- Fondant has been a confectionery staple for nearly a century, and it has recently become popular as a substitute for icing on cakes as well. Fondant is a sweet, buttery concoction that has the consistency of modeling clay and can be used in much the same manner. Made with sugar and either butter or solid vegetable shortening, fondant can be colored and flavored to accommodate the desires of a confectioner or cake decorator. Fondant can also be rolled out, cut into shapes with a cookie cutter, pressed into a mold or formed by hand into 3-dimensional figures. Fondant that has invertase added becomes liquid, and this is the basis for confections such as chocolate-dipped liquer cherries. For sheer versatility, fondant is a confection that can't be beaten.
There are three ways to make fondant. The first requires cooking, and as with all cooked candies, the process is time consuming and demands some precision as to attaining and maintaining the correct temperature. However, if candies with liquid centers are desired, then it's best to use cooked fondant as the base. A second method uses either butter or solid vegetable shortening, corn syrup and confectioners sugar to create a dense paste. This method is very easy and produces a pleasantly creamy mixture. There is also a powdered fondant mixture that is available online or in the cake decorating section of many grocery stores. Just add water to the powder to make a batch of fondant. The powdered mixture is good for those times when a small amount of fondant is needed, such as to make decorations for a batch of cupcakes.
Following is an easy, no-cook fondant that can be used as cream centers for dipping in chocolate or for cake decorating. The recipe makes a large batch; store extra fondant in the refrigerator, wrapped well in plastic.
1 c. butter, softened or
1 c. hydrogenated vegetable shortening at room temperature
1/2 c. white corn syrup
8 c. sifted confectioners sugar
Using a stand mixer, cream butter or shortening together with corn syrup. Slowly mix in confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, until mixture resembles modeling clay. If the mixture becomes too thick to beat, remove the fondant to a silicone mat and knead in the remaining confectioners sugar.
Use butter for candy making; save the hydrogenated vegetable shortening for cake decorating. The low melting point of butter gives the cream centers a smooth, silky, melt-in-your-mouth texture while the vegetable shortening has better holding qualities at room temperature.
- If colored fondant is needed, use paste or gel food coloring (available in the cake decorating section of Meijers.) Pastes and gels won't add moisture to the fondant. Add color sparingly, as pastes and gels are intense.
Use hard candy oils to flavor your fondant. A little goes a long way - add only 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp to the entire batch at the time you are creaming the butter.
- For decorating, fondant can be rolled out and cut with cookie cutters, pressed into flexible molds or sculpted by hand into various shapes. There are a number of different fondant tools available at specialty stores that carry cake decorating or candy-making supplies.
Before placing fondant decorations on a cake, allow them to dry out uncovered for a half-hour or so. This makes them more durable. Brush the bottom of the decoration with a little water to make it sticky enough to adhere to the iced surface of the cake.
- If fondant becomes too mushy and flexible to work with, refrigerate it. It's helpful to freeze the fondant centers prior to dipping in hot chocolate or melted candy coating.
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