Thursday, 26 April 2012

Making marshmallow fondant

I just remembered that I meant to put up a post on how to make marshmallow fondant (mmf).

Difficulty rating: Easy

Take equal parts icing sugar and marshmallows. Use the best quality you can get, as the cheaper ones tend to result in a grainy textured fondant. Also beware of icing mixture - for this you want pure icing sugar if you can get it.
Heat the marshmallows in the microwave until they bubble up, remove the bowl and stir with a spatula until the mixture is smooth. Add any food colouring you like*, a tablespoon of water for every 250g of marshmallows and half the sifted icing sugar. Sifting is something I often don't bother with, but for this it prevents lumps and makes your life a lot easier. You will need more icing sugar later too, so sift more than you need at this stage.
Stir in the sugar, it should take all of it and not become too lumpy. Then add in the other half, and stir until the mixture is a weird crumbly but sticky texture (you could have added it all in one go, but it's easier if you do it in 2 lots). Don't panic, this is what it should look like ;)

Oil your hands and dust them with more icing sugar. Do the same to your work surface (use quite liberal amounts of the icing sugar or your fondant will stick to the surface) and turn out your mixture. Knead it like you would bread dough, incorporating more icing sugar until it becomes firm, is no longer sticky and resembles something like playdough (albeit with a tougher texture). If you eat a bit, it should have a firm but slightly springy texture. This might take quite a while, so be prepared to work those muscles kneading!
If you run out of icing sugar on your work surface before it loses it's stickiness, add more and keep working it.
The trouble I had was maintaining sticky-free hands - you may have to keep washing your hands, re-oiling and re-dusting them.

Once you've made the stuff, it is fine kept in a sealed container in the fridge for a couple of weeks (although I used mine within a couple of days). I'd also wrap it in gladwrap before putting it into the container, but perhaps I'm just paranoid that it'll dry out if I don't. When you want to use it, just give it a quick knead to loosen it up and return it to a more workable state.
Be prepared to get sticky everywhere, but hot water cleans up the mess relatively easily.
This stuff is great for giving a nice even covering for cakes, and can be moulded into shapes or cut like biscuit dough. If you need to stick mmf decorations to other parts of your cake, just brush one piece with a little water and you'll have no problems there ;) This also tastes so much better than the packet fondant you can get - it for some reason isn't quite as sweet and has a light texture (due to the marshmallows). You'll probably still want to seal your cake with marzipan or something similar before you cover it in mmf (otherwise you'll get moisture buildup between the fondant and the cake, making it sticky), although for the dragon cake I didn't bother as it was going to be eaten the following day anyway.
It's fun to make and you can do cool things with it! What more could you want? ;)

In a word? Sticky.

*If you use liquid food colouring, be prepared to use a lot to make a strong colour, and beware that it may give it a slightly odd taste. I've never seen anything absorb liquid colour to no effect like this stuff does. I'd suggest using a powder if you can get it though, and mix it through the melted marshmallow before you add the sugar (to give a more easily smooth colour - otherwise it'll take a very long time to knead it smooth!). If you use a liquid, also be prepared to add a lot more sugar, and don't add the water. It will make it so much more sticky than not using the colouring at all! Other options to colour it can be melted chocolate, cocoa powder and basically anything you can get your hands on ;)

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