Here’s how to make your own chocolate spheres — for an explosion of hot cocoa mix and marshmallows in a cup of steaming hot milk.
For the best results, use sphere-shaped silicone molds, 2 to 2½ inches in diameter, and high-quality chocolate containing cocoa butter — and not too many other ingredients. We tried three brands of chocolate chips and found Ghirardelli melted the best in hot milk. You can also chop bar chocolate, but avoid candy melts — they tend to have a waxy taste and don’t melt well in hot chocolate.
WHAT YOU NEED
Powdered hot cocoa mix
Half-sphere silicone mold
WHAT YOU DO
1. Temper your chocolate. Use the microwave to melt the chocolate, stirring between pauses until everything is smooth and pourable. See note below for proper tempering.
2. Clean your mold. Use paper towels to thoroughly polish the insides of your molds. Any amount of residue will cause a blemish on your chocolate.
3. Fill the molds. Spoon about a tablespoon of melted chocolate into the mold and use the back of a spoon or pastry brush to push the melted chocolate around the molds, making it as thick as possible along the sides and edges. Place the molds in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to set the chocolate.
4. Check molds. Once the chocolate is hardened, inspect the molds. If an area is missing chocolate or the chocolate is thin, add a second layer of melted chocolate and return to the freezer.
5. Remove the chocolate from the molds. Remove the molds from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Turn the silicone mold over on a piece of parchment paper or a cutting board and gently push the half spheres out of the mold. Tip: Wear food-safe gloves from here till the end to avoid getting fingerprints on your hot chocolate bombs.
6. Melt the edges. Microwave a microwave-safe plate for a minute, just so it’s hot enough to melt the chocolate. Pick up the empty half-shell of the chocolate bomb and place it on the warm plate for a couple of seconds, just until it begins to melt.
7. Fill. Add 1 tablespoon hot cocoa powder and mini marshmallows (plus any other add-ins; our favorite is crushed candy cane) to one half-sphere. Pick up another half, melt the edge on the warm plate and then push the two sides together to seal. Use your finger to smooth any excess chocolate along the seal edge.
8. Make hot chocolate. Our chocolate bombs were 2.5 inches in diameter and worked perfectly in about 12-14 ounces of steaming milk in a large mug. Start by placing a bomb in the bottom of the mug, then pour the hot milk over the top. The heat will cause the bomb to open and the marshmallows to escape!
9. Variation for coffee lovers. One variation is to add crushed candy cane and skip the marshmallows. Then add hot coffee for a peppermint mocha!
If tempering chocolate is new to you, don’t be intimidated. Tempering is the process of controlling the heat of the chocolate while it’s melting to make sure it’s as strong as possible. Un-tempered chocolate is soft and dull and has a problem holding its shape. Candy melts were invented to avoid tempering, but the taste in chocolate bombs really suffers. You can temper chocolate the easy way — in the microwave — and it only takes 5 minutes.
1. Place the chocolate in a silicone or microwave-safe plastic bow; and microwave for 20 seconds, no more. Stir with a spatula, moving the chocolate from the outside edges to the center to evenly heat it.
2. Place the chocolate back into the microwave and heat for 15 seconds, stirring as you did in Step 1. Check the temperature of the chocolate to make sure it’s not above 90 F.
3. Repeat this process 2-5 more times, until the chocolate is almost melted. Never heat more than 15 seconds at a time, and do not let your chocolate get above 90 F. Once almost melted, continue stirring until the chocolate is fully melted from the residual heat from the bowl.
4. Pour some chocolate onto parchment paper and pop it into the fridge for 5 minutes. Take it out and examine it. Does it look shiny? Does it snap in half loudly when you break it? Then it’s tempered and ready to go in your molds.
5. If your chocolate is dull, has white residue on top or bends when you try to break it, it’s not tempered and you may have heated it too far. Don’t worry, you can seed it with more chopped chocolate. Simply add 6 ounces of finely chopped chocolate and stir until melted, 5-10 seconds. Test again before filling molds.