As the wintry winds begin to blow (and the holiday season approaches) the world is on the hunt for cozy new ways to embrace the winter months and find comfort in little joys.
Enter the hot chocolate bomb, the crafty new way to drink hot chocolate that’s exploding on Etsy and taking over TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. DIY versions of the treats abound; but a number of shops in the Milwaukee area have also hopped on the trend, selling their own versions of these fun to drink (and gift) treats.
Hot chocolate bombs are, at their simplest, a sphere of chocolate cleverly filled with a mix of powdered hot chocolate and marshmallows. To use them, you just place them in the bottom of a mug and pour hot milk over the top (you can use water, but it’s not nearly as good) and watch as the exterior layer of chocolate melts and (almost like magic) releases a burst of mini marshmallows and powdered hot cocoa inside. They’re not only fun for kids, the best of the bunch make indulgent gifts for chocolate loving adults.
Before you buy
Not all chocolate bombs are created equal. The flavor of the hot chocolate bomb depends largely on the quality of the ingredients with which they are made. Low quality chocolate can give the hot chocolate a greasy or waxy mouth-feel, while high end chocolate melts quickly and adds a nice boost to the rich chocolate flavor. The same is true of the hot cocoa inside the bomb; powdered mixes vary greatly, and the best bombs are actually comprised of grated or ground chocolate, which gives the cocoa a luxurious texture. If the marshmallows matter to you, look for chocolate bombs that include fresh marshmallows, rather than the little dehydrated ones that come in packaged hot cocoa mixes.
Also, be sure to pay attention to how much hot chocolate a given bomb is meant to make (I've given recommendations for each bomb below). Add too much milk and your hot chocolate will taste watery, negating the indulgence factor entirely. So measure your liquid carefully and use an appropriately sized mug.
Please note: This list includes only cocoa bombs produced in licensed commercial kitchens. Current guidelines regarding unlicensed home-based businesses do not currently allow the sale of chocolates, candy, dry mixes or anything that is not baked.
1. Allo! Chocolat
234 W Main St, Waukesha, (262) 544-8030
Allo! Chocolat is offfering milk or dark chocolate bombs filled with decadent hot cocoa mix (made with Penzey’s cocoa) and mini marshmallows for $5.50 each. Each bomb makes a 6 to 8-ounce cup of hot chocolate. They are available for purchase at the shop or online.
2. Carrie’s Crispies
7133 W Becher St, West Allis, (414) 858-8228
Carrie’s Crispies is selling milk or dark chocolate bombs (filled with cocoa mix and fresh mini marshmallows) made by Wauwatosa-based Ultimate Confections. The bombs come in packs of two for $11.95 and are available at the shop.
3. Chocolate Falls
N88W16748 Main St, Menomonee Falls, (262) 415-5808
Chocolate Falls offers both milk chocolate bombs filled with housemade cocoa mix and mini marshmallows ($5), plus bombs with peppermint crunch ($6). Each bomb makes an 8-ounce mug of hot chocolate. Bombs are available both at the shop or online.
4. Cocoa Tree Confectionery
1330 W Mequon Rd, Mequon, (262) 643-4692
Cocoa Tree offers both milk or dark chocolate bombs filled with cocoa mix and mini marshmallows. Flavors (including coffee, toffee, peppermint or pumpkin spice) can be added for $0.50 more. The bombs are sold two sizes. Small bombs are $6 each and make an 8 to 12-ounce mug of hot chocolate; large bombs are $7 and make up to 16 ounces of hot chocolate. Bombs are available both at the shop or online.
5. Freese’s Candy Shoppe
7312 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, (414) 453-5353
Freese’s is offering three types of hot chocolate bombs filled with hot cocoa mix and mini marshmallows. Options include milk chocolate, dark chocolate or milk chocolate peppermint. Bombs are $6.95 each or $5.95 each (if purchasing a dozen or more). One bomb makes a 10-12 ounce mug of hot chocolate. Customers are encouraged to call ahead to check on availability or pre-order their bombs for pick-up.
6. Gingerbread House
S63 W16147 College Ave, Muskego, (414) 422-9601
The Gingerbread House offers four types of hot chocolate bombs filled with ground Ghiradelli chocolate, fresh mini marshmallows and flavored candies. Options include a traditional chocolate bomb with marshmallows; peppermint espresso (chocolate, espresso powder, vanilla, crushed peppermint and marshmallows); Merry creme de menthe (chocolate, Andie’s Candies, marshmallows); and the Candy Cane Snow Bomb (white chocolate, crushed peppermint, marshmallows and sprinkles). Bombs are $6 each (individually packaged) and each makes a decadent 16-ounce mug of hot chocolate.
Gingerbread house currently has fall-themed cocoa bombs for sale, with new holiday-themed bombs available starting Nov. 27. Pre-orders for holiