plastic, disposable gloves, a small paintbrush, a 1/2-inch plain pastry tip, a 1/4-inch plain pastry tip, a 1/8-inch plain pastry tip
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.
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.
Color three-quarters of the fondant deep yellow (6 or 7 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.) Pinch off an almond-size piece of the remaining fondant and color deep black (about 2 drops) working in additional confectioners' sugar if needed. Coloring the remaining fondant brown (3 to 4 drops) working in additional confectioners' sugar if needed.
For the giraffe legs, head, neck and nose: Divide the yellow fondant into 6 pieces. Divide each piece in half. Roll half of the pieces into sets of long legs. Press each set together to join in a "v" shape and transfer to a parchment-lined baking. sheet. Pinch off 2 small pieces from each of the remaining pieces. Form each of the large pieces into an egg shape with a short, stubby neck for the head and neck. Make a squareish nose for each head from 1 of the small yellow pieces and attach with a little water. Stick the heads on to the legs.
Roll the remaining small yellow pieces out to about 1/4-inch-thick with a greased rolling pin and cut out 2 ears for each giraffe with the tip of a 1/2-inch round pastry tip. Make ridges in the ears with the back of a paring knife and press one side together to make the ears pointy. Brush the top sides of the heads with a little water and attach the ears, pressing slightly to adhere.
Pinch off 12 tiny pieces of black fondant and roll into balls. Press the balls onto the giraffes on top of the nose for eyes. Roll the remaining black fondant out to about ¼-inch thick and cut out 12 foot pads with the 1/4-inch pastry tip. Press slightly to make larger and attach to the bottom of the feet, brushing with a little water if necessary.
Press 6 small squares of brown to cover the tips of the noses and mark long nostrils. Pinch 12 tiny pieces from the brown and roll to make stubby antlers. Press on the tops of the heads, in between the ears.
Roll the remaining brown fondant to about 1/4-inch-thick with a greased rolling pin (in a few pieces if it is sticky). Cut out body spots with the tip of a 1/4-inch pastry tip. Cut out face spots with the tip of a 1/8-inch pastry tip. Brush the giraffe very lightly with water and attach the spots all over.
Let the giraffes dry, uncovered, overnight.
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