Up until about two weeks ago, I had no idea what fondant was. I knew that it was used for decorating cakes, and I also knew that it didn't taste so great, but further than that I was clueless. In order to clear up my ignorance on the subject, I decided that the perfect way to learn about it was to make it!
My conclusion? Fondant is a sticky, gooey mess that tastes way too sweet, but it does indeed make things look really pretty. Because of how sickly-sweet it tastes, I don't think I'll be making it again anytime soon, but it was fun to add cute decorations to cupcakes as well as use it to create the spikes of my Dinosaur Cake.
I used a marshmallow fondant recipe that is pretty popular online. Basically you melt a bag of marshmallows in the microwave or on the stove, and then add tons and tons on powdered sugar until it turns into a manageable dough. Add food coloring and shape it or roll it out flat, and voila! Instant cuteness for baked goods.
Adapted from Wilton's Marshmallow Fondant
16 ounces marshmallows
2-5 tablespoons water
8 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1. To make marshmallow fondant, place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds on high; stir until mixed well. Continue microwaving 30 seconds more; stir again. Continue until melted (about 2 1/2 minutes).
2. Place 3/4 of the confectioners' sugar on top of the melted marshmallow mixture. Fold sugar into marshmallow mixture. Place solid vegetable shortening in easily accessed bowl so you can reach into it with fingers as you are working. Grease hands and counter generously; turn marshmallow mixture onto counter. Start kneading like you would dough. Continue kneading, adding additional confectioners' sugar and re-greasing hands and counter so the fondant doesn't stick. If the marshmallow fondant is tearing easily, it is too dry; add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time) kneading until fondant forms a firm, smooth elastic ball that will stretch without tearing, about 8 minutes.
3. It's best to allow Marshmallow Fondant to sit, double-wrapped, overnight. Prepare the fondant for storing by coating with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in resealable bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Marshmallow Fondant will keep well in refrigerator for several weeks.
4. When not working with fondant, make sure to keep it covered with plastic wrap or in a bag to prevent it from drying out. When ready to use, knead fondant until smooth. Roll out fondant 1/8 in. thick.
To color fondant: If you need to tint the entire batch of fondant, add a little icing color to the melted marshmallow mixture before adding confectioners' sugar. For smaller amounts of tinted fondant, add icing color to portions of fondant as needed.