1. Place a saucepan on high flame and pour water in it. Add sugar and cook until the mixture gets a syrup consistency (like honey, corn syrup or maple syrup) or the temperature reaches 112-115 degree C/ 234-240 degree F when measured with candy thermometer.
2. Turn off the flame, place the pan on ice cold water and let the syrup cool.
3. In a bowl transfer the syrup, add vegetable shortening and salt (if using). Mix well.
4. Add sugar, one cup at a time and beat after each addition. Beat in vanilla . Knead well. Divide the dough and add food color. Knead again.
5. Roll dough into 1/8-1/4-inch thin sheet and cut into shapes.
6. Decorate cupcakes with fondant and serve.
Instead of sugar syrup you can use 1 cup of corn syrup.
To store fondant, cover it with plastic wrap and place in ziplock bag. You can keep it at room temperature for many days.
If it breaks while working add more shortening and knead well.