At Natural Products Expo East, I sampled Dandies Marshmallows. They’re vegan unlike traditional marshmallows that use gelatin that’s derived from animal products. They also use non-bone char sugar. I was unfamiliar with the term so I did a little research. Apparently, many sugars are filtered using bone char that comes from cattle. So sugar can be problematic for those who follow a strict vegan diet.

They’re also free from artificial flavors and colors. The major manufacturers of marshmallows use artificial flavors and, much to my surprise, artificial color in their product. I don’t understand why Blue 1 is used in a white marshmallow, but it is. Dandies uses no dye at all.

While I’m not going to call any marshmallow health food, there are times when I use them to make S’mores, pop in hot chocolate after playing in the cold, or make Krispee Treats for my kids’ class. So, it’s good to know that there are options out there with better ingredients. Dandies is one of those options.

I liked the sample that I tried at the expo, but when it comes to a product like marshmallows, they really need to pass the kid test. Dandies shipped me some samples so my boys could try them. In addition to a simple taste test, we had to do one other important test on the marshmallows – the melt test. If they don’t melt well over a fire to make S’mores, they’re not very useful marshmallows.

Both boys liked the marshmallows. They noticed that they are a bit denser than the ones they’ve had before, but said it wasn’t a bad thing, just different. They tasted sweet and vanilla, and said they tasted like regular marshmallows. We didn’t do a side-by-side comparison, and we don’t have marshmallows that often so they were going by memory.

What about the most important test, the meltability? See for yourself. The photo below is of a S’more we made with Dandies.

The Dandies did all the right things when put over an open fire. They browned. They caught fire when they got too close, and they melted beautifully. The S’more above is made with a Dandies Marshmallow, Annie’s Honey Graham Crackers, and a chocolate bar pulled out of the kids’ Halloween candy since it was available. If I had my preference, I’d use Divine Chocolate in it.

Dandies are available in regular or mini size. You can find a retailer that sells Dandies using their online finder. It looks as if they’re sold in many Whole Foods and Wegmans as well as other stores.

Have you tried Dandies or any other marshmallow made with better ingredients than the traditional ones? 

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Dandies Marshmallows are vegan and free from artificial flavors and colors
These marshmallows are made with better ingredients, but do they pass the kid test?