Well guys, I am by no means an expert, but here's how I do things. All of my cupcake toppers are made out of an enhanced marshmallow fondant recipe that i've come up with. For items that need to be very stiff, I will use a straight gum paste that I make out of this powder, and if I need a piece to dry very hard but I need a little more working time I will mix 50/50 fondant and gum paste together. The only time i use straight fondant is when i'm covering a cake or cookies.
Now if you don't like to make your own fondant Lorraine (aine2) has a wonderful recipe here that she uses to make all of her amazing creations using premade fondant and cmc or tylose powder. But if your like me and love to make marshmallow fondant, here is my recipe for my modeling marshmallow fondant. This is what you will need to make it:
Modeling Marshmallow Fondant
16oz pkg miniature marshmallows
2lb bag confectioners sugar ( I usually go for dominos or C&H, but thats just personal preference)
2 tbsp Gum paste powder mix (wilton also has one, i've just never used it)
1 tbsp vanilla extract (you can use clear if you need a really white fondant)
2 tbsp shortening (for hands and coating outside of fondant)
8qt. bowl (you can use your countertop too, I just don't like the mess)
2.5-3qt. microwave safe bowl
-Start out by putting the vanilla in bottom of bowl.
-Add pkg of marshmallows.
-Microwave on high for 1 minute and stir.
-Over 8qt bowl (or countertop) sift the confectioners sugar (leaving about 1-2 cups in the bag, because you can always add more), making sure to cover entire bottom .
-Dump all of the melted marshmallows into center of bowl trying not to let it touch the sides ( its ok if it does, were just trying to keep it from sticking)
-Now is a good time to measure out 2 tbsp of gum paste powder and have it off to the side ready to go, because your hands are going to be very messy.
-Take about 1 tbsp of shortening and grease up your hands very well.
-Go around the sides and fold the marshmallow and powdered sugar into itself. Your trying to form a solid mass without too much stickiness.
- Make an indent in the center and dump the gum paste powder into it.
-Keep kneeding and squishing until it is a pretty stiff consistancy.
-Coat the outside with shortening and wrap in platic wrap.
-Put in zip bag and let rest for at least 12 hours.
-Now if you find that your modeling fondant isn't stiff enough for modeling after letting it set. you can always just knead in a little more powdered sugar, wrap it and let it rest for a few minutes before working with it again.
-On the flip side, if you think its too stiff, you can add some shortening to it and I use my microwave a lot in 5 to 10 second increments to soften it up to make it more workable.
This is also the exact way I make my regular marshmallow fondant just skipping the gum paste powder step. I can make a batch in less than 10 minutes start to finish and i have almost no mess to clean up. Just the dishes :).
I hope that helps answer some of your questions, and until next time. Happy fondanting!