Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Marshmallow Weetbix slice

It took me some time after I became vegetarian to discover that most marshamllow is made with gelatine and hence is not vegetarian.  I don't miss it much.  Actually I do eat marshmallow from time to time but I have never tried making it at home.  There is no gelatine in my kitchen.  I would have no need for a vegetarian version if not for one of my favourite childhood slices that has a marshmallow topping.  For years I have been telling myself I will try making it.

Finally I have made a vegetarian version of my mum's slice.  No gelatine was involved.  A packet mix and a candy thermometer were needed, however, to accomplish this feat!  Vegetarian marshmallow seems a tricky business.  Lysy's experiments had made me wary.  It wasn't until I found the Angel Food mix that I felt I might actually do it.  Then I discovered I needed a candy thermometer.  Another mental hurdle to leap over.  I love baking but shy away from candy recipes and the precision needed in heating a bubbling sugary mixture.  It seemed a downright dangerous thing to do.

I let the candy thermometer sit in the drawer for some months before I would go near it.  That is how much I loved my mum's marshmallow slice.  It was worth facing my nemesis in the kitchen.  The slice is the perfect mix of soft, crisp and crunchy.  It melts and crumbles and pleases with all the hallmarks of a great slice - cocoa, coconut and processed foods (yes often the processed foods are condensed milk and bikkies for me but in this slice it is the weetbix).

I confess that my mum gave me the recipe ages ago over the phone.  I scribbled it down and then I lost it.  So I found it again while at home over Easter.  This is the cookbook I told you about back then.  It is merely called Recipes with no author, publisher or date.  I love not only the recipe that reminds me of how I would read recipes as a child - so different to today - but also the splatters all over the recipe that show just how often my mum used it. 

The base was the easy bit.  As always, Sylvia was keen to help out.  She and dolly helped to crush the weetbix that go in the bottom layer.

While the base cooled, I faced the challenge of making marshmallow.  It was a fiddly job with lots of steps.  The package I had came with an A4 page of instructions.  I had to read it over and over to try and get my head around what I needed to do.  I also found the instructions online at Angel Food.  This confused me further as they were slightly different, and the package size was also a bit different.  I really love this slice or I never would have bothered.

First task was to boil package A with water and sugar.  This was my moment to use my thermometer.  I had to practice clipping it on the side of the saucepan a few times because I was quite nervous about it.  Of course it wasn't as scary as I had feared. Though it might have been easier if I wasn't needing to take a Mexicale Pie out of the oven while the mixture bubbled and boiled.

Package B was then beaten with a little water and the sugar syrup drizzled in while beating.  I think this marshmallow is the longest I have ever let my beaters go for.  It must have taken me 10-15 minutes until it was white and creamy.  Sylvia watched with fascination. 

Finally I could pour the marshmallow mixture over the base.  It was so satisfying to get to this step where I was just waiting for the marshmallow to cook.

And the verdict?  At first I was slightly disappointed.  The base seemed rock hard and the marshmallow was overwhelmingly sweet.  In fact the marshmallow mix had twice as much sugar as the one in the original cookbook recipe.  E wisely suggested that I lop off some of the marshmallow.  I cut the slice into squares and cut about two thirds of marshmallow off each square.  That made them taste better.  After a day or two the base had been softened by the marshmallow and it tasted just like the one mum makes.  I was so happy with it and felt like Proust's protagonist with his madeleines.

Meanwhile I had a bowlful of marshmallow off-cuts that sat in the fridge for a week.  It was so sweet that I couldn't bear to eat it by itself.  I considered baking it into a muffin but ended up fulfilling a wish to try rocky road.

I bought jersey caramels, coconut diced, violet crumble, marshmallow, turkish delight, orange candied and 45% chocolate (that is $25 worth of ingredients).  But when I melted the chocolate to pour over the ingredients, the marshmallow just melted and made the chocolate odd.  We ate most of it and threw out the last bit because the turkish delight and honeycomb melted after a while.  I am not sharing the recipe but suggest you check out Lorraine and Baking Addict's versions that inspired me.

