On Vegan Marshmallows: Sweet & Sara v. Dandies

September 13th, 2009 1:31 pm by Kelly Garbato

A while back, I purchased a few boxes/bags each of the Sweet & Sara and Dandies vegan marshmallows, with plans to pit them against one another in a vegan marshmallow cage match. True to form, though, I’ve proven agave nectar-slow to testing them under similar circumstances. Since I’ve already shared my marshmallow-laden Chocolate Coffee Marshmallow Swirl recipe, though, I think the time has come (and nearly gone), preparedness be damned.

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v.

2009-06-03 - Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe Order - 0020

Aesthetics

Whereas the pillowy shape of Dandies resembles that of traditional, gelatin-based marshmallows, Sweet & Saras are square, squat and dense.

Winner: Dandies are cuter, but I’m loathe to endorse lookism. Tie.

Flavors

Sweet & Saras come in three flavors: vanilla, vanilla coated in toasted coconut flakes, and strawberry. In addition to marshmallows, the company also sells S’Mores (both “plain” and peanut butter flavored) and Rocky Road bark. I can vouch for the yumminess of all, save for the strawberry marshmallows, which were not available when I placed an order.

Dandies are, as of this writing, only available in one flavor: vanilla. Give ’em time, though, they’re still noobs.

Winner: The point goes to Sweet & Sara for creativity.

2009-05-25 - Rocky Road Bark - 0010

Marshmallowy-ness

Sweet & Saras are square, squat and very dense; if I were crafty enough to make my own marshmallows, they might look something like Sweet & Saras. (That’s one big “if,” though.) They have that pan-made shape about them.

Dandies are pillowy, light and fluffy; that’s the power of air puffing, baby! Much like “real” marshmallows, Dandies are soft and squishy, lightly dusted with powder (angel dust, perchance?) – and highly addictive. They’re similar in constitution to my Kaylee, with one important difference: edibility.

2009-09-06 - Family Time - 0020

As much as I coo that I could eat her up, I won’t.

Sweet & Saras and Dandies are similar in size, ranking somewhere between traditional Mini and Jumbo marshmallows. They’re a little too big for baking (without cutting, that is), but too small for jamming on the end of a sharpened stick and roasting fireside. Hopefully variety will increase with demand. Please, gals and guys?

Winner: Dandies, fer sure. Assuming you aren’t grossed out by mock marshmallows.

Snacking

Between their S’Mores, Rocky Road bark and Toasted Coconut (and strawberry flavored) marshmallows, Sweet & Sara provides plenty of snacking opportunities. The Toasted Coconut marshmallows are especially addictive at room temp.

Again, though, we return to the light, fluffy, airy quality of the Dandies; these are marshmallows as you remember them, just without the horse bone.

Winner: In the case of Vanilla v. Vanilla, Dandies wins fer sure. (That is, unless you dislike faux meat and feel the same about marshmallows; see: “Marshmallowy-ness” above). But Sweet & Sara brings the variety, with maximum snackability.

Baking

Thus far, I’ve found the Sweet & Saras and Dandies to be nearly identical in baking/baked goods.

For example, I used the both the vanilla and toasted coconut Sweet & Saras to make a batch of Chewy Chocolate Marshmallow Granola Bars,

2009-05-27 - Chocolate Marshmallow Granola Bars - 0006

and subbed in Dandies in place of walnuts in Vivacious Vegan’s Best Brownies Ever,

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and the marshmallows melted, congealed and tasted the same. (A word of warning: when baking or microwaving, allow plenty of room for the marshmallows to expand and contract. It’d been so long since I’d been with a marshmallow that I’d forgotten that they need room to breath, and almost had a nuclear meltdown in my oven when experimenting with the Chocolate Marshmallow Granola Bars.)

The insides of each are sticky and make for irksome cutting – a quality probably shared by all marshmallows – but the angel dust on the Dandies make them slightly easier to hold while slicing.

Winner: Whichever is cheaper – you’re just melting them in the oven, yo!

