As rule, I tend to shop for unprocessed foods, that are local and minimally packaged. But once in a while, there’s a recipe that calls for something that’s not available at the farmers market. S’mores are one of those things. What good camping trip is complete without them?
And yet, for anyone looking to avoid gelatin—which many people do not consider vegetarian and is definitely not vegan—marshmallows can pose a problem.
One option is to go the DIY route, like the open-source vegan marshmallow recipe from Dave Soleil. If you’ve got the candy-making chops, you’ll have the satisfaction of creating a homemade treat. Although I love to bake and enjoy playing with classic recipes to make them vegan or dairy-free, the world of confection-making is somewhat intimidating.
Luckily, there are now several pre-made options available. I recently got samples of Dandies air-puffed marshmallows, which are made by Chicago Vegan Foods. They’re exactly the kind of big round puffs that will make you nostalgic for summer camp and scouting. They taste and toast just like their gelatin-containing counterparts, and have the right amount of springiness.
If you’re looking for something a bit more fancy and artisanal, Sweet & Sara makes vegan marshmallows with squared-off sides. They also have flavors like toasted coconut and strawberry, which could make for an interesting twist on the classic s’more.
But I like a pretty traditional taste. Here’s my favorite s’more combination: Dandies air-puffed marshmallows, whole grain graham crackers and 70 percent dark chocolate (you can find suggestions for ethical bars here). The dark chocolate makes the whole sandwich a bit richer, while setting off the super-sweetness of the marshmallow, and the whole grain gram crackers add a bit more body. To be clear, this is still dessert we’re talking about—I’m not claiming that whole grains and vegan dark chocolate make this treat any healthier. But they are free of any animal-product related guilt.
What’s your favorite s’mores combo?