Where Can I Find Chocolate Bombs?
A chocolate bomb is a combination of ingredients that when added to some hot milk, results in a rich cup of hot chocolate. Although some form of hot chocolate has been documented from as far back as the Incas, the hot chocolate “bomb” is a relatively new novelty. The bomb is a sphere-like chocolate piñata filled with ingredients such as cocoa powder, mini marshmallows, and sprinkles. When added to a hot liquid (usually milk), the bomb disintegrates, resembling a mini explosion.
Since its debut in 2019, hot chocolate bombs have been a popular interactive treat as well as a clever gift during the cold winter months. Initially they were sold online but as the demand increased, so did the production and the availability to purchase the chocolate bombs at retail stores, kitchen stores, and even coffee shops. Those wishing to purchase ready-made chocolate bombs will find an endless choice of sellers as well as variety of flavors to choose from.
Most people will be looking to purchase a traditional flavored bomb-hot chocolate mix with mini marshmallows contained in a milk or semi-sweet shell. However, if you are looking for ideas or variations, alternatives will be suggested in this text. If you have an interest in creating a chocolate bomb yourself, then you can get an overview of procedure, supplies, and packaging ideas by referring to the rest of this article.
Although I’ve had the opportunity to study chocolate techniques from master chocolatiers, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what a tasty mug of hot chocolate tastes like. One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that people like to play with their food. Give them a torch to heat the sugar on their brulee, or a pastry bag filled with whipped cream to complement their lava cake and you have one happy camper. It’s no different with hot chocolate, and providing a hot chocolate bomb is just the ticket.
What Should I Look for When Purchasing a Hot Chocolate Bomb?
As with any chocolate product, you will find a wide range of quality and pricing in the industry. Pricing depends on demand, quality of ingredients, packaging, and shipping. If you choose to buy your bomb at a local retailer, the price will be rather straightforward. If you purchase online, then you may be charged for shipping, and in some cases “cold packaging” so your chocolate does not melt before delivery. An average bomb costs about $6 each and makes just one mug of hot chocolate. Most companies offer a basic milk chocolate and dark chocolate choice. Variations include adding additional flavors, colors, and decorations to make specialty bombs such as Pumpkin Spice, Peppermint Candy Cane, and Chili-Cinnamon Mexican. When purchasing premade bombs, look for size (you want it to be able to fit into a standard mug), and yield (does it make one mugful or two?) Also, read ingredients to see if you are getting “real chocolate” or compound chocolate which uses oils and shortenings rather than cocao butter. There is nothing wrong with the compound, and it is likely more affordable, but is not as satiny smooth when it melts. Lastly, pay attention to the packaging, especially if it is being shipped to you. Besides sturdiness, is the packaging gift worthy?
How Do I Make My Own Hot Chocolate Bombs?
A basic hot chocolate bomb takes just a few ingredients and pieces of equipment. The most important tool you need is a silicone mold to make the chocolate spheres. They are available aplenty through internet sales but also sold at many craft stores in the cake decorating/food art section. It is possible in a pinch to substitute silicone cupcake wrappers as a mold, but obviously you will not get that classic sphere shape. When choosing a mold, look for cavities that are 2” in diameter so they will fit in a standard mug. Most molds have 6 cavities so you can make three bombs at a time. Other than a bowl to melt your chocolate, the only other piece of equipment that you need is a small metal spoon and silicone brush. Ingredients needed include chocolate (1 lb), hot cocoa mix (approximately 2 Tbsp. for each bomb), and any add-ins such as mini marshmallows, sprinkles, and additional flavorings.
The chocolate you choose is dependent upon your preferences, budget, who you are making them for, and your willingness to temper chocolate. If you are not inclined to temper your chocolate, then compound chocolate wafers should be used. These are very affordable and found at craft stores, and increasingly at grocery stores, especially near the Holidays. If you are using “real” chocolate, then it will need to be tempered, which involves warming and cooling your melted chocolate to specific temperatures. (See my brilliant article on how to temper chocolate). You can choose white, milk, or a dark chocolate. Hint: dark chocolate is the easiest to work with and a good place to start.
Melt your chocolate (see article on how to melt chocolate) and place about 2 Tbsp. of chocolate into each cavity. With the back of a spoon or a pastry brush, coat the entire cavity with chocolate. Place in the refrigerator for a few moments to harden and then repeat with a thin second layer of chocolate. Hint: Place on a small sheet pan so the mold does not buckle when transporting it. Cool before popping them out of the mold.
Heat a fry pan over the very lowest setting on your stove. Working quickly, place each half sphere on the pan just so the jagged edges melt to become smooth. Fill half of the cavities with your prepared cocoa mix (can be from scratch or from your favorite manufacturer). Adhere one filled shell with an empty shell to complete the sphere. Use additional melted chocolate if needed to secure the seams. Finish with streaming a string of melted chocolate of any color across the top. Add additional decorations if desired.
How Should I Store and Present Hot Chocolate Bombs?
Chocolate is happiest when stored in a cool dry place. Not everyone has a temperature controlled environment. If your area is particularly warm and humid, you can use the refrigerator to store your chocolate. Then again, if you are located in a warm climate, you probably won’t be cozying up to a cup of hot chocolate! On the one hand, chocolate has a rather long shelf life and you can typically store it for a year without a problem. On the other hand, ingredients inside your chocolate bomb are less forgiving and may spoil in a shorter period of time. To be safe, store hot cocoa bombs in a sealed container and they will be shelf stable for a long winter (up to six months).
If you are making hot chocolate bombs for yourself, they will be safe in a clear sandwich bag with a twist tie. It is traditional to place the chocolate bomb in a standard decorative cupcake liner. If you are planning to share them or gift them, a sturdier and more aesthetic option is in order. One simple idea is to place a bomb in a mug and gather cellophane wrap around the entire mug. If you want to wrap individual bombs, your best choice is a cellophane candy bag purchased online or at a craft store, or decorative colored foil. Ribbon, a tag with directions, and even some stickers will dress up your package. Some bags have a flat bottom with a small piece of cardboard which will add sturdiness to your packaging. If you are looking for more protection, use a cupcake box meant for single cupcakes. They are available as small boxes or as a plastic clamshell. If it is Christmas time, consider purchasing a clear plastic jar ornament.
If you want to expand your creativity further, you can experiment with less obvious flavors such as maple, caramel, and pumpkin. Whether you purchase your hot chocolate bombs or make them yourself, you and your guest will have a good time preparing your chocolate liquid love.
About THE AUTHOR
Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.Read More About Lori Gilmore