Valentine's Day Cocoa Bombs
A column about the adventures of candymaking for Valentine's Day.
Candy is one of the go-to staples of Valentine’s Day so if you’re looking for something fun to try, you might want to give being a chocolatier a shot. Or, as I like to think of it, chocolate melting and reshaping.
I was always under the impression candymaking was beyond me. But I have come to realize candymaking, in its most basic form, is less cooking and more an arts and crafts project. I’m talking basic though; I’m not going to try tempering chocolate or cooking caramel or other such craziness. That I’ll leave to professionals.
My interest in candymaking started over the Christmas season. I became aware of a trend called hot cocoa bombs and I was intrigued. They look like bath bombs made of chocolate. They go in a mug and hot water or milk is poured over them and they slowly melt, releasing hot chocolate mix, marshmallows and whatever extras were included to add flavor or color.
I thought I could make them for presents so I went to the stores looking for silicone dome molds, but found nothing of the sort in stock. Apparently I was not the only one who thought this would be a fun idea. It was far too close to Christmas to ship some in. But at Walmart I came across something else that might work instead. I found a Wilton silicone shot glass mold.
Oh, what fun. There are all sorts of things you can make with this, according to Pinterest. Bake cookie glasses and serve milk in them or melt Jolly Ranchers or candy canes into glasses. But I’ll warn you, I tried the Jolly Rancher one and failed spectacularly. I couldn’t figure out how to get all the bubbles out. And do you know what happens if you don’t get all the bubbles out? Holes. I had some extremely leaky shot glasses. Live and learn.
But back to the cocoa bombs. I went to the store and bought a variety of chocolate to test out my shot glass bombs: chocolate chips, a Baker’s Premium chocolate bar, CandiQuik Candy Coating and Wilton Candy Melts. And they all worked great. But I’m not a chocolate snob. I like all of it, from Hershey’s to Godiva. So buy the kind of chocolate you like.
Side note: the chocolate bar I bought was 100% cocoa. I thought I’d do a dark chocolate one for my dad since that’s what he likes. Some of you might already see the problem. I had no idea that 100% cocoa is utterly disgusting. There is not a bit of sugar added to that stuff. I found this out when I licked the spoon after making a cocoa bomb and some other chocolates from it. So, for those that are just learning these things, when people say they like dark chocolate what they really mean is they like semisweet chocolate. I still gave the candy to my dad but warned him what I had done and how awful it probably was. It’s the thought that counts, right?
My favorite option was CandiQuik Coating. It comes in its own microwavable tray. It has instructions, unlike the chocolate chips that make you guess how to melt them. And wasn’t overly expensive.
So once I had the shot glasses made, I put a couple tablespoons of hot chocolate mix in them, threw in some colored sprinkles and stuffed as many mini marshmallows into it as possible. Then I poured more melted chocolate over the top to seal it all in. Finally I crushed up some candy canes and set the pieces into the still melty chocolate to give it a minty flavor. I tried it with hot water and it worked. It was nice and chocolatey with a hint of mint.
"Even when you mess up, it’s still chocolate. Just eat your mistakes,"
— Kelly Humphrey
For Valentine’s Day I thought I’d try it again and make a variety of candy using other molds. I even tested out using an ice cube tray as a mold as several on Pinterest suggested. I don’t recommend it unless it’s the kind that twists to get the cubes out. Despite vigorously knocking it against a hard surface, they refused to budge. Not to worry, I chiseled the chocolate out with a spoon and ate it straight from the tray. And that’s why this is such a great experiment. Even when you mess up, it’s still chocolate. Just eat your mistakes.
I also tried, successfully this time, using cupcake wrappers for a mold. I coated two liners with chocolate and when they hardened I used a heated spoon to even out the edges. I then added the cocoa mix and marshmallows and stuck the pieces together, using some more melted chocolate as a sort of solder to seal the sides.
So have fun making your own chocolate treats. Try adding your favorite flavors and candies as inclusions such as crushed Oreos, Red Hots, mint, orange extract, etc. Who knows, maybe your candy creation will be next year’s big trend.