PLACE the water, syrup, salt and sugar, in that order, into a 4-quart pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
THEN PLACE a lid on the pan and boil it, covered, for 2 minutes. This step is essential to eliminate sugar crystals on the side of the pan that may cause the marshmallows to crystallize.
REMOVE the lid, insert a candy thermometer, and continue boiling until the thermometer reaches 250° (firm ball stage). Do not stir the mixture once the lid has been removed. Remove the thermometer and gently stir in the bloomed gelatin.
POUR the batter into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat for 10 to 12 minutes, using the wire whisk attachment or the paddle beater. It will take a little longer to beat with the paddle (or with a hand mixer). You can cover the mixer with a clean kitchen towel for the first 3 or 4 minutes to avoid splattering hot liquid onto yourself.
At first, the mixture will look very watery; as it beats, it will become thick, white and glossy, and will increase in volume by two to three times.
REMOVE the bowl from the mixer and spread the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Let the pan set out at room temperature, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.
TO CUT the marshmallows, sprinkle a work surface with the coating mixture. Ease the marshmallows away from the sides of the pan and flip the pan over, gently releasing the marshmallow slab onto the cutting surface. Cut into squares or other shapes. Toss the cut marshmallows with the coating mix, shaking off any excess coating.
PLACE the coated marshmallows in an airtight container, with wax paper between the layers, and leave a corner of the lid slightly ajar. The marshmallows will keep this way for up to two weeks at room temperature.
TO DIP the marshmallows, do not sprinkle a coating mixture on the cutting surface. Instead, spray with a nonstick coating. Cut into desired shapes and layer them in an airtight container, with a corner slightly ajar, and with lightly oiled parchment or wax paper between the layers.
For the bloom:
4 tablespoons unflavored gelatin (about five 1/4- ounce packets)
1 1/4 cups pureed strawberries at cool room temperature (use frozen strawberries without sugar, thawed and pureed in a blender or food processor)
For the base:
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup pureed strawberries
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
2 cups granulated cane sugar
PREPARE a pan by coating it with nonstick spray, then wiping lightly with a paper towel so that only a thin film of oil remains.
To make the bloom:
PLACE the gelatin in a small bowl and stir in the pureed strawberries until there are no lumps. Place the bowl near the stove.
FILL a cup with warm water and set it near the stove with a pastry brush. Place the base ingredients in a heavy 6-quart saucepan over medium heat. This base boils up high, so keep it over medium heat and watch closely. Do not cover the pan.
BRING the mixture to a boil, using the pastry brush dipped in water to wash down the sides of the pan to dissolve any sugar crystals that may have accumulated there. Do not stir the mixture once you have washed down the sides of the pan.
INSERT a candy thermometer, and boil the mixture until the temperature reaches 250 ° F (firm ball stage). Note: I had a little problem with scorching so make sure you watch that heat level!
TURN off the heat, remove the thermometer, and stir in the bloomed gelatin. Pour the batter into the bowl of a stand mixer and gradually increase the speed to high.
COVER the mixer with a clean kitchen towel for the first 3 or 4 minutes to avoid splattering hot liquid onto yourself. Beat the marshmallows for a total of 10 minutes.
SPREAD the mixture into the prepared pan and let it cure, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. Cut and coat the marshmallows as desired.