Homemade vegan marshmallows smores bars are made with graham cracker crust, homemade vegan marshmallows, and date syrup caramel. A healthier smores bar, rich in iron, magnesium and immune-boosting zinc and super easy to make.
Homemade Vegan Marshmallows Smores Bars
If there is any dessert that transcends all barriers, generational, geographical, politics and food tastes, it's vegan marshmallows smores bars!
My version is easy, just graham crackers, easy vegan marshmallows, date syrup and chocolate that sinks in your fingers and melts sweetly in your mouth.
And my version is also a bit healthier. Not much, of course, still a ton of sugar. But healthier because I used a date syrup, so rich in iron, magnesium and immune-boosting zinc. Iron is so important when pregnant that I remember using any excuse to eat no bake desserts like these!
But first, before we dive into the recipe, I'd like to invite you to sign up for my free chocolate course. Five lessons hit your inbox with detail on how to create your own simple healthy chocolate desserts.
Okay, so back to this recipe...
I chose to make my easy homemade vegan marshmallows so my layer was one uniform brick but you can still make my smores bars by buying vegan marshmallows and just layering them.
The advantage to making vegan marshmallows however is that my recipe makes an 8-inch square pan and only half is needed for the smores bars so that means left over homemade vegan marshmallows to EAT!..
Ingredients Needed for Smores Bars?
My bars are built using:
- graham crackers: I use a vegan gluten-free commercial brand cracker and grind it to a crumb powder in my food processor or blender. Adding in some coconut oil or maple syrup is the glue you need to make a crust.
- dates: I either make a "cloudy" date paste such as (see my date paste recipe here) or I make a date syrup so it's more gelled OR I use a store-bought date syrup. Here is my favorite date syrup brand.
- vegan marshmallows: My favorite part of this recipe actually is making vegan marshmallows. The recipe isn't that hard, but you do have to eat marshmallows within a day or so, they don't keep. If you want to buy vegan marshmallows and just line them up in the pan, buy Dandies.
- chocolate: The chocolate top is just melted chocolate. I just melt Enjoylife chips and add a bit of coconut oil, but the chocolate top is quite hard so you have to be careful to not squish the bar when pressing down on the chocolate crust. To avoid that issue, you could just brush on with a spoon a very thing layer of melted chocolate on top so it's easy to cut through.
All About Vegan Marshmallows
Since Homemade Vegan Marshmallows are the featured ingredient in these smores bars, let's talk about them.
What's the difference between regular marshmallows and vegan marshmallows?
The major difference is that traditional marshmallows are made with gelatin which comes from animal's bones and hooves and thus that is not an ingredient vegan's can consume. But the gelatin is used to provide structure to the marshmallow, so what do vegan marshmallows have in them to replace gelatin?
The answer? Agar agar.
Agar agar is a plant-based substance extracted from seaweed, and formed into powders, flakes and sheets. It is a top source of calcium, iron, folate, fiber and manganese and the perfect replacer of gelatin.
What are vegan marshmallows made of?
So, in general, vegan marshmallows are made of agar agar, aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas), corn syrup and vanilla, while traditional marshmallows are made of gelatin, corn syrup and vanilla.
Now traditional marshmallows also contain many processing chemicals so homemade vegan marshmallows are healthier in that you won't be adding preservatives and other chemicals to yours at home.
How To Make Vegan Marshmallows
Since this recipe is so useful, I will tell you in great detail my fool-proof method to making vegan marshmallows.:
Step 1: Line an 8-inch by 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Grease paper lightly with coconut oil and dust with arrowroot or corn starch.
Step 2: Pour the aquafaba into a very dry and deep mixing bowl, and whip for 10-12 minutes or until you have stiff peaks. Occasionally you'll need to whip it more but sometimes I get sturdy peaks at 7 minutes, it depends on the brand chickpeas you use. Set this aside.
Step 3: Put corn syrup in a sauce pan and bring to a light boil. Dissolve agar agar powder in the water and add that to the corn syrup. Add salt and vanilla and raise the head and stir until the mixture just boils, then quickly remove the pan from the heat.
Step 4: Let the mixture cool for 2 minutes then fold it into the aquafaba peaks gently so you don't destroy the air-filled texture.
Step 5: Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and let it sit uncovered at room temperature for at least 4 hours. I often leave it overnight to be sure it is sturdy enough.
Step 6: You'll want to cut them with a hot, dry knife either into a slab for this recipe to fit a loaf pan, or into 2-inch squares to resemble traditional marshmallows. Either way, dust the cut pieces with cornstarch or arrowroot to keep them dry and delicious.
Step 7: You'll want to store finished marshmallows in a dusting of arrowroot or cornstarch and at room temperature - chilled or even covered or sealed the would become too moist. Even at room temperature, after a day you might see some damp spots which you can remove by dusting them with more arrowroot and cornstarch. All in all, I'd eat them within a day or so.
How To Make My Smores Bars
Smores bars are obviously less involved. They are basically all about assembly. Just make each layer - crust, marshmallows, date syrup and chocolate, and layer them in a parchment-lined loaf pan.
The day before:
1. Soak your dates overnight in prep for date syrup.
2. Make your vegan marshmallows.
The day of:
1. Process your graham crackers into a crumb and press into a pan.
2. Make your date syrup (or use store bought), pour on crust and freeze.
3. Set marshmallow block on top.
4. Make chocolate top, pour on marshmallow layer and cut.
5. Eat! Smile.
What is Date Syrup?
