Cocoa bombs exploded onto the scene a few years ago, their chocolaty goodness amplified by the “oooh…aaah” theatrics of watching their delicate chocolate shells melt away when steaming hot milk or cream is poured over them into a mug.
The contents of the “bomb”—typically powdered cocoa and marshmallows—flows out into the milk and melts along with the shell into a gloriously decadent drink fit for your favorite festive holiday celebration.
But why not make your own? There are almost as fun to make as they are to drink, says local cooking instructor Jacqui Renagar. Check out her recipes below for an adult version filled with Bailey’s Ganache (cheers!) or the traditional kid-friendly confection with cocoa and marshmallows.
Speaking of marshmallows, there are the store-bought versions and then there are the next-level fluffy clouds of delight you can easily make at home (just mind the stickiness factor). Do yourself a favor and try Renager’s recipe for homemade marshmallows—plain vanilla or flavored with peppermint or another extracts. You’ll never go back to the bag again. Enjoy and happy holidays!
All Recipes by Jacqui Renager
Fun in the Kitchen With Jacqui
1 cup Bailey’s Irish Crème
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat the crème in a small saucepan until it just comes to a boil. Do not over boil or the crème will curdle. Pour the hot crème over the chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl. Allow to sit for 3-4 minutes. Using a whisk, combine until smooth. It will look grainy at first but will eventually come together. Set aside to cool.
Cocoa Bomb Shells
1 bag of dark chocolate or milk chocolate candy melts (for shells)
Various additional candy melts for drizzling
Your cooled Bailey’s ganache*
Your peppermint (or store bought) mini marshmallows
Melt your candy melts in a medium sized bowl in the microwave in 1-minute increments at 50% power until melted (stir in between). Pour one tablespoon of melted chocolate into each cocoa bomb mold (molds are available at local kitchen shops and on Amazon). Using a flat paint brush, coat each mold evenly. Freeze for 10 minutes. Remove from the freezer and repeat the coating process freezing again for 10 minutes. Remove from the freezer and, using disposable gloves, remove the halves from the mold (if you don’t use gloves, the heat from your fingers will leave fingerprints on your shells).
Heat a small skillet on the stovetop until hot. Turn off the heat. Gently press one shell on the pan surface to melt the edge. Fill two thirds full of your cooled ganache. Place two or three of your marshmallows on top of the ganache. Melt the edge of another shell and place it on top of your filled shell, creating your bomb. You must do this quickly.
Line your filled cocoa bombs onto a full sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Choose two or three melting discs colors and melt by putting in the microwave at one-minute increments at 50% power (stirring in between). Pour the melted chocolate into a pastry bag and clip a very small hole in the end of the bag. With a back-and-forth motion, drizzle melting chocolate over the tops of the bombs. If you are using sprinkles of any kind, make sure you top your bombs with the sprinkle quickly after you drizzle them with the chocolate/s. You will want the sprinkles to stick to the bombs and the drizzle dries quickly.
Choose a wide large mug. Place the bomb in the mug. Heat milk until steaming. Pour hot milk over the top of your cocoa bomb in the mug. It will melt and the ingredients will combine with the milk. Stir well and enjoy!
Want to see how it’s done check out Jacqui’s step-by-step cocoa bomb video.
*If you want your cocoa bombs to be non-alcoholic, substitute 2 tbsp powered cocoa for the ganache when filling your shells.
¾ cup water, divided
3 (.25 oz) packages of unflavored gelatin
⅔ cup light corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp clear vanilla extract
½ to ¾ tsp peppermint extract**
½ cup cornstarch
½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup crushed peppermint candies
Start by lining a full sheet pan with parchment paper and spraying it liberally with nonstick pan spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add ½ cup of the water and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the water. No need to stir it in. While the gelatin is soaking, add the other ¼ cup of water, corn syrup and granulated sugar to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it come to a hard boil for one minute.
CAUTION: This will be extremely hot! Carefully pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture and whisk on high speed for about 12 minutes. Yes, 12 minutes. The mixture will be light and fluffy and will form stiff peaks. Add in the vanilla extract and peppermint extract (start with ½ tsp) and beat until just combined.
Pour the marshmallow mixture over your parchment paper and using a greased offset spatula, spread to smooth the top. The mixture is super sticky so make sure anything you touch it with is coated well with nonstick spray.
If you want to decorate the top, put single drops red of food coloring two inches apart across the top of your marshmallows. Using an offset spatula (sprayed with nonstick spray), create swirls on the top of your mixture. Sprinkle the top with crushed peppermint candies (to crush the candies, put them in small plastic bag and beat with a hammer or rolling pin) or sprinkles of your choice.
Spray a large sheet (or two) of plastic wrap with nonstick spray and gently press the wrap onto the candy to seal the top of the marshmallow. Let sit at least five hours but preferably overnight.
Mix the cornstarch and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Using oiled scissors or even a pizza cutter, cut the marshmallow into strips and then into ¼ inch squares (for mini…if you want larger candy, increase the size of your strips). Dredge the candies lightly in the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture and store in an airtight container.
**For plain marshmallows, omit the peppermint. If you want to make marshmallows with different flavors, add ½ – ¾ tsp of any extract you like at the same time as the vanilla.
Photos by David Uhrin