This week’s obsession: Hot Cocoa Bombs
Is anyone else just obsessing over the hot cocoa bombs that are sweeping the culinary world? It can’t be just me.
And I hope hot cocoa is certainly something that you’re interested in because #SPOILERALERT I’M GIVING AWAY MY RECIPE! But more on that later...
Ever since I saw these pretty little cocoa bombs, I knew I would have to try it (“try it” as in make them myself). For those of you wondering why I would ever want to try a bomb, allow me to explain some pastry history. In French, a bombe, or bombe glacée, is typically an ice cream dessert frozen in a spherical mold that resembles a cannonball (or a bomb). I made one once in pastry school, and I gotta admit it was super cool.
Making bombes glacée requires specialized molding equipment so I never really entertained the idea of making another one since I’ve been working on more traditional cake artistry and techniques. However, now that these handheld, dissolvable, adorable bombs are sweeping the pastry world and inspiring me beyond all get out, I asked Santa for a few sizes of bombe molds and voila! Here we are.
Something that I would like to point out is that I was so excited about the molds that I just melted my couverture without a care in the world (or a thermometer in sight) and poured it into the molds like a #noob. Well I cared really quickly afterward, because my chocolate shells set with a sandy texture on the outside (known as bloom), and they only “dried” after I popped the tray into the freezer.
Why did I have these problems? Well, once the excitement turned into horror and my brain started firing on all cylinders, I realized the right answer.
Yep, I didn’t treat my pastries with the proper science care, and I reaped the rewards of my stupidity. I was kind of like the people at the beginning of every sci-fi movie on the planet who ignored the scientists’ warnings and then acted surprised when things went badly. Yeah, that was me. Crying about my wet, sandy looking chocolates.
Part of me has avoided the topic of chocolate tempering because I didn’t want to have to go into all the details about the crystallization of cocoa butter, and the proper creation of enough beta crystals to allow setting, snap, and shine. But there, I mentioned the building blocks of chocolate tempering, and I won’t dive deep into them again so as to avoid frustrating everyone. I will, however, reference them a bit just to explain. Here’s what you need to know about why we temper chocolate: if you don’t do it, your chocolates will not set, they will not have a glossy surface, and the chocolate will not snap when you break it. (Snap is a good thing. Better than the mush you might have if you don’t temper it.)
So how do you temper? I’m glad you asked - I temper chocolates so infrequently that I always have to go back and look up what temperatures are required. I start by melting my chocolate over a double boiler because I can control it better, but some people prefer to do it in a microwave. If that is your course of action, I will caution you to take it at an easy pace. Chocolate burns easily and you can’t come back from it!
Once I set up my melting apparatus, I s l o w l y melt my chocolate to 90*F. As long as your chocolate melts nicely and stays below that temperature, you’re good to use your chocolate as soon as it’s all melted.
BUT! If you’re anything like me, you’re going to be doing at least two things at once for this baking project, and you’ll get distracted, and your temps will go above the safe zone of 90*F, and then you’ll have to convert to the seeding method.
Hey, it happens. 🤷🏻
The seeding method isn’t that hard to do anyway. Once the hotter-than-90*F-chocolate is completely melted, take your chocolate off the heat and stir in more of your unmelted couverture (about half of the remaining chocolate you want to temper), allowing it to melt. Once the melted chocolate reaches 97*F, stir in the rest of your chocolate. Adding chocolates in at these specific temperatures allows the maximum amount of beta crystals to form. Pour the melted chocolate into your molds once it reaches 90*F.
Tempered chocolate will set without the help of your freezer, and will be shiny and snappy when you remove it from your molds.
As my newly tempered chocolate was setting in the molds, I made my own mix for regular hot cocoa. Then I got creative and came up with recipes for a mocha mix and a Mexican Hot Chocolate mix (I think this one is my favorite. You know how I love spicy chocolates.), because why not? I know some people like to have peppermint in their hot chocolate, too, so I made little peppermint balls out of white chocolate and peppermint extract that had crushed candy canes inside, too.
I shipped a few boxes off to my friends and family who are currently experiencing cold weather (I was nervous about shipping them to warm climates to avoid having the chocolate melt) and asked them to be my guinea pigs.
Unfortunately, disaster struck by the time the boxes arrived.
And seriously, with all the bubble wrap I put into those boxes, they must have been drop kicked from California to their destinations. There were barely any shards of chocolate left, much less actual bombs #disaster
I was so heartbroken when they showed me their photos of how the cocoa bombs arrived. However, the box that I sent to my parents had a few bombs that survived the drop kick across America, so they were able to taste test as well. I asked them to film their bomb experience so I could add it to this week's pastry video:
And now that you’ve sat through my science ramblings and other musings, here is the recipe that I used to make my hot cocoa powder mix:
Hot Cocoa Mix
175g nonfat dry milk powder
60g sifted cocoa powder
84g powdered non-dairy creamer (I went for the gold and used French Vanilla, but use Original if you’d like)
Whisk these ingredients together and store in an airtight container. I used about 40g of mix with 1 cup of hot water, milk, coffee, but adjust the amount you use according to your preference.
As you saw in the video, I used one of my mocha bombs in my morning coffee, which was a really great way to start the day if you ask me! Another video showed milk being used, another used water, and another used coffee with the Mexican Hot Chocolate bomb - a bold choice!
And lest we forget this clip of me unmolding my chocolates and utterly failing (this makes me laugh so hard. I hope you enjoy it, too!)
Comment below if you like this recipe! 🥰
Happy eating (and sipping), y’all!