Hot chocolate bombs are the most fabulous Christmas treat to arrive on the scene since peppermint bark. These spheres of decadence (also called hot cocoa bombs) are typically filled with marshmallows, hot chocolate mix, and other sweet treats. They make an excellent gift for friends and family around the holidays, but you might be tempted to keep them all to yourself.
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What are hot chocolate bombs?
Hot chocolate bombs are like gift wrapping for your hot cocoa. When you dunk the chocolate shell in a hot cup of milk, you’ll watch with amazement as the sphere melts away to reveal a blend of cocoa mix and marshmallows inside. Stir, sip, and enjoy the explosion of chocolatey goodness in your mouth.
Hot cocoa bombs arrived on the scene around 2019 when Eric Torres Garcia posted a viral TikTok video showcasing the phenomenon. He later started a company (cocoabombs.com) to sell different varieties of the product.
Though the viral sensation has died down a bit, I think this is one food trend that will stand the test of time!
Best Chocolate for Hot Cocoa Bombs
I used semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips for the shell of the hot chocolate bomb, but you can also use white chocolate or milk chocolate if you like. For milk chocolate or white chocolate, reduce the heating temperature slightly.
Another great option is using candy melts, as shown with the red and white colored cocoa bombs.
For the cocoa mix inside the shell, I suggest this brand of Mexican hot cocoa that gives a hint of cinnamon. Any hot chocolate mix will work, though.
Tips for Melting Chocolate
For truly professional results, you’ll want to understand the difference between tempering chocolate and simply melting it. Tempered chocolate is shiny and smooth, giving the shell a nice crisp texture. Without tempering, the cocoa butter in the chocolate will crystallize unevenly.
While this sounds complicated, it’s really not. The bottom line is, just melt the chocolate gradually and don’t overheat it. Here are some tips you can follow to temper chocolate easily at home.
How to temper chocolate (melting it the “right way”)
- Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate on a stove over medium heat, or microwave the chocolate in 30-second increments on defrost.
- Stir frequently to ensure the heat is evenly distributed.
- Don’t let the temperature of the chocolate get above 120°F (dark chocolate) or 105°F (milk chocolate).
- Remove the chocolate from the heat right away, let the temperature drop to around 82°F, then return it to the stove or microwave to heat it again slightly.
Alternatives to Using a Double Boiler
If you don’t have a double boiler, you can improvise with a heat-safe mixing bowl on top of a pot. The key is to melt the chocolate slowly and consistently. You don’t want the water in the pot below to boil, and the bowl should not touch the water directly.
If using a microwave, make sure you don’t scorch the chocolate by overheating it. You may need to use shorter bursts at a lower power as the chocolate begins melting. Some brands of candy melts will suggest adding vegetable shortening if the chocolate overheats.
Do you need a mold to make this recipe?
If you go this route, you would coat the liner with a thin layer of chocolate and let it set at room temperature. Then, fill it with the cocoa bomb ingredients and add another layer of melted chocolate on top to “seal” it.
Should you refrigerate the finished hot cocoa bombs?
To keep your chocolate spheres looking beautiful, don’t store them in a refrigerator unless you are worried about humidity or heat in your environment. Improper tempering or exposure to heat can cause a dull texture and imperfections known as fat bloom.
Exposing the chocolate bombs to extreme changes in temperature can also result in sugar bloom–a discoloration that can look grainy and dull (see above). If you place your mold in the refrigerator when the chocolate is still warm, you risk sugar bloom.
The good news is that bloomed chocolate is safe to eat, and perhaps the blotches will give it some character!
How to Serve Hot Cocoa Bombs
Once your spheres of chocolate are set, you can add sprinkles, mini marshmallows, caramel, or crushed peppermint candies on top. To get the toppings to stick, drizzle a small amount of melted chocolate on top using a piping bag or a small ziplock with the corner tip cut.
For the best presentation, place your hot cocoa bombs in a cupcake liner and then use a gift box to share them with friends. Each sphere is nearly three inches in diameter, so you’ll want to make sure your box is tall enough. These cupcake boxes are super cute and would fit two hot cocoa bombs.
To serve your hot chocolate, use milk rather than water for a richer flavor. You can either lower the hot chocolate bomb into a mug of steaming milk or let it rest in the cup and pour the hot milk on top. Either method is pretty magical.
I can’t wait to enjoy some hot cocoa by the Christmas tree with my family this year. I hope you’ll have fun making these fancy treats around the holidays too!
FAQs about hot chocolate bombs
Should you set hot chocolate bombs in the refrigerator?
Placing the hot chocolate bombs in a fridge or freezer while the chocolate is still warm can result in discoloration known as bloom. Instead, let the chocolate set at room temperature.
How long do hot cocoa bombs last?
These hot cocoa bombs will last 2-3 weeks in a sealed container away from heat and humidity.
Can you make hot chocolate bombs without a mold?
Yes, the best alternative to using a silicone mold is simply using a cupcake liner and sealing the ingredients inside with another layer of melted chocolate.
Easy Hot Chocolate Bombs Recipe
Temper the chocolate – Option 1: double boiler method
- Melt about 2/3 of the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring frequently. The water should be on a simmer and not boiling hard. Once the chocolate reaches 120°F (dark chocolate) or 105°F (milk chocolate), remove the bowl from heat and set it on a dish towel.
- Gradually add the remaining chocolate until melted. Let the chocolate cool slightly to about 80-85°F. If the chocolate begins to harden, you can return it to the double boiler and stir until melted again.
Temper the chocolate – Option 2: microwave method
- Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute on defrost (30% power).
- Stir the chocolate and continue microwaving in 30-second bursts at 50% power, stirring each time.
Add chocolate to the silicone mold
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon of chocolate into each half sphere and smooth the chocolate up to the edges using a tablespoon.
- Let the chocolate cool to room temperature.
- If the chocolate does not reach the edges, you can add a second layer of chocolate to fill in any gaps.
Release the chocolate from the mold and filling
- Once the chocolate has completely cooled to room temperature, gently remove the half spheres from the mold. It may be helpful to turn the mold over and push the spheres out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Fill each half sphere with up to 1 tablespoon of hot cocoa mix. Add mini marshmallows and any other fillings you like.
Seal the hot cocoa bombs
- To seal the spheres, rub the edges of one-half of the sphere against a warm plate to slightly melt the chocolate. It may help to wear nitrile gloves during this step to prevent fingerprints.
- Place the empty half-sphere on top of the other half filled with cocoa mix and marshmallows.
Decorate the hot chocolate bombs
- Drizzle more tempered chocolate or store-bought frosting on top of the hot cocoa bombs and add any toppings desired. Place the finished hot cocoa bombs in paper cupcake liners to store, and keep them in a sealed container at room temperature.
Serve the hot cocoa bombs
- Place the hot cocoa bomb in a mug and add steaming milk on top, or heat the milk in a mug for 1-2 minutes before placing the hot cocoa bomb inside. Stir to dissolve the chocolate, and enjoy!