Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stale Marshmallow Fondant

Do you have your plans for Mother's Day yet? I've got my cards done at least! At school/work we're whipping up an afternoon "tea" for the parents, and (of course) as the "Dietary Manager / Certified Baker" it fell to me to do the cake. Now, I was told I could do whatever, which could have meant a box mix and canned frosting (if that)... but really, how could I live that down? Luckily, a fortuitous shopping trip by one of the teachers and a lucky break from my freezer and pantry meant I had the makings of a beautiful dessert topped with handmade, hand painted flowers! Today I'm giving you my version of marshmallow fondant, but I promise the cake and frosting recipes will come tomorrow!

Sweet Lily

This isn't the first time I've played around with marshmallow fondant either. Remember that Rich Root Cake I made for my grandmother's birthday? The bumblebees and flower leaves were courtesy of a batch made earlier that year. MMF is great for any sort of cake or cookie decorating because a) it's cheap (a couple bucks worth of marshmallows and icing sugar vs. up to $28 for the same amount of premade), b) it's easy (took me all of 10 minutes to put together) and c) it tastes so much better than traditional fondant. Yet it behaves similarly, taking on colour and flavour well, rolling and cutting as needed, and even freezing for ages provided it's well wrapped.

BuzzzzzzWhat makes my MMF different than your standard recipes from What's Cooking America or Wilton is the type of marshmallows I use. Or rather, the age of the marshmallows I use. Most recipes call for the freshest mallows you can get your hands on - but when I made this the first time, I didn't have fresh marshmallows. I had marshmallows that I found in the back of our pantry, which were more like gravel than pillows. But I figured what the heck, I needed to do something with them anyway to avoid just tossing them, so I gave it a whirl. Wouldn't you know it, the little sugar pucks flung a surprise into the mix by simply caramelizing in the microwave, not really melting. I quickly grabbed the first thing that made sense in my pantry (clear corn syrup) and beat the daylights out of it, which smoothed things out a touch. To deal with any sort of "cooked" flavour (although I do like toasted marshmallows) I didn't even bother trying to hide it - I just played it up with a few drops of super-strength English Toffee flavour! It tasted so good - and was so cheap (since I can get old marshmallows for pennies in the Bulk Barn's clearance pile) that I made another batch and stashed it in the freezer for whenever I might need it - like this week! 

To make the calla lilies, I rolled out the fondant between sheets of waxed paper and cut out rounds with a miniature wavy circle cutter. Then I gently rolled each round into a cone and filled the centres with a silver dragee for the stamen before allowing them to dry overnight. The next morning, I mixed a "paint" of vodka and food colouring and hand-applied the purple and green hues to each before letting them dry for another 6 hours. Once they were on their coconut-carob frosting and hand-tinted coconut beds, they looked like the Garden of Eden, and from what I heard from Mom (official taste tester!) they tasted like it too!

Marshmallow Fondant

Stale Marshmallow Fondant
Adapted from What's Cooking America
Makes about 19 oz, NI is per ounce
8 oz stale mini marshmallows
5 tbsp water (if using fresh marshmallows, drop this to 3 tbsp)
1 tbsp white corn syrup
1/2 tsp English Toffee flavouring (optional, I used LorAnn Oils)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 1/4 cups icing sugar (you may need more depending on your marshmallows)
Shortening to grease
  1. Combine the marshmallows, water and corn syrup in a large bowl.
  2. Microwave on HI for 1 minute, then stir and continue microwaving in 30 second bursts until the mixture is more or less melted (mine didn't melt all the way but it works itself out).
  3. Beat in the flavouring (if using) and salt, then add 1 cup of icing sugar to the bowl and beat in.
  4. Grease a smooth countertop (and your hands!) well and scrape the marshmallow mixture onto it.
  5. Top with 1/4 cup more icing sugar and begin to knead it in, adding more icing sugar as needed until the mixture resembles a smooth, supple bread dough.
  6. Wrap well in plastic wrap and store in the fridge up to 3 months, or keep in the freezer up to 1 year.
  7. Defrost completely in the plastic wrap before using.
Amount Per Serving (1 oz)
Calories: 95.5
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 41.4 mg
Total Carbs: 24.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.2 g