How to Make Plastic Icing

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Bakers rely on plastic icing, otherwise known as "fondant," to create smooth, elaborately decorated cakes. Made from a mixture of sugar and a gelatin, plastic icing is sweet, elastic and holds its shape. Using marshmallows for the gelling part of the recipe increases the sugary-sweet flavor and makes it possible to mix fondant at home. With a few ingredients from any kitchen cupboard, you can start using this professional baker's secret by tomorrow morning.

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Place mini marshmallows and two tablespoons of water in a mixing bowl. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir with rubber spatula. Heat again for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until the marshmallows are all melted -- about two and a half minutes total.

Sift 6 cups of confectioners' sugar onto the melted marshmallows. Fold the sugar into the marshmallows until well mixed.

Set up your work space. Rub a layer of vegetable shortening over a clean counter or cutting board. Set a bowl of 1/2 cup vegetable shortening nearby. Wash hands.

Pour the marshmallow mixture out onto the work space. Grease hands well with vegetable shortening.

Knead the mixture like a dough for about eight minutes. It should become firm, smooth and elastic enough to stretch without tearing. Add confectioner's sugar to dough as needed during the process. Re-grease hands and work space as needed.

Form the plastic icing into a ball. Coat the icing with a layer of vegetable grease to preserve moisture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a resealable bag with all of the air squeezed out. Allow the icing to sit overnight in the refrigerator before use.