Of several sites I’ve read, successful vegan marshmallows have been possible with Xanthum gum, protein isolates, both of which I can’t fetch locally, hence agar is closest ingredient I can rely on. My struggle with making vegan marshmallows has been for a while, but to no avail. Agar simply fails to act the way gelatin does. My guess is that agar and gelatin have a different composition and gelling properties at different degrees, so they behave differently.
It’s magical what gelatin does to sugar syrup when whipped at high speeds, converting the entire syrup into a snow-white mass of fluffy, creamy, melt-in-mouth marshmallows… amazing! Agar fails to whip up the sugar syrup or stabilize it. My experiments with various proportions of agar, also cooked agar with the syrup and attempted to heat agar separately, all yielded disastrous effect to the end result. Even cooked agar at times failed to dissolve well, leaving speckles in the suspension. It either ended up in a pale caramel colored gooey, slimy mass of colloid or a sticky toffee like brittle, nowhere close what marshmallows are meant to be. An utter flop. An assurance that vegan marshmallows cannot be made with sugar and agar alone, they definitely need something more to be whipped up and stabilized. Till I get some Xanthum gum and protein isolates in my reach, I shall leave vegan marshmallows to rest in peace.
That apart, making homemade marshmallows is a breeze and fun too. Many with whom I shared these, were actually stunned when I told these were homemade… a pause, a blink in the eye and prying, some astonished if it was seriously homemade or just tagged so… had to convince! For the chocolate lover that we have at home, these marshmallows may not have made much of an impact, but these S’mores definitely did! He said “Wow, these are yum. Can we have more of these please!!!” S'mores as they call it for some more please... these little sandwich bars are popular American traditional campfire treats consisting of a roasted marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker, sinfully yum and decadent.
2 Graham cracker squares (I used Nutrichoice cracker squares)
10 gm. chocolate bar, broken/melted if necessary (milk, dark, semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate)
1 large homemade marshmallow
On a clean plate, place one cracker square. Top it with the piece of dark chocolate. Microwave on high for 15-20 seconds to melt the chocolate slightly. Stick a fork into the marshmallow or using a tong, swirl the marshmallow lightly over open flame till the edges are golden brown. Do not hold longer as they will melt and fall apart. A couple of swift turns should do the job. Immediately place the marshmallow on top of the partially melted chocolate. Alternatively, you may toast the marshmallows under a grill too. Top it with the second cracker and press down gently so that some of the chocolate and marshmallow goo slides out on the sides. When the S'more is fully assembled, let it sit for a few seconds. Gently press them together and eat them like a sandwich! They taste best when warm.
Graham cracker squares are not available in India. An alternative would be digestive biscuits. However, I chose to use Nutrichoice cracker squares. They are thin, salted cracker squares and balance the sweetness from chocolate-marshmallow filling, just right for our tastes. The warm bittersweet chocolate and gooey marshmallows render creaminess to the dessert with a luscious center while the Nutrichoice cracker squares poise the sweetness, perfectly balancing it out. These are perfect little desserts which can be made ahead and taken to parties and adventure trips, pretty enough to win accolades.