in the News

Ju1y, 2009 -- Vegparadise News Bureau

Superannuated Grandma Perfects
Vegan Marshmallows Recipe

For years vegans did not experience denial--they could produce their own gelatin-free marshmallows using a gelatin substitute purported to be vegan. They didn't realize that the producers of Emes Kosher Jel had hoodwinked the public for into believing their product was completely animal free.

When Vegetarians in Paradise blew the whistle on the company in August 2005, vegan marshmallow lovers were in a funk, denied the possibility of creating their own successful home version. Even two companies using Emes Kosher Jel in their recipes ceased operations: Sweet and Sara Vegan Marshmallows halted production to reformulate. Vegan Supreme Marshmallows closed its doors forever.

Marshmallows Undaunted, kitchen experimenters continued to mix all kinds of ingredients to formulate the perfect vegan marshmallow, but were unable to recreate the idyllic white fluffy sweet treat.

In May 2009 Vegetarians in Paradise received an email from Jeanette Sutton, a superannuated grandmother in New Zealand informing us that she had created a vegan marshmallow in her kitchen. We understood the grandmother part, but we had no clue about superannuated. A quick look at our online dictionary led us to exclaim, "Oh that's how the Kiwis refer to a retired person in their country."

Sutton's email led us to her two websites, eggfreebaking.com and meatandeggfree.com where she provides recipes and sells e-books with recipes for people who want to avoid these ingredients. On her websites net surfers can find the recipe for JEANETTE'S EGGFREE MARSHMALLOWS that we are reprinting below:


Yield: 40 to 50 marshmallows

IMPORTANT: This recipe requires at least a handheld electric beater and preferably an electric cake mixer. See NOTES below.

    3/4 cup (180 ml) sugar
    1 tablespoon corn flour or cornstarch
    5 teaspoons powdered agar agar (not flavoured)
    1/4 cup (60 ml) palm sugar (grate if in a block form)
    2 tablespoons glucose powder (optional)
    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water
    2 1/2 tablespoons soy protein isolate
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon tartaric acid
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1/8 teaspoon gum (xanthan, guar, or acacia)
    6 tablespoons cold water
    2 teaspoons vanilla essence or extract

Spray a 30 x 20cm (12 x 8 inch) Swiss roll pan well, then dust with potato, corn or tapioca flour.

In a medium-size saucepan place the sugar, corn flour, agar agar, palm sugar and powdered glucose, if using, and whisk until combined. Whisk in the water and heat, stirring, until the mixture comes to the boil. Cook at a rolling simmer for 15 minutes stirring from time to time. Remove saucepan from the heat and carefully add the vanilla essence (or peppermint or raspberry essences if wished).

In the meantime, sift the dry ingredients into a medium-size bowl. Add the water and beat until increased in volume and fluffy-ish (about 10 minutes). Set aside.

With electric beaters or cake mixer running, carefully pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of agar mixture into the fluffy mixture to slacken it. Add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of agar and repeat. Now you can safely pour the rest of the agar mixture in at a steady stream until it is all used up (this should take no longer than 2 minutes -- any longer and the agar could start to jell). Continue beating the mixture until it is warmer than lukewarm and risen in volume (cooler than that and it will start setting in the bowl).

Spread into the prepared Swiss roll pan. Cover with a sheet of baking paper and press down lightly to smooth the surface and get mixture into the corners. Set aside to cool and firm up (about an hour).

To turn out, remove the baking paper. Dust a chopping board with potato, corn or tapioca flour or desiccated coconut. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Then holding the pan of marshmallow upside down above the dusted board give it a sharp jerk downwards keeping your fingers out of the way. The marshmallow will drop out onto the board. With a sharp knife cut the marshmallow into squares. Coat each individual square well with potato, corn or tapioca flour, cocoa powder or desiccated coconut.

The marshmallow is now ready to eat. If you want to keep it overnight, leave it to air on a bench (covered with a paper napkin) at room temperature.