As for the slice, I think I might make it again.  For any of you who buy the Angel Food marshmallow mix and have a tendency towards to procrastination, I can reassure you that my package was almost 5 months older than the best before date and still worked.  I had been worried it wouldn't and bought another packet with a later best before date as a back up.  I think I will probably make this slice again some time to use the other package but am not quite sure what I will do with the surplus marshmallow.  Any ideas?

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Going on a picnic with nutroast
This time two years ago: Awesomely Delicious GF Pumpkin Brownies
This time three years ago: BBD #11 Sprouted Bread
This time four years ago: Red Rascal Burgers

Marshmallow Weetbix Slice
adapted from Recipes

3 weetbix, crushed - (about 50 g)
1 cup coconut
1 cup self raising flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 dessertspoons cocoa
125g butter

Marshmallow mix- from Angel Food

To make the base, melt butter and pour over dry ingredients.  Mix until combined and spread into a lined and greased small slice tin.  Bake at 180 C for 20-25 minutes.  Cool in the tin.

Make marshmallow.  If you eat gelatine you can make it the traditional way.  My packet was made up of modified starch, rice starch, agar and emulsifiers.  I boiled water and sugar with one package.  I beat the other package which seemed to be quite starchy (not sure if the agar was also in the mixture) and then gradually added the sugar mixture and beat this for 10-15 minutes until it was creamy.

When marshmallow mixture is a honey thickness pour over cooled base.  Allow marshmallow to cool and set - I put mine in the fridge.  Eat at room temperature.  Mine kept out of the fridge in a air-tight container for about an hour.

On the stereo:
Scott Walker: The Collection

22 comments:

  1. I'm giggling to myself as I write this - just yesterday I was thinking "I feel like marshmallows" (which is odd, because I have them perhaps once a year, if that) and realising that of course they have gelatin and are thus out. I couldn't for the life of me think how to make a vegan version, so this is the most perfectly timed post!

    The weetbix bottom of the slice appeals to me in and of itself too...yum.

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  2. Thanks for the shoutout Johanna! :) And I think slicing off some off the top is a good idea to balance the sweetness!

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  3. Your Angel Food Marshmallow Mix is dated 28th Feb 2012 so its fine!

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  4. I've tried making a vegan version of marshmallows about a year ago, and failed miserably. I began writing about my experiments but never posted it as I was certain I would succeed at some point. I actuly gave up because I purchased a packet of the Angel Marsmallow packet from the Vegan Society in the U.K. Its been sitting there for a little while and your post has reminded me of it. Good to read of your experiences of it, I know when to panic and when not to.

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  5. This looks delish Johanna - I adore marshmallow slice. Making the vegan version sounds difficult, but the end result looks worht it.

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  6. Congratulations on finally conquering a childhood favourite!

    My Angel Food meringue mix was well past its use-by date when I first gave it a whirl. :-D

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  7. I got a sample pack of this mix when it first came out and I remember being so disappointed that it contained sugar, which meant I couldn't have it. Glad to see how well it worked out! The slice looks yummy. I'm assuming that Wheatbix are the same as Wheatabix over here. . . like shredded wheat?

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  8. Extra marshmallow...rocky road?
    I hope Dolly helped with the washing up as well.

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  9. lookin' good!

    glad it softened up. my mum, too, made a marshmallow slice. had completely forgotten it until reading this. now i must raid her cookbook next time i'm up there.

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  10. Oh, this brings back memories! I'd forgotten until I read this how unbelievably sweet that marshmallow mix is - and how long it takes to whip up into the right texture. I made it with my vegan friend, Cate, when she was visiting from Canada, and she was just so blissed out at actually being able to eat marshmallow! Of course, being constitutionally incapable of following recipes we flavoured it with all sorts of weird stuff (raspberry vodka, if I recall correctly). And then covered it with hundreds and thousands. Neither of these ideas were bad ones, but sending her home with marshmallow in her suitcase didn't work quite so well (marshmalow doesn't like luggage compartments)...

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  11. These look so good! They remind me of a cookie we used to buy that had a soft base topped with marshmallow and a bit of coconut. I will have to see what GF ingredients we have in Texas that are similar to what you are using.

