Marshmallow Fondant

450g mini-marshmallows 
2 lb powdered sugar 
1 tbsp water 
1 tsp corn syrup (optional) 
1 tsp lemon extract (optional) 

1. Melt marshmallows
2. Empty your bag of marshmallows into a large, microwave-safe bowl, and add water. Microwave until the marshmallows are puffed up and soft looking (about 2 minutes in my microwave).
3. Grease a wooden spoon
4. Add your corn syrup and lemon extract and stir them. 
5. The corn syrup seems to help with flexibility of the fondant after it reaches room temperature, and the extract is for added flavor and to help cut the sweetness. 
6. The mixture should be kind of soupy as you stir it, and most of the marshmallows should be dissolved.
7. If you want to color this entire batch, you can add color now, rather than trying to knead it in later.
8. Adding powdered sugar Gradually, begin to stir in the powdered sugar.
9. Continue stirring and adding powdered sugar until you have used about 2/3 of the bag. Stop when it becomes difficult to continue to stir with the spoon.
10.Turn out onto greased surface and knead, KEEPING IN MIND THAT IT IS HOT, begin CAREFULLY kneading with your hands, and gradually add in the rest of your bag of powdered sugar. You may not need to use the entire bag! You'll want to stop kneading when the fondant stops absorbing the powdered sugar, and it actually feels like warm fondant (this is where previous experience with fondant comes in handy). You may want to keep your shortening nearby so you can grease your hands as necessary. 

* A special note about stand mixers: I know that some people use their stand mixer and hook attachment to mix their MMF. Some people are successful and have never had a problem, but I have read TOO MANY STORIES of people burning out their mixer's motor this way! It's not worth the risk, folks! Your stand mixer wasn't made for this!

11. When you've reached this point, it's time to grease the outside so that it won't dry out, and then put it in a gallon-sized ziploc bag to rest. It should rest for several hours, preferably overnight. Right now it is too warm and soft to use. 
12. When you are ready to use your MMF, grease your work surface with shortening and a paper towel. Be sure to cover every spot, there is nothing worse than having your fondant stick to the mat! The two most important things to have on hand when working with marshmallow fondant are shortening and a microwave. Marshmallow fondant does not loosen up with kneading, like traditional fondant.
This is fondant straight from the bag. If it is too hard to roll out, put it in the microwave in 5-second increments until it is kneadable. It's important to not "melt" your MMF! You just want to soften it enough so that you can knead it and roll it out! A liberal coating of shortening on your hands will assist with the kneading process.
13. Roll out as you would for any other kind of fondant, and cover cake as usual.

Yield: 3 lbs fondant 

Basic buttercream icing

This simple buttercream icing recipe to decorate your cakes. You can add a little food colouring for a splash of colour.

  140g butter, softened
  280g icing sugar
  1-2 tbsp milk
  few drops food colouring

1. Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
2. Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Beat in the milk, if necessary, to loosen the mixture.
3. Stir in the food colouring until well combined.

Warm Chicken Salad

  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1/2 tsp lemon zest
  1/4 cup lemon juice
  1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  1/2 tsp salt
  1/4 tsp black pepper
  1/2 Kg boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  1/2 Kg thin asparagus
  2 tbls fresh chopped dill
  1 tbls honey
  1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  8 cups salad greens
  4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered

1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt and black pepper.
2. Break off woody ends of asparagus but leave rest whole. Heat 2 tablespoons of the lemon dressing in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and asparagus. Stir-fry for 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and asparagus is tender.
3. Add dill and honey to the remaining lemon dressing.
4. Add tomatoes and lemon dressing to the skillet; cook about 1 minute or until heated through.
5. To serve, line each plate with 2 cups salad greens. 
6. Equally divide chicken mixture and dressing over the greens. 
7. Top with quartered hard-cooked eggs and serve.

Bacon and Egg Pie

  4 slices turkey bacon
  1 tsp olive oil
  1/2 of a small red onion, chopped
  2 cloves garlic, minced 
  5 large eggs
  5 large egg whites
  1 cup low-fat milk
  2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  1 - 2 tbls chopped fresh dill
  1/2 tsp salt
  1/2 tsp black pepper
  1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  2 plum tomatoes, sliced
  2 tbls grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Coat a thick pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.
3. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned. Remove from skillet and dice.
4. Add the oil to the same skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes or until onion is softened. Transfer to a large bowl.
5. Add the eggs, egg whites, milk, flour, dill, salt, and pepper and whisk until smooth. 
6. Stir in the diced bacon and mozzarella and pour into prepared pie plate. 
7. Top with the tomato slices. Sprinkle tomatoes with the Parmesan.


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