One of my favorite confectionary fictions is something I call "pink flavor," or STRAWBERRY. Deceiving, because its taste is more akin to a plastic, dollhouse berry—which is, for me, comforting in a different kind of way. I grew up eating "pink-flavored" Japanese candies, so I wanted to recreate that schoolyard nostalgia with homemade marshmallows, which are more fun to make than anything should be... A touch of red food coloring, though, or it's not STRAWBERRY.
1 cup water, divided
3 packages gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
Strawberry extract, to taste
Red food coloring, to "look"
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
In a stand mixer, bloom the gelatin in 1/2 cup water, i.e. plunk both ingredients into the bowl and let sit while you prepare the sugar syrup.
Bring 1/2 cup more water, the sugar, corn syrup, and salt to a boil, and keep cooking until a candy thermometer reads 240 degrees F. If you don't have a thermometer, then cook the sugar until it reaches its "soft ball" stage—which simply means that when you spoon a touch of the mixture into a cup of cold water, it solidifies into a soft, rollable ball; but if it merely melts into the water, then it's not cooked/reduced enough.
When the sugar syrup is ready and appropriately hot, then slowly pour it into the bloomed gelatin—mixer on—and keep whisking for about 15 minutes. Your mixture will fluff up significantly, like a shiny meringue. At this point, you should add the strawberry extract, to taste, as well as enough red food coloring to dye it a dollhouse pink.
Generously dust an 8"x8" aluminum foil tin with the confectioners' sugar. Decant the marshmallow fluff into the prepared pan, then dust the top again, generously, with more confectioners' sugar. Let sit in a cool, dry place overnight; the longer it sits, the dryer it'll get and the easier it'll be to carve later.
When dried out, cut the marshmallow into large cubes and dust with more powdered sugar to prevent stickage as you bag them as gifts for friends, or as midnight treats for yourself throughout the week.
The only accompaniment to hot cocoa, in my book.