For those of you who grew up dip-dying eggs for Easter, I’ve created an eco-friendly vegan version. If your kids are used to dying eggs, this is a great alternative.
I wanted to use fruit juices instead of dye. You can use fruit juices to dye frosting and cakes, so I thought “why not marshmallows?” It turns out, that doesn’t quite work. The marshmallows will pick up the coloring from the juice if you leave it in there long enough, but they’ll also get really sticky and gooey. Not great. They’ll look like this:
Kinda pretty, but not what we’re going for.
So…I recommend just using plant-based food coloring and you don’t have to eat them if you don’t want to. I found a brand called India Tree at Whole Foods that is made from highly-concentrated vegetable colorants. They are fun and make a lovely decoration.
Marshmallows are full of sugar so if you haven’t introduced your kids to sugar yet, I’d say they should skip eating them altogether…I wouldn’t want Bear eating sugar and food dye until it’s completely unavoidable. I’m trying to keep that stuff out of his universe as long as possible. (We went to a party where there were cupcakes and he saw them, but I just diverted his attention to the strawberries and he was happy.) I know this won’t last forever, but I want him to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible so, for now, no sugar.
But, if you’re a flirt and would normally be digging into a package of peeps, these are a healthier alternative!
• A spoon
• About one cup of water
• Vegan marshmallows. I used Dandies (found at Whole Foods), but Sweet & Sara make some too.
• Food coloring – make sure it’s vegan. India Tree makes vegetable-based food coloring and they sell it at some Whole Foods.
• A muffin tin to dip the marshmallows. You can also use small bowls or prep bowls…whatever you have on hand!
• A paper grocery bag, cut one side off. You can also use parchment paper, which might be a little easier because of its non-stick surface, but it’s also not as eco. You can find FSC-certified unbleached chlorine-free parchment paper from If You Care.
• OPTIONAL: A basket with some paper “grass.” I saved one that I received as a gift last year so I just used that. If you don’t already have a basket, you can probably find one at a thrift store and use strips of newspaper for the “grass.”
1. Add about 6 drops of food coloring per two tablespoons of water into a cup of your muffin tin and stir. You want the liquid to be about ½-inch deep so that you can set the marshmallow on the bottom of the cup if you want and it won’t be fully submerged. Lay out your piece of paper bag next to the muffin tin so that you won’t drip.
2. Put a marshmallow on a spoon and submerge it into the cup. You can submerge it completely or halfway to get a two-tone effect. If you’re not afraid of getting messy, you can also just use your hands to dunk.
3. Once you’ve dipped one side, set the marshmallow on the paper bag and let it dry for about 5 minutes. Then dye the other side (or don’t… your choice!).
4. Let the marshmallows dry for about an hour on the paper, flipping halfway through. Careful: if you let it dry too long, it will be hard to get off of the paper.
5. Once the marshmallows are dry (and no longer sticky) pile them into the basket. Or decorate with them however you’d like!
Note: You probably don’t want to go hiding these around your yard because they will still be slightly sticky and will just get covered with dirt. This is really just for the fun of making them, eating some if you’re a Peeps fan, and to use for decoration.
Do you think you’ll dip-dye some marshmallows?
What groovy alternatives do you have for these traditional holiday activities?
Are these traditions important to you?
If you have any other favorite spring crafts, share them in the comments below!