Fondant. It’s the stuff that makes wedding cakes look so beautifully iced. It’s also the stuff that makes wedding cakes taste kind of funky. If you’ve ever watched Cake Boss or any kind of baking challenge series on Food Network, you’ve seen bakers use sheeters to roll out the fondant that they then drape over their cakes. It’s all very glamorous in a commercial kitchen. Here’s what it’s like in my kitchen: STICKY.
I do not like the taste of fondant. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even like the look of fondant that much. I like cake that looks like cake, not cake that looks like 6 layers of rice krispie treats covered in fondant. For this reason, I didn’t work with fondant for a long time, and now when I use it, I prefer to just make cookie and cupcakes decorations out of it. Because I like a good challenge, I decided to make my fondant from scratch rather than buy it at the store. I did some research and found that most home bakers prefer the taste of marshmallow fondant. I found this recipe on Wilton’s website and it seemed simple enough.
Who knew that all you need to make fondant is a bag of mini marshmallows, water and powdered sugar?! I was shocked! If you’re planning to make your own fondant, the Wilton recipe is awesome, and I actually like the taste!
Here’s the catch: yes, the recipe tells you to grease your hands generously. It even capitalizes it as GENEROUSLY. I don’t know if I have ever encountered a stickier substance than this fondant. You know when you’re making smores and some of your melted marshmallow gets on your hands? Multiply that feeling by 100. Make sure you have Crisco AT THE READY and be prepared to have marshmallow all over your hands. Don’t use butter. It doesn’t work as well as shortening.
If you’re planning to dye your fondant, put your food coloring in before you add your sugar, unless you’re planning to make several colors out of one batch. I like to freeze my fondant overnight before I use it because I find it much easier to work with when it’s chilled. When it’s soft (especially if it’s the summer and it’s hot in your home), it can get –you guessed it– really sticky, really quickly and then you’ll have a hard time rolling it out.
My favorite part of decorating with fondant is buying baby cookie cutters to use on the fondant. I like to use Cheap Cookie Cutters to shop for smaller cookie cutters (think 2”). I don’t know why anyone would buy tiny cookie cutters except to use them for decorations. If you gave me a cookie that tiny, I would have to eat 10 to feel satisfied.
Once you’ve successfully rolled and cut out your fondant shapes, you’ll need to lay your decorations out to dry. Whatever you do, DO NOT put them in Tupperware with a lid. It’s best to lay your decorations out on a piece of cardboard in a dark, dry area of your home. Depending on how thick you rolled your fondant, decorations will take a few days to dry. Try to avoid touching the decorations until they’ve hardened because they can rip pretty easily when they’re soft.
When you’re ready to attach your fondant to your treat, buttercream or royal icing works as an effective glue. As much work as it can be, fondant decorations add so much to an otherwise simply decorated dessert. Plus, homemade fondant freezes well and can be kept for several months. After all, it’s just marshmallows and sugar. I like to freeze my fondant in a flat disc wrapped in plastic wrap and then placed inside a Ziploc bag. Make sure to squeeze all the air out before zipping it shut. When you take it out of the freezer, your hands will warm it up to a workable temperature and you’ll be good to go.
If you’re looking for a sugar cookie recipe to use with your fondant, you can check out my recipe for Classic Sugar cookies here!
Have you ever worked with fondant? Do you also have marshmallow stickiness horror stories?