8 ounces confectioners' sugar, sifted (2 cups), plus more for kneading
Vegetable shortening, for kneading
Brown, black and tan gel food coloring
plastic, disposable gloves, a 1/2-inch round pastry tip, a small paint brush, a pastry tip with a 3/4-inch-wide base, 6 small bath cups
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.
Remove a 1-ounce piece of the fondant (about 2 tablespoons) and set aside. Color the larger piece of fondant brown (7 or 8 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 a very small piece of the 1-ounce chunk and color with a tiny amount of black gel, working in additional confectioners' sugar if needed. Color the remaining 1-ounce piece tan (about 2 drops), working in additional confectioners' sugar if needed.
For the monkey heads, ears and arms: Divide the brown fondant into 6 pieces. Divide each piece into a large piece (two-thirds) and a small piece (one-third). Roll the larger pieces into an oval-shaped head. Pinch a small piece off all the smaller pieces. Gather together and roll out to about 1/4-inch-thick with a greased rolling pin. Cut out 12 ears using the tip of a 1/2-inch plain pastry tip. Press a cavity in each ear using the back of a paint brush. Brush the tops of the heads with a little water and stick on the ears. Divide the remaining smaller pieces in 2 and roll into long arms.
Set squares of parchment on overturned bath cups. Press sets of arms together to make a "v" shape. Drape sets of arms over the cups so the arms hang down. Press the heads on top of the point where the arms meet. Roll out the tan pieces of fondant to about 1/4-inch-thick using a greased rolling pin. Cut out 2 eyes from each piece with the tip of the 1/2- inch pastry tip. Cut out a nose from each with a pastry tip with a 3/4-inch-wide base. Pull the noses slightly to make oval. Brush the front of the faces with a little water. Stick the noses on and make nostrils with a wooden skewer. Use the curved base of a pastry tip to make a smiling mouth indentation. Attach the tan eyes above the nose. Roll the black fondant into tiny eyeballs and press in the eyes.
Let the monkeys dry, uncovered, overnight.
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