Hot chocolate

Since they’re smaller and fluffier, the Dandies melt more quickly in hot liquid than do the Sweet & Saras. Of course, this may or may not be a positive, depending on your tastes.

Winner: Varies by judge.

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Ice cream

Ditto: “Baking.”

Roasting

Clearly I’m a tool for saying this, but I’ve yet to try fire roasting or S’Mores-ing these yet.

On the plus size, Sweet & Sara sells pre-packaged S’Mores, and in two flavors, at that. Perfect for lazy vegans such as myself.

Winner: To be determined. Probably a tie.

Microwave

When I was a meat-eating toehead with a stomach of iron, I used to gorge on all manner of grossness: Fried bologna? Check. Cold hot dogs? Check. Fried beef patties topped with pan-fried bacon? Check. Dinty Moore Beef Stew? Hells yes. (I even had a promotional sticker album, gag.) Raw brownie batter, complete with uncooked, germ-infested eggs? I used to hide that shit in my room!

Another favorite snack was marshmallows and chocolate chips, microwaved for maximum swirliness, and then left to harden into a kind of bark. Upon receiving my shiny new boxes of Sweet & Sara and Dandies marshmallows, I hadn’t tried this “treat” in years. Decades, even. (I dropped gelatin along with meat when I went vegetarian, figuring that bone wasn’t much diff than the flesh that used to hang from it.) So, one lazy Friday afternoon, I decided to make a chocolate/marshmallow dipping mix for my fresh strawberries.

That iron stomach I mentioned a few paragraphs up? I think I left it on a roller coaster somewhere in NY. Ugh. Never again will I ruin a perfectly perfect batch of strawberries by drowning them in a vat of overcooked sugar. Bad, bad idea.

Anyway, the point of the story is that, as with baking, Sweet & Saras and Dandies react much the same under high heat. They huff, they puff, they threaten to blow your microwave door off. And then, just when you’re ready stuff them into your gaping maw, they deflate and harden, and eventually collect in the pit of your stomach, making you rue the day you caved to nostalgia.

Winner: We’re all losers here. Although, I bet Sweet & Sara’s S’Mores would taste good after 10-15 seconds in the microwave. (Note to self: remember to try that tonight. Or whenever you’re able to purge all memory of the Great Chocolate/Marshmallow Disaster of ’09 from your taste buds.)

The Final Verdict

Winner: Vegans the world over.

Hey, I’m just ecstatic that we (finally) have not one, but two brands of ready-made vegan marshmallows from which to choose.

Victory, thy taste is sweet and compassionate.

Addendum

New Zealand-based Angel Food sells a DIY marshmallow kit; for $8.00 NZD, you’ll get either “50 good-sized deliciously smooth marshies” – or a world of heartache, depending upon your competency in the kitchen. These were sold out when I bought the Dandies from Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe, but the next time I place an order, I’ll throw one of these kits in my cart. I’ll be sure to update this post after my experiment. I’m not feeling optimistic, though. Reviews suggest that the kit is temperamental and difficult to pull off. The mighty Isa, I am not.

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8 Responses to “On Vegan Marshmallows: Sweet & Sara v. Dandies”

  1. Shannon Says:

    Oh marshmallow deliciousness! I pondered buying a Sweet & Sara s’more the other day, but we are so inundated with vegan desserts from our wedding reception that I decided to hold off until we plow our way through the leftovers. But I will have me a s’more. Believe it.

  2. Alisa - Frugal Foodie Says:

    Awesome review! I had been wondering about both products; it doesn’t sound like you can go wrong with either!

  3. Kelly G. Says:

    @ Shannon – sounds like the yummiest of problems to have ;)

    @ Alisa – Thanks. ‘Twas a grueling task, but someone had to do it!

  4. Jay Says:

    I prefer Sweet & Sara’s, and their vegan S’mores are to die for. Wasn’t a big fan of Dandies, but I didn’t cook with either marshmallow, so my opinion might change. Good review!

  5. Kasia Says:

    Wow! What a write-up! Very handy! Congrats and thanks!

  6. Katya Says:

    We came to the same conclusions in our kitchen. Excellent post!

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