I’ve always been a huge nature lover. It’s why I studied environmental science in college. What better way to earn a bachelor’s degree than to take a bunch of classes that required hiking through forests and mucking around lakes? It’s been over 20 years since those days of studying tree core samples and teasing apart plant roots with hamster-sized tweezers under the dissecting scope. And over four years since I left my career in the environmental sciences. But just because I make food for a living now doesn’t mean that I’ve left my green heart behind. In fact, having a business, even a very small one, has made me more conscious than ever of my ecological footprint.
While I’ve always done my share of recycling and taking along reusable grocery bags to the store, I’ve been wanting to do so much more to make my business as environmentally responsible as possible. As a business that depends on consumption of resources, I decided that the best way of reducing my footprint on the earth is by re-evaluating my recipes, specifically my ingredients. This wasn’t easy. It’s hard to make changes to your most popular items.
My best-selling item has always been the Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Confection. For those of you who haven’t tried one before, it’s a thick bed of milk chocolate and peanut butter gianduja topped with a fluffy layer of vanilla marshmallow. To get to the decadent, fudgy peanut butter and chocolate mixture, you must first sink your teeth through the billowy marshmallow. Not to brag, but the combination of different textures and flavors was so heavenly that I wanted to call the thing a Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Perfection. However, my permit inspector objected, pointing out that “Perfection” didn’t really identify the product. He said I must name my items so as to make it easy for customers to know what they were buying. So my candy became the humble Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Confection. But I digress.
As proud as I was of my PB&M Confection, I’ve never been proud of the gelatin I used for making the marshmallow. As many of you know, gelatin relies on the use of a protein derived from animal skin, bone, and connective tissue. Gelatin is a common ingredient in marshmallows, for its ability to hold the marshmallow in a fluffy, aerated form upon cooling and setting.
My Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Confections are now made with Dandies vegan marshmallows, which are completely plant-based. I made a test batch today and they are scrumptious. Best of all, no gelatin. You can now indulge on the PB&Ms guilt-free.
For those of you with Facebook accounts, it’s hard not to notice the posts about tree planting events and local park cleanup parties that have been showing up on our feeds lately. That’s because April is Earth Month. While I think it’s great that we have a dedicated time of year for celebrating our planet, I personally think every month should be Earth Month, and everyday Earth Day. My new Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Confection is just the first step in the Little Dipper kitchen toward caring for the planet year-round. There’s much more to come in the way of environmentally responsible handcrafted treats.
Happy Earth Month to everyone, and here’s to 11 others just like it!