Some of you may recall the Fondant Friday posts that appeared during this blog’s infancy. They weren’t too good, but at the time, I had big aspirations to practice, practice, practice and become really adept at working with fondant. Aside from making a few fondant flowers to top cupcakes, I didn’t touch fondant again until this past week when I topped red velvet shortbread cookies with a layer of icing and homemade fondant.
I was very curious about how to make fondant at home and how the taste of homemade fondant would compare to that of store-bought fondant. A friend once told me she prefers to look at cakes decorated with fondant and eat cakes covered in icing. I thought that was a very eloquent way to say fondant just tastes bad!
Since the homemade fondant recipe I used called only for sugar in various forms – marshmallows, corn syrup, and confectioner’s sugar – and flavorings, the taste was superior to the two store-bought fondants, Duff and Wilton brands, I had tasted. While Duff’s fondant tastes pretty good, Wilton’s fondant tastes terrible. Wilton offers a lot of great baking-related products, but fondant is not one of them.
Making homemade fondant is a sticky process that requires a lot of kneading. I can’t stress enough how important it is to lightly coat the mixing bowls and utensils you will use with non-stick cooking spray or shortening. Since fondant is so thick, more like modeling clay than Play-Doh, you will likely need to knead by hand at some point. Adding a bit of confectioners’ sugar to fondant like you would add flour to bread dough while kneading helps alleviate the stickiness.
Other suggestions include rubbing a thin coat of white vegetable shortening on the work surface and your hands before rolling out the fondant, but I’ve always just used my dusting pouch filled with equal parts confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch to prevent the rolled out fondant from sticking to the work surface.
My number one tip for working with fondant is to make sure your work surface is clean. Wipe off the counter, or mat if you have one, and then wipe it off again. Fondant picks up crumbs and dust like a magnet, and it’s no fun to roll out a sheet of fondant and then see flecks of non-fondant stuff all over it. Seriously, someone should start to market fondant as a perishable lint roller.
To color fondant, I dab a small ball of fondant with a toothpick dipped in gel food color until the fondant is speckled. Then I knead the color into the fondant until it is consistent throughout. As for kneading, I work an entire batch of fondant like I would knead bread dough, pressing it out with my hands and folding it over. When kneading in color, I pull the smaller ball of fondant like I imagine I would pull taffy.
If you have never worked with fondant before, I would suggest buying a cheap package of fondant (that’s where the Wilton brand comes in handy) simply to get a feel for the texture. Working with fondant takes time and patience, but with practice, you can do some pretty cool things. Good luck!
- Non-stick cooking spray or shortening
- 15 ounces marshmallows
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon or almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6-8 cups confectioner's sugar
- Grease a microwave-safe bowl, a stand mixer bowl, dough hooks, and spatulas with a thin layer of non-stick cooking spray or shortening.
- Combine the marshmallows and water in the microwave safe bowl.
- Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds, stir, then repeat until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is soupy.
- When the mixture is melted and soupy, stir in the lemon juice, corn syrup, flavoring extracts, and salt.
- Place 5-6 cups of confectioner's sugar in the stand mixer bowl and form a well in the center.
- Pour the marshmallow mixture into the well and knead on low speed with the dough hook until the sugar is mostly incorporated.
- When the mixture begins to stick to the bowl, add an additional 1-2 cups confectioner's sugar and continue to knead until the fondant is smooth, thick, and loses its stickiness.
- Form the fondant into a smooth ball, very lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray or shortening, and wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap.
- Allow the fondant to rest 3-4 hours or overnight before using to decorate.
- Store the fondant wrapped in plastic wrap and in an air-tight container.
Fondant is very thick, so if the stand mixer starts to work too hard, remove the fondant and knead by hand on a clean work surface.You may want to coat the work surface with non-stick cooking spray, shortening, or a mixture of equal parts confectioners' sugar and cornstarch if you knead by hand.