Special equipment: plastic, disposable gloves, a small paintbrush, 1/4-inch round pastry tip, pastry tip with a 3/4-inch-wide base
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.
Divide the fondant in half. Color one half dark black with food coloring (about 5 to 6 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 after so as not to bleed colors.) Divide the white portion into 6 pieces and the black into 6 pieces.
For the panda head, eye whites and foot pads: Pull off an almond-size piece of white fondant from one of the pieces and set aside. Roll the larger piece into a head that is slightly triangular, but still rounded. Roll the smaller (almond-size) piece out with a greased rolling pin about 1/4-inch-thick. Use a 1/4-inch round pastry tip to cut out 2 eyeballs and 2 footpads. Press all 4 slightly to make slightly larger, but still round.
For the panda legs, ears, eyes and nose: Divide a black piece of fondant into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Form the larger piece into 2 stubby legs. Press together to join in a "v" shape. Arrange the set legs on the parchment, "v" point-up and attach the head onto the point. Use the 1/4-inch pastry tip to make toe indentations in the tip of each leg. Attach the white foot pads to the bottom of the feet, brushing with a little water if needed to adhere. Roll a tiny piece of the remaining black fondant to make a slightly flat, triangular shaped nose. Stick in the middle of the face, point side-down. Roll out the remaining black fondant with a greased rolling pin. Use a pastry tip with a 3/4-inch base to cut out 2 ears. Crease with the back of a paring knife. Brush the panda's head lightly with water where the ears go and attach the ears, pressing slightly. Use the 1/4-inch pastry tip to cut out 2 eyes. Flatten to make slightly oval and larger than the white eyeballs. Stick the black eye circles to the sides of the nose. Attached the white eyeballs inside the black. Roll 2 tiny black balls and stick inside of the white.
Repeat with the remaining fondant to make 5 more pandas.
Let the pandas dry, uncovered, overnight.
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