Sunday, October 11, 2009


Marshmallows are becoming a strong contender for the biggest trend of 2009. They seem to pop everywhere and they are being made in many different flavors. There are many vegan marshmallows on the market, but they aren't always gluten free and thus out of range for us non wheat eaters. 

One might think that marshmallows are one of the few items that their allergies has prevented them from eating without too much sadness; but I think that might because you are thinking of those stylophone-y ones that you bought in a bag before a camping trip and were sickeningly sweet even to my tastes. Or, maybe not, and you genuinely don't like them. 

If that's the case, try out the recipe and throw it in a dish with some puffed rice cereal and make an incredible non-trendy, but possible better treat: Rice Crispy Squares

Note: You really need a mixer with a whisk attachment for this recipe.


4 envelopes of vegan gelatin (not as hard to find as I thought, most health food places have it)
1 1/2 cup water (or, for flavored marshmallows, use smooth fruit puree or juice)
1 tbs vanilla
3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup corn syrup

gluten free powdered sugar


First, prepare your pan. Generously oil a 9x13 baking dish and set aside. In the bowl of your electric mixer, put 3/4 cup water/juice, vanilla (if making vanilla flavored marshmallows) and sprinkle all of the gelatin over top. 

Meanwhile, in a pot bring the sugar, corn syrup and remaining 3/4 water to a boil. Using a candy thermometer allow the mixture to heat until the softball stage. 

Working quickly, pour the hot mixture into the gelatin mixture with the whisk attachment on a low speed. Be careful, as you don't want to splash yourself. Bring the mixer up to full speed and whip the mixture until it is nice and fluffy (ten minutes for me). Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and level out if you need to with a spatula that has been wiped with oil. 

Let the pan sit over night and then cut into squares, tossing each one in a light coating of icing sugar. Store in an airtight container!

Instead of vanilla, you could add peppermint oil to make a delicious minty treat (I'd also die them green, but that's just me!)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Vegan Bake Off

Saturday, Oct. 3rd was the Second Annual Vegan Bake Off put together by the Canadian Vegetarian Society. I had seen the posters around my neighborhood and was excited to try my luck. It was a busy weekend for me (I start my first post grad school job on Monday, Markus' birthday dinner party at my place on Friday, and then a small get together with friends on Saturday night) but I was determined to make it work! 

As a surprise, Markus had made me little Mini Canteen business cards and he even invented a neat way to wrap each cookie.

I made the dough during the week and kept it in the freezer. I needed to make 50 cookies for sampling and 3 special ones for the celebrity judges. On Saturday morning I woke up early and baked away. I was worried about having enough, but ended up with over 100! Markus helped me fold and prepare each little packet. He even made cute little recipe cards to place beside my display! 
We were the first people to sign in at the event (I guess I was pretty excited!) and after I had set up my samples we had quite a bit of time before the sampling began. There were two rounds, one for cookies, bars, and raw foods and one for cupcakes, cakes, and professional bakers. See some great photos here.

Even though there were only supposed to be fifty samples, I was glad I had prepared extra because there ended up being closer to three hundred samplers lining up for the treats! I didn't get to try everything, but some of the treats were delicious! Especially the Nanaimo bars (which one a few prizes) and the Mini Cinnabons. A few hours later everyone sat on the floor of the gymnasium to hear the judge's picks for the various prizes. After I didn't win best cookie or runner up in my category, I was a bit bummed but was still having a good time cheering for the winners.

And then I won a prize! Out of all the contestants (forty in total) the judges picked my treat as most memorable! 

My prize pack included a subscription to Veg News, some chocolate from Boardwalk Chocolates, a cook book, a beautiful home made ribbon, and bragging rights! Then Markus won some cookies for answering a sports question correctly! 

It was so great to see everyone else's great treats and meet other bakers in my city. I wish I had more pictures of other people's offerings, but there is a facebook page if anyone is interested in seeing some of the other entries!