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  12. Vegetarian Marshmallow - brilliant! and the weetabix cookie looks divine with the mm toppings - clever :-) Will be back to see more.

    -Shilpa

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  13. I have been like you and scared of using a thermometer. I don't even use one for making jam, I just use the wrinkle test. I would love to try this treat. I do sometimes miss marshmallows and my friend Tanita kindly brought some back from America for me. Yum!

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  14. I wonder if I could find that mix here. The last time I made marshmallows, I used gelatin but it smells REALLY bad and it kind of grossed me out knowing what it is. This recipe looks perfect!

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  15. Thanks Kari - I am sure the bottom layer would appeal to your cereal-loving tastes, and I would recommend you try these vegan marshmallows if you get hold of a packet

    Thanks Lorraine - the sweetness was just too much before I sliced the top off so yes I think the balance was out of kilter

    Well spotted Paper and Stone - but this is the newer package because Sylvia ripped up my older one - the due date on that was Dec 2010

    Thanks Shaheen - that is very brave of you to try making them - the recipes onine I have seen have ingredients that just seemed too foreign to my kitchen. This recipe worked well but was quite soft - my mum says that home made doesn't have the firmness of bought marshmallows so I wonder if the bought vegan marshmallows are softer

    Thanks Cakelaw - the vegan version was very satisfying - now why don't we see this slice in cafes if others also love it!

    Thanks Cindy - there is not much in those packets that should go off are there?

    Thanks Ricki - I know you love your sweets but with your low sugar diet I am sure the sweetness of these marshmallows would know you out - would be interested to know if I could try making it with less sugar

    Thanks Cityhippyfarmgirl - I am sure dolly would help if we let her!

    Thanks Lucy - marshmallow is definitely comfort food isn't it - you have reminded me of my CWA slice book - I must look up the marshmallow recipes in there - hope you find your mum's recipe - would love to hear about it

    Thanks Catherine - your friend was probably just on a sugar high :-) Love the sound of your experiments - I kept mine plain in keeping with my mum's version but it would be fun to put some beetroot powder in and have a bright pink topping

    Thanks Gretchen - you've reminded me of a few bought biscuits with marshmallow that we had as kids - chocolate royals, iced vovos and wagon wheels. And I remember eating marshmallow with toasted coconut - hope you can recreate your cookie

    Hi Shilpa - thanks for visiting - I think it is clever that someone invented a veg packet mix for marshmallow for people like me who might never make it from scratch

    Thanks Jacqueline - I have made jam quite a few times and never thought to use a thermometer - I would probably have been more intimidated if I had thought that - hope you enjoy your American marshmallows

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  16. Thanks Joanne - I have never use gelatin - the very idea of it seems wrong to me - I think you can buy this mixture online if it isn't in your stores

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  17. Oh and I forgot to mention, they are vegan marshmallows :)

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  18. It looks fab - bet the contrast of sweet and soft with the crunchy base was delicious. Well worth conquering your mistrust of sugar thermometers for I think!

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  19. Hi! Alice from Angel Food here :-) A friend just emailed me to let me know about your blog post. It's true that these marshies are sweeter than the traditional gelatine ones - it's because the sugar is needed as a structural component, because agar just isn't as oomph-y as gelatine... Next time you make this slice, just put the surplus mix into a container, and pop it in the freezer for future use. You could use it for smores, or as a cake filling or cupcake frosting...

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  20. Thanks Jacqueline - I had assumed they were vegan - though am surprised it is hard to buy them in the UK where veg products are so much easier to find than there

    Thanks C - it is fantastic - must put my sugar thermometer to other uses now

    Thanks Alice - your advice is much appreciated - will just have to use less marshmallow if the sugar is necessary - and love the ideas for marshmallows on your blog

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  21. Love the idea of using weetabix this way. This recipe looks a great mix of textures, particularly sticky and crunch - yum!

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  22. I love splattered cookbooks too. The weetabix slice looks yummy! I'm happy it all worked out in the end. Too bad about the marshmallow melting when you poured chocolate over it.

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