Some of the most seemingly "safe" foods can be big no-no's for those striving to not eat animal products, which is unfortunately the case for the fluffy white sugar clouds we all grew up with, also known as marshmallows. The traditional kind contains gelatin (the end result of boiled horse and pig hooves, blood, and other unappetizing things), but creating a marshmallow and achieving the right consistency can be difficult without it.
Enter Dandies (by vegan company Chicago Soydairy): the super sweet, sugary, and fluffy vegan marshmallows. I guarantee you, these things taste JUST like the real thing and could easily be put up against the gelatin variety. They're sweet--VERY sweet--and the vanilla flavor is really emphasized. I'd use these in any recipe to substitute for regular marshmallows: s'mores, baked sweet potatoes, rice krispies treats, whoopie pies, you name it. They're even amazing roasted, as I found out with my stovetop roasting experiment. They're strong and sturdy enough to actually catch fire (!!!) without melting all over the place, and the end result is that delicious flavor of childhood memories: roasted, burnt, sweet.
Not only is the taste AMAZING, but so is the texture. Light, fluffy, airy: just how marshmallows should be. The melting quality isn't quite the same as the normal kind, as evidenced during a rice krispie treat experiment. They seemed to take quite a while to fully melt and become smooth, although I did keep the heat on low for fear that they might burn or stick. I used Earth Balance in place of regular butter or margarine, and the end result was great (believe it or not, this was my first time making rice krispies treats!), albeit a bit messy. I served these to two unsuspecting friends and waited until after they DEVOURED them to break the news: hey, these are completely vegan! They both admitted they couldn't tell the difference, and that they were actually quite delicious.
I also tried these in a steaming cup of hot cocoa. Again, the melting quality isn't really the same, but they DID make for some wonderful sugary cocoa-saturated bites in the end. In fact, the sugary vanilla flavor seemed to leach out a bit into the cocoa, making this possibly the best cup of cocoa I've ever had.
One other textural issue is that the mallows seem to leave a bit of a coating in your mouth (yes, I was eating them plain...they're that good)...sort of a thick, starchy feeling. Not bad enough to complain, just something noticeable. Trust me, the flavor of these totally overcompensates.
Buy again? Definitely. I'd love to serve these in typical 'mallow treats to unsuspecting peeps...then see if they even notice the difference!
Chicago Soydairy Dandies
Available online and at various health food stores around the country, check website for details