Marshmallow Fondant Elephants

Homemade fondant is achievable — all you need are marshmallows, water and confectioners' sugar (and a microwave). Make these adorable elephants — perfect cupcake toppers.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 9 hr (includes drying time)
  • Active: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 6
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Ingredients

5 ounces mini marshmallows (2 2/3 cups)

8 ounces confectioners' sugar, sifted (2 cups), plus more for kneading

Vegetable shortening, for kneading

Pink, black and blue gel food coloring

Directions

Special equipment:
plastic, disposable gloves, a wooden skewer, 1/4-inch round pastry tip
  1. For the marshmallow fondant: Combine the marshmallows and 1 1/2 teaspoons water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring in between each, until melted and smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  2. Add about three-quarters of the sifted confectioners' sugar into the marshmallow mixture and stir to combine. Once the mixture becomes too stiff to stir, grease your counter and hands with shortening (or wear greased plastic, disposable gloves) and dump the mixture onto the counter. Knead, adding the remaining quarter of confectioners' sugar, a little at a time, until the fondant is very smooth, not sticky and holds its shape into a ball without relaxing. Use right away or grease it lightly with additional shortening, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight plastic bag or container at room temperature for up to several days. 
  3. Remove a 1-ounce piece from the fondant ball (about 2 tablespoons). Color the 1-ounce piece bright pink (about 3 drops), rolling and kneading to evenly incorporate the color. Work in a little confectioners? sugar if the moisture from the food coloring makes the fondant too soft. (Wear plastic, disposable gloves and wash your hands well between colors so as not to bleed colors.) Pull off an almond-sized piece from the large white piece of fondant and color dark black (about 2 drops), working in additional confectioners' sugar if needed. Color the remaining fondant bright blue (about 6 drops), working in additional confectioners' sugar if needed. 
  4. For the elephant head, trunk, ears and legs: Divide the blue fondant into 6 pieces. Cut 1 piece in half. With greased hands, roll a half into a head with an elongated trunk and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a wooden skewer to poke 2 nostrils in the end of the trunk. Divide the remaining half into 4 pieces: roll 2 pieces into stubby legs. Press together to join in a "v" shape. Roll and flatten the other 2 pieces into large round ears, about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Repeat with the remaining 5 pieces of blue fondant. 
  5. For the inside of the ear: Divide the pink fondant into 12 pieces. Roll and flatten 2 pieces of pink fondant into rounds a little smaller than the blue ears and stick them in the middle of the blue ears. Repeat with the remaining 10 pieces. 
  6. Build the elephants: Arrange a set of legs on the parchment, "v" point-up. Arrange the ears above the legs so that they are just barely touching. Rest the head on top of the ears and legs, pressing lightly to adhere. Drape the trunk over one of the legs. Use a 1/4-inch round pastry tip to make toe indentations in the tip of each leg. Roll 2 tiny black balls and press in to adhere. 
  7. Repeat with the remaining fondant to make 5 more elephants.
  8. Let the elephants dry, uncovered, overnight. 
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