Thursday, December 17, 2020

DIY Hot Chocolate Bombs, Because Bonding with Teenagers. And Also Chocolate.


"I just don't know why my body is falling apart this year," I say to no one as I sip my pre-dinner hot chocolate...

Or, you know, eat my after-breakfast cookie...

Seriously, I don't even know if what I'm consuming at any given moment is a depression snack, pandemic snack, or holiday treat. Some ever-evolving combination of all-three, I'd guess.

I blame it entirely on my children. If it was just Matt and I, our kitchen would contain nothing but lunch meat, sliced bread, apples, peanut butter, and store-brand Pizza Rolls. Well, and alcohol, because we have nobody but ourselves to blame for 5:00 Cocktails and Crossword Puzzles. But with one kid who's an adventurous eater, one kid who seems to cruise Instagram Reels looking for the latest on-trend cooking project, and my parental obligation to feed them vegetables and protein and, like, calcium and whatever,  and make a pandemic suck as little as I'm able to while everything is sucking SO MUCH...

Let's just not think about it right now. Instead, let's make hot chocolate bombs with Syd!

These turned out so perfect and so cute, and were super easy, too! I highly recommend them as a fun project to bond with your kid, and they would definitely make good handmade holiday gifts.

You will need:

  • chocolate or candy for melting. I used straight chocolate chips, because apparently I'm basic, but Syd, who's weird in that she loves hot chocolate but hates "food" chocolate, used candy melts and they worked just as well. As a bonus, she used Funfetti candy melts, and the resulting hot chocolate bomb is ADORABLE.
  • basting brush. We have a silicone one that we got god knows where, considering how anti-silicone I used to be when it came to food-related items, but dang, is it easy to clean after getting melted chocolate ALL over it!
  • hot chocolate mix. Use some kind of powdered mix. Most years, I make my own from cocoa powder, sugar, and powdered milk, but not gonna lie--this year, we're drinking a store-brand mix and honestly, the kids probably like it better.
  • marshmallows. You've gotta have some mini marshmallows or it ain't a real hot chocolate bomb!
  • silicone or other flexible mold. This item seems to be the sticking point for most people to be able to make hot chocolate bombs. Silicone sphere molds are hot sellers right now! You don't have to have that exact item, however. Here's a short round-up of stuff that you might have that would work equally well:

The only two qualities that your mold requires are that it 1) is flexible, so you can peel it away from the chocolate shell without cracking it, and 2) is large enough that it can hold the hot chocolate mix and a few marshmallows.

1. Make your candy shells. Melt your chocolate chips or candy melts in the microwave, because you're still being just that basic. Stop to stir them every 20 seconds or so until they're nice and liquid.

Using a basting brush, coat two identical molds with the melted chocolate. Syd got hers right the first time, but I had to put a second coat on my shells because I made them too thin the first time. To be honest, I got overexcited and probably made them too thick that second time, but they still dissolved in the hot milk.

After you've coated the molds, put them in the refrigerator for about five minutes, until they've solidified and feel cool to the touch. At that point, you should be able to carefully peel the mold away from the chocolate. It's a little fiddly, so if it cracks just try again until you've got the hang of it. 

2. Fill one half of the mold with hot chocolate mix and marshmallows. Pile it in and mound it up, if you need to, because when you fuse the two parts of your hot chocolate bomb together it will have twice the space inside.

3. Fuse the two halves of the hot chocolate bomb. You can do this a couple of different ways. On TikTok, everyone seems to like to hold one half of the hot chocolate bomb edge-down on a hot surface, then stick it to the other half, but Syd and I both first used a knife to trim away any jagged bits from the edges of both mold halves, then we simply stuck them together and painted more melted candy across the seams until they were fused together and all sealed up. Since you only have to put the molds in the freezer for a few minutes before you can fill and seal them, the candy we'd originally melted to make the shells was still liquid enough that we could also use it to paint the seam closed, and it was super easy.

And look how cute they look! At this point, you could drizzle the finished hot chocolate bomb with more melted chocolate, then add sprinkles, more mini marshmallows, or crushed peppermint, but Syd and I both decided that our hot chocolate bombs were pretty enough as-is (and anyway, we were ready to drink them!).

To use the hot chocolate bomb, you just literally pour hot milk over it. But make the milk really, really, REALLY hot! The hotter it is, the easier the hot chocolate bomb's shell will melt, and anyway, you're going to sit there and admire the whole thing for a few minutes before you even think about drinking it, and nobody likes lukewarm hot chocolate.

Check out how delightful it is!

If you've got teenagers AND the opportunity to make them squeal with happiness, take that opportunity!

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