Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Make Fondant at Home

Fondant is that sugary, smooth dough-like substance that's covering most cakes these days... often on wedding cakes, groom's cakes, birthday cakes, and all of the cake shows you see on TV. It looks great! But usually people don't like to eat it. Some people say it doesn't taste very good. Others say they don't like the texture. 

You can buy fondant in the cake decorating/candy making isle of most craft stores such as Michael's, Hobby Lobby, or Jo-Ann Fabrics. It's typically made from almond paste (I personally think it doesn't have a very sweet flavor). This type of fondant is great if you have a small project or you just want to use it for accents. It comes in many pre-made colors too!

I often make my own fondant at home with a few simple ingredients. It has a sweet vanilla/marshmallow flavor that's much more appealing than a store-bought fondant. The texture is still the same as the store-bought king so if people dislike the fondant because of it's texture, they might not like this either. But if it's about the taste, this marshmallow fondant will fit the bill.

I bet you have these in your pantry right now
I've been making this fondant for at least 4 or 5 years now. It has taken me many tries to get it right. Hopefully my tips will help you succeed on your first try. But if it doesn't work exactly as you expect at first, give it a try again and you'll get the hang of it. I'm happy to answer questions too!

Marshmallow Fondant
1 bag (1 pound) mini marshmallows
1 tablespoon vanilla (or any other flavor you like)
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 pounds (about 6 cups) powdered sugar
1/4 cup Crisco

Place mini marshmallows in a large bowl. Drizzle the vanilla over the marshmallows. Microwave at 30 second intervals for approximately 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.

very sticky melted marshmallows
Add about 4 cups of the powdered sugar to the bowl and carefully stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Dump everything from the bowl onto your heavily greased work surface. Get a good coat of Crisco all over your hands (in between your fingers and even onto your wrists). Start kneading the melted marshmallows and powdered sugar together with your hands. Be careful because it might be a little hot!

Right about now it's a big giant mess... it will get better... just keep working the powdered sugar into the melted marshmallow and it will start to feel more like a soft dough. If it's sticking to your hands too much, put another coat of Crisco on your hands. If it's too soft and sticky, add more of the powdered sugar. If you don't use all 6 cups of the powdered sugar, that's OK. Keep kneading the dough until all of the powdered sugar has been absorbed and your fondant is smooth.

I'm not going to lie... this is going to take a while. At least 15 minutes of kneading.

the fondant should stretch easily without tearing
If your fondant is too dry and stiff, add a teaspoon of water and work it in. Add more one teaspoon at a time until you get a smooth, soft texture that isn't sticky, but that also doesn't break apart easily. If your fondant is too sticky, add a little more powdered sugar. Remember to keep your hands covered in Crisco.

At this point you have white fondant.
TIP:  If you used vanilla extract that has a brown color, it might be a little more like "off white." To get a more pure white color, use water in place of the vanilla or a clear vanilla extract (Wilton makes one).

If you'd like to color your fondant, use a gel paste food coloring (not the liquid kind you can buy at the super market). Add a smear of the color to your fondant and just keep kneading until you reach your desired color. You will get food coloring on your hands. You could wear rubber gloves, but I prefer to just keep a thin layer of Crisco on my hands which keeps the food coloring from staining my hands.

Now it's your turn to give it a try. Good luck!!

TIP: To store your fondant if you don't want to use it right away, rub a thin coat of Crisco on it, wrap it very tightly in plastic wrap, and place in a sealed plastic bag.

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