  • Make sure you are using unflavoured soy protein isolate not hydrolysed soy protein which has MSG in it or the flavoured soy drink powder with added extras. Soy protein isolate can be bought in the health or sports department in supermarkets, health and sports shops or over the internet.
  • Palm sugar can be obtained at supermarkets or Asian groceries. I love the flavour it imparts and it also helps to disguise the agar and soy protein flavours or use Muscovada or Demerara sugar if you wish. If you are unable to source any of these just use 1 cup (240 ml) of plain, raw or golden sugar.
  • Tartaric acid can be exchanged for citric acid.
  • Guar, xanthan or acacia gums can be bought in supermarkets and health food, or bulk bin shops or over the internet.
  • Glucose powder is available in supermarkets but it's cheaper at bulk bin shops.
  • Baking soda is bicarbonate soda.
  • I prefer to use potato flour to coat the marshmallows. Potato starch liquefies at a low temperature so does not need further heat processing to cook the starch particles unlike cornflour.
  • Don't attempt to make any sort of marshmallows in damp weather as they won't be anywhere as successful as ones made on fine sunny days.
  • MINT MARSHMALLOWS -- Omit the vanilla essence/extract. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of peppermint essence/extract and tint the mixture pale green with a few drops of vegan friendly food coloring.
  • RASPBERRY MARSHMALLOWS -- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons raspberry essence/extract until the marshmallow is pale pink.
Sutton offers some practical suggestions like not lifting the beaters from the bowl while the motor is running and soaking the used utensils in warm water at the end of the project.

She also extols the virtues of working with agar and advises that working slowly with agar is not a problem because it can be reheated to return it to a liquid state. The recipe can be accomplished in thirty minutes and the marshmallows are ready to eat in an hour and should be eaten in couple of days. She specifies the need for unflavored soy protein isolate and offers suggestions for substitutions for other ingredients.

"I'm delighted to report it toasts beautifully," says Sutton. She also suggests they be used in making s'mores or spooned into vegan ice cream cones and covered with sprinkles instead of being left to set on a baking pan.

The marshmallow quest began with the publication of her EggFree Baking Cookbook. In the preamble to the marshmallow shortcake recipe she said the recipe was a work in progress. She was frustrated in her efforts because she couldn't create a finished product she found satisfactory.

Sutton decided to purchase a Marshmallows Kit from Angel Food. The ingredients in the kit were modified starch (sago), rice starch, agar, and emulsifiers 475 (polyglycerol esters of fatty acids) and 471 (mono-and diglycerides of fatty acids). These emulsifiers can sometimes be derived from animals, but the label states that all ingredients are plant-derived. Alice Leonard who operates Angel Food, has been a vegan since 2004.

Encouraged by Leonard's efforts, Sutton decided to continue her experimentation. A stroke of fortune was her discovery of the properties of soy protein isolate, but finding it in her rural area was a problem, but not for her brother who brought some from the city. Using the soy protein isolate, she produced satisfactory marshmallows on first try.

"At last I was able to put the recipe on the net and let people know that vegan marshmallows are possible to make at home," says Sutton. "If you are fond of soft marshmallows, my favorite, then this is the recipe for you."

Sutton's e-books available at meatandeggfree.com are Family Meals, 101 Eggfree Muffins, and The Eggfree Baking Book.

MeatandEggFree.com Since her family is not vegetarian, Sutton faces a few challenges. "While there are only two of us at home now, I'm still required to provide a meat component for dinner," she says. Her husband is 80, and she does not expect him to change his eating habits although he does eat some vegetarian meals.

"I'm passionate about promoting a wholesome diet, in my case a mix of lacto-vegetarian and vegan and keeping myself fit and active as possible," she says. Fit and active involves "tramping" a rugged 3 kilometers every day.

Sutton's two website adventure began in 2006 as a family enterprise. Her grandson Steven developed the format and structure of the site. Steven is involved in a company called Unlimited Fun that develops and hosts websites. Son Bruce set up the book sale page and the Pay Pal account. They both then turned the project over to her.

"I'm responsible for all the text, new pages, and the day to day running of both sites. I also add photos to http://www.meatandeggfree.com," she says. "Some days the websites take up much of my day dealing with emails, adding a new recipe, creating a new page, or writing another piece for Jeanette's Articles. It all eats into my time to develop new recipes or write books. Currently, I'm working on Cooking for One or Two."

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