The date layer has options. To get an amber colored clear date syrup, you'll have to soak dates, strain them, and boil down the syrup. It's a process a bit similar to making maple syrup in Vermont. Without the Vermont part, lol.
If this is too complicated for you, just either make a quick date paste and the layer will still be delicious but cloudier, kind of like my picture below. OR buy date syrup.
My favorite brand of date syrup is here.
If you are game to make homemade date syrup, I left you the recipe in the recipe card below, and let me tell you a bit more about it.
Is Date Syrup Healthy?
Sure is! Rich in magnesium which boosts mood and helps with sleep, zinc which boosts immunity and iron which we are all probably short of. So fun to use a dessert to boost your missing nutrition!
What is Date Syrup Used For?
Oh, let me count the ways. Use it for:
Ice Cream Topping
Substitution of Maple syrup or Agave
Other Bar Recipes To Consider
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Vegan Marshmallows Smores Bars
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 cup graham crackers (ground, I use gluten-free and vegan version)
- ¼ cup coconut oil
Date Syrup (homemade or use store bought)
- 2 cups medjool dates (22 dates)
- 1 tsp agar agar
- 1 ½ cups water
Prep Day Before
- For date syrup, set the dates to soak overnight. The next day rinse and pit them.
- Marshmallows taste best allowed to set overnight so make these the day before you make smores. Or at least 4 hours before so marshmallows can set. See recipe instructions below.
Make Vegan Marshmallows
- Line an 8-inch by 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Grease paper lightly with coconut oil and dust with arrowroot or corn starch.
- Pour the aquafaba into a very dry and deep mixing bowl, and whip for 10-12 minutes or until you have stiff peaks. Occasionally you'll need to whip it more but sometimes I get sturdy peaks at 7 minutes, it depends on the brand chickpeas you use. Set this aside.
- Put corn syrup in a sauce pan and bring to a light boil. Dissolve agar agar powder in the water and add that to the corn syrup. Add salt and vanilla and stir until the mixture just boils, then quickly remove the pan from the heat.
- Let the mixture cool for 2 minutes then fold it into the aquafaba peaks gently so you don't deflate the texture.
- Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and let it sit uncovered at room temperature for at least 4 hours. I often leave it overnight to be sure it is sturdy enough.
Prep on Bar Making Day
- Line a 4-inch by 8-inch loaf pan with parchment paper to prepare for making smores bars. A larger loaf pan will work as well.
Make Crumb Crust
- Grind up crackers to a crumb in a blender or food processor, pour it in a bowl. Add in the melted coconut oil and mix with a fork.
- Spread on the bottom of the lined loaf pan and press flat with hands or bottom of glass. Freeze while you make other layers.
Make Date Syrup
- Pit the dates you soaked the night before. Chop into chunks. Drop chunks into a pot of water and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Let the mixture cool about 15 minutes. Then press through a fine sieve, pressing on mixture with a spatula or spoon to get the liquid through. Reserve the liquid for your syrup. I usually save in refrigerator the sweet pulp to add to smoothies within three days.
- Return the liquid date syrup to a pot and stir in the agar agar and simmer a few minutes, or until it melts.
- Allow the date syrup to cool to room temperature. Then pour 1 cup onto the crust and return to freezer and allow the date syrup layer to solidify like a jelly before you add the marshmallow layer.
- Store any leftover date syrup in the refrigerator for one week. Freeze for two months.
Add Marshmallow Layer
- Dust a large piece of parchment paper with arrowroot or cornstarch.
- Lift the room-temperature, 8-inch by 8-inch block of marshmallow onto the prepared parchment, and dust the top and sides with more arrow root or corn starch.
- Dip a sharp knife in boiling water and wipe it completely dry then cut the 8-inch square brick exactly in half. This will result in two pieces that exactly fit a 4-inch by 8-inch loaf pan. (or any size loaf pan really). You need one of these halves to insert into your Smore's Bars loaf pan.
- Dust one half well on all sides with more arrowroot or cornstarch. If you don’t mind the sugar, you can also dust with powdered sugar but that might retain patches of moisture.Set the dusted half of marshmallow block on to the chilled date syrup layer, and press lightly. Set aside at room temperature while you melt the chocolate.
- The left-over other half of marshmallows can be cut into smaller pieces such as eight pieces that are 2-inch by 2-inch for individual eating!Roll or dust each of the cut pieces in arrowroot powder or cornstarch or even powdered sugar if you prefer, and leave uncovered at room temperature for 2 days. They are best eaten that day however. If they seem to get wet, dust them as need.
Make the Melted Chocolate
- Melt the chocolate chips in a glass pyrex measuring cup in the microwave for 60-seconds. Add the coconut oil and stir until melted. Let cool a bit.
- Pour the melted chocolate on top of the marshmallow layer. Set aside until the chocolate hardens, around 30 minutes.
- In order to get a super sharp cut, use a sharp knife dipped in boiling water and wiped dry. Press the hot knife lightly onto the chocolate top and allow the knife to melt through, and then you can press to cut. If you just press on to the hard chocolate, the whole bar will be squished.Alternatively, you can reduce the chocolate layer to a mere shell by spooning only ¼ of the amount and spreading it with a spoon. But the chocolate might get powdered so if you use this method, don't dust the top of the marshmallow block before you insert it.
- These bars are best eaten the first day they are assembled. That's because vegan marshmallows must be kept at room temperature or they get too wet.