Autumn is here bringing with it promises of crisp sunny days, chilly nights and piles of leaves begging to be plunged in to. While Summer enjoys her last hurrah for the year, I am already looking upward in wait for the first falling leaf. I love Autumn; it is my favourite time of year. In celebration of the season and all things wonderfully childish, these Homemade Vegan Maple Marshmallows are perfectly sweet and perfectly fluffy and sticky, the way only fresh marshmallow can be. Made with full-bodied maple syrup instead of sugar or corn syrup, these sweets are Autumn on a plate.
OK…I am going to jump straight in to the recipe this post because while these marshmallows are pretty simple to make, there is a little science involved. The good news is, I have done much of the hard part already. After three misfires, I finally worked out the balance in creating fluffy, sweet vegan maple marshmallows that are not only delicious dusted in coconut or cornflour but CAN BE TOASTED. My inner-child was pretty happy with this outcome.
Firstly, I would recommend watching this video from Noemi at Party Hard Potato if you haven’t made marshmallow before or if you are unfamiliar with aquafaba. Aquafaba is the brine that suspends canned beans and when whipped, forms an egg white consistency, similar to meringue. Some vegan marshmallow recipes I came across didn’t contain any sort of protein base and since we are using agar agar to set the marshmallow rather than gelatine, a protein is necessary. Without it, we have a big old blob that doesn’t set; been there, did it.
I used white bean brine but you could use chickpea brine; whatever you have on hand. I have a little canned bean party going on in the back of my pantry so I have used both. I prefer the white beans but to be honest I can’t completely pinpoint why. I think it may be that I imagine I can still taste the chickpeas. My imagination is a fickle lady.
Moving on. In my recent time as a molecular scientist in pursuit of the perfect vegan maple marshmallow, I have learned a few things. Firstly, be prepared. Get your ingredients measured and at the ready on your counter. This recipe requires a few processes to happen simultaneously.
Secondly, when boiling the maple syrup watch the pot… like really watch it. The recipe calls for a temperature of 114 – 120 degrees C (soft ball candy stage) and the maple can get away from you, bubbling over in the blink of an eye. Needless to say, while this marshmallow is a lovely treat for children to enjoy, it is not child-friendly to make.
Lastly, in the final stages of the recipe the agar agar and water mixture is brought to a quick boil and in some recipes it states to let it sit for a minute. Don’t. As soon as the mixture either stays on the heat too long or is removed from the heat it begins to set. I worked out a neat swirling trick that brought the mixture to a boil but didn’t set it. Simply hold the saucepan over the heat and the second you see any bubbles lift the pot well above the heat and swirl for around 15 seconds. This means the agar agar is activated but doesn’t set. You want the mixture to pour in to the marshmallow batter not thud. Keep swirling as you take the pot to the batter and then pour in; keep that puppy moving.
Now that I have put the fear of the kitchen universe in to you, go forth and cook. Kidding. These homemade vegan maple marshmallows are easy to make and thanks to my burning myself, setting my agar agar before it went in to the batter and using too much lemon (trust me, just use the 1/2 teaspoon) you benefit from the wisdom of my many, many mistakes. Yay for you. And after it’s all done, enjoy your fresh, homemade marshmallow with the delight it deserves. Take your first bite with all the joy your inner-child can muster. Trust me, it tastes best that way. Enjoy.
Homemade Vegan Maple Marshmallow
- 1.25 cups 310ml maple syrup
- .5 cup 125ml water
- .5 cup aquafaba white bean or chickpea brine
- 2 teaspoon 10ml agar agar powder
- .5 teaspoon guar gum or xathan gum I used guar gum, it's cheaper!
- .5 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 small pinch sea salt
- .5 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon raw caster sugar
- corn flour for dusting
- toasted coconut to serve
- Set out all measured ingredients on your counter with a large mixing bowl and two smallish saucepans.
- Line a square can pan with baking powder and dust with corn flour.
- Put the agar agar and water in one of the saucepans and set aside
- Place the aquafaba, guar gum and lemon juice in the mixing bowl and, using a hand mixer, beat for around 2 and half minutes until fluffy.
- Add the sugar and continue to beat until glossy and full.
- Put the maple syrup and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to around 115 - 120 degrees C. Watch carefully. Remove from the heat when temperature is reached.
- Turn the hand beater on again and carefully and slowly, pour the maple syrup in to the aquafaba mixture until combined and fluffy.
- Put the agar agar and water over the stove top and bring to the boil. As soon as you see a bubble, lift the pan higher above the heat and swirl. Continue to swirl for around 15 - 20 seconds. The mixture will thicken but will not set.
- Still swirling, take the pot to the mixing bowl. Start the hand mixer again and, while mixing, pour in the agar agar mixture. Add a pinch of salt and continue to mix until your mixing bowl is cool. This will take around 5 minutes.
- Pour the marshmallow in to the prepare cake pan and quickly smooth it out with a lightly greased spoon.
- Loosely cover the pan with baking paper and allow to mixture to set for around two hours. I left mine overnight but it will set earlier.
- When set, using a knife lightly dusted with cornflour, cut the marshmallow in to serves.
- Either dust the squares with more cornflour or toast some desiccated coconut and roll the marshmallows through.