The "bombs" are actually chocolate spheres filled with hot cocoa powder and marshmallows — and the explosion happens when hot milk is poured on top

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hot chocolate bombs
Credit: Courtesy Sheri Wilson/@sheri_wilson_

To put it simply, 2020 has been one crazy, challenging year. Amidst it all, people have been looking for simple ways to spark joy — and the latest food trend not only does that, but it also makes drinking hot chocolate even more fun and festive.

Videos of "hot chocolate bombs" have been taking over the internet. These hollow chocolate spheres are filled with marshmallows, hot cocoa powder, and sometimes peppermint candies. Once steaming milk is poured over, they explode or melt into a beautifully rich mug of hot chocolate.

While these chocolate bombs are just now going viral, different versions have actually been around for some time. Neiman Marcus has been selling Carl the Drinking Chocolate Snowman for the past three years to great success. Similar to the more simplistic chocolate bombs, Carl, who is almost too cute to eat, is made from a rich chocolate shell with a head full of marshmallows and a body filled with hot cocoa powder.

Luckily, these fun sweets are actually pretty easy to make on your own — and make for a great family activity as well as awesome gifts. Cake artist Sherilyn Wilson posted a simple tutorial on her Instagram page @sheri_wilson_ where she uses a silicone sphere mold to create her bombs.

Wilson creates the mold by tempering dark chocolate first, which is a process of heating and cooling chocolate (more on that below). Once the chocolate reaches the perfect temperature and consistency, she paints the chocolate into the molds with a food-safe brush.

We recommend using two layers of chocolate to prevent cracking. Allow the first layer to firm up in the refrigerator for 5 minutes before adding the second layer.

Once the spheres are firm, Wilson stuffs one half with hot cocoa powder, peppermint candies, and marshmallows. To fuse the halves, simply rub on a warm plate or skillet then use the melted edges to attach them together.

To finish off her chocolate bomb, Wilson decorates hers with wintery sprinkles before pouring her milk and allowing all the goodness to melt out into her mug.

If you're more of a white chocolate person, try PEOPLE associate food editor Ana Calderone's version decorated with painted buttercream flowers.

Tempering is not required to make hot chocolate bombs, but it does create a gorgeous sheen on your chocolate. If you simply melt your chocolate, it can look grey and dull.

If you're willing to give tempering a go, follow these instructions: Chop three-quarters of a chocolate bar (not chocolate chips) and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave in 15-second intervals at 50% power (Yes, this is a real thing you can adjust, just play around with your microwave to find it.) until it reaches 115°, mixing after each time. When it’s getting close to 115°, go down to 5-second intervals in order to not overheat it.

Once your chocolate is melted and thin, add the remaining chunk of unmelted chocolate. Continue stirring until the temperature comes down to 87° and the chunk of chocolate is melted. Now you are good to use it for bombs (or other treats).