I hosted a vegan cookie swap last weekend to kick off the holiday season early and start getting ideas for what to bake for friends and family gifts. I wanted to do something unique for the exchange, and I recently discovered that my local natural foods store has Dandies vegan marshmallows. I had only had Dandies once before, and they were well beyond dandy. Oh sweet mother of all that is campfirey and delicious...
You see, conventional marshmallows are made with ground up animal bones, which doesn't sound like candy for anyone, but especially not vegans. I'm not really sure who's idea is was to make candy out of ground up bones, but it certainly wasn't a sweet kid sitting by a campfire, and it wasn't the kick ass creators of Dandies, Chicago Soy Dairy. Dandies taste like a real candy, fluffy, sweet, no guilt ridden aftertaste, and just a hint of magic. I say magic because I've tried to make my own vegan marshmallows twice to such hideous failure I don't even want to go into it. I'll just say that if you plan on making your own vegan marshmallows, get a candy thermometer.
So since I had some Dandies (I bought three bags as soon as I saw them- I was so overcome with excitement), I decided to make a 'smores brownie. I have a favorite brownie recipe that I used quite often while pregnant, and I have a favorite vegan graham cracker, Health Valley. I made a simple graham cracker crust, added marshmallows, topped with brownie mix, added more marshmallows, and then topped with graham cracker bits.
Another excellent feature I discovered with the Dandies is that they puff up and brown just like the marshmallows of my childhood. When the brownies were done, they not only had the components of the classic smore, but the browned and crisp-on-top marshmallows had been baked to really taste like roasted treats! These were the favorite of almost every guest at the cookie swap (she says modestly).
The other cookie I made was the pumpkin whoopie pies from Vegan Yum Yum with a double batch of filling to make them extra decadent.
Here is a picture of the leftovers from the party:
Not a single type of cookie was repeated and there were no duds in the bunch! I would call this swap a success!
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
Vegan Yum Yum