Homemade vegan candy recipes?
August 25, 2018 6:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recipes for homemade vegan candy. When I try to Google them, however, I get suggestions for "healthy" recipes. I don't want healthy recipes! Snowflake details inside.

For the holidays every year, I send out packages of homemade goodies. I make fruitcake (for those who like it), and I typically include candied ginger and fudge as well. I also try to include one or two other candies as well. In the past, I've made marshmallows, caramel (which it turns out I'm not that fond of), spiced nuts, and hard candies. I'm probably going to include butter mints this year.

But, apart from candied ginger, none of these are vegan! I have vegan friends, and I want to send them vegan candies that I find interesting and tasty. As an added complication, I'd like to avoid chocolate candies -- I'm not looking to replace my 'normal' fudge recipe, and chocolate tends to be more expensive than most of the other ingredients that go into candy.

So ... can anyone recommend tasty, shelf-stable vegan candy recipes? Ideally, I'd like things that might compliment my "normal" recipes rather than replace them. A bit of a technical challenge might be fun as well.
posted by steady-state strawberry to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
It looks like you can use margarine instead of butter for vegan peanut brittle.
posted by dilettante at 6:58 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just to clarify, do you not consider regular white sugar vegan? I understand many people don’t, and that’s the only reason I can think that you wouldn’t consider hard candy vegan....it’s just sugar, water, and flavor. Could you also clarify why spiced nuts aren’t vegan to you?

Maple candy is vegan. You can do lollipops or include nuts. Vegan marshmallow recipes also exist, and depending on what substitutes you’re willing to make, you can also do vegan rice crispy treats, candied fruit peels, jams and jellies, or hard candies with alternative syrups. I am also a big fan of popcorn balls, which are just soft crack syrup and popcorn. I got good results with the search term “diy vegan (food)”. Marshmallows aren’t really shelf stable but you can mail them. You might look into pulling taffy, too, but that’s very dependent on humidity level.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:12 PM on August 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

Kosher desserts are often non-dairy, (so they can be eaten after a meat dinner), so you can try adding that to your google search. They don’t read healthy like vegan does, so you’ll still get sugar. The word for neither dairy nor meat is pareve, though eggs and honey are still in this category, you’ll get no milk or gelatin.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 7:44 PM on August 25, 2018

I googled vegan divinity and found a recipe. No idea if it’s any good.

When I used to make regular divinity, the only way it would work was to beat it with an electric mixer for an absurd amount of time. It took me years to really understand how long I had to beat it for. Until then, I ended up with divinity soup. This recipe says the same thing.
posted by FencingGal at 7:44 PM on August 25, 2018

One problem with a lot of vegan candy recipes that you find on random food blogs is that the makers tend to not be particularly rigorous with temperatures or measuring, and almost no one seems to properly temper their chocolate. Mixing cacao powder and coconut oil and tossing the result in the freezer is not gonna fly.

I'm eagerly awaiting the forthcoming cookbook from Lagusta Yearwood (examples of her stuff: pride bark, other various chocolates) but I don't think it will be available before the upcoming holiday season.

Some things I have bookmarked for my own research:

Cashew cream caramels, modified from an omni recipe by David Lebovitz.

Some basic candy recipes although honestly things like candied fruit or nuts don't require any modification from omni versions so long as you're using vegan ingredients to start with.

Minimalist Baker's sweets tend to be well-tested and reliable.

Full of Plants' Praline Chocolates are good (sorry, I know you're trying to stay away from chocolate) and the Snacks recipe category should have some other good ideas.

Serious Eats' vegan marshmallows are good but require a lot of specialized ingredients. Generally speaking anything on Serious Eats will be extremely well-tested but their periodic vegan recipes tend to be for savory items and not confections.

Avocados and Ales has vegan macaron recipes (scroll down) that are pretty killer.

Unconventional Baker's "Candy & Fudge" category is also good.
posted by bcwinters at 8:14 PM on August 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

With two caveats: white sugar and the need for Lorann flavoring oils -

One cup sugar, 1/3 cup white corn syrup, 1/4 cup water.

Put all in thick-bottomed pan, heat to "hard crack" on a candy thermometer, stirring constantly.

Remove immediately from heat, stir in oil and optional food coloring. Pour immediately onto a pizza pan greased with margarine. Let cool for 30-60 seconds, score with a pizza cutter into small squares. When cool enough and scoring remains visible, move to a plate with confectioner's sugar to keep it from sticking. Break apart and put into container of your choice.

Old fashioned hard candy.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 8:47 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

A couple more:

Fran Costigan's vegan brigadeiros; she has a few other candy recipes on her blog but most of them are in books.

Hannah Kaminsky's candy category; the pumpkin pâte de fruits recipe is accurate and I have been meaning to make her vegan honeycomb (which of course contains no honey).
posted by bcwinters at 8:50 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

The problem with white sugar is that a lot of it is whitened with bone char. If that's a problem for your vegan friends (not all vegans care), here's a list of sugar companies that don't use bone char.
posted by Weeping_angel at 10:15 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Orangettes are old school Christmas treats, and easily made alongside the candied ginger, I would think. The chocolate in that recipe is optional, and any somewhat thick citrus peel will work there.

If you change your mind on chocolate, I've been using full fat coconut milk in place of cream to make truffles for years.

Also, skimming through the Bravetart cookbook, she has a vegan variation for her heath toffee recipe, and another for chewy caramel, but if you've found a good source of vegan sugar, then the homemade crackerjack and caramel vanilla peanut brittle would also qualify.
posted by peppermind at 5:34 AM on August 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I haven't made candy in a long while, but the key to pretty much all good vegan recipes is to not use explicitly vegan recipes. Get a copy of some standard cookbook with candy recipes, I think the Joy of Cooking has some, and just modify them for your vegan ingredients. Hard candy can easily be vegan, things that are jelly/gelled with gelatin will need to be thickened in other ways, e.g. agar/starch depending on the application.

Also, you shouldn't worry about bone char. At that point you're into "process veganism" and you basically can't live in a modern society.
posted by beerbajay at 9:06 AM on August 26, 2018

I'd assume the non-vegan parts of marshmallows, spiced nuts, and caramels are: gelatin, egg whites, and cream.

Peppermint bark is a perennial hit. If you wanted to get real fancy, you could make the candy canes yourself. It involves pulling hot sugar, which can be both fun and dangerous!
posted by lovecrafty at 9:11 AM on August 26, 2018

Deb's apple cider caramels can be made vegan with coconut milk.
posted by scrubjay at 10:26 AM on August 26, 2018

Thank you for the suggestions so far!

A few points:
- I am not concerned about white sugar.
- My experiences with hard candy were somewhat mixed? The recipe I've used wasn't particularly good, but I'm willing to give it another shot.
- I'm hoping to find explicitly vegan recipes, since I don't have much experience with vegan food substitutions.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 3:10 PM on August 26, 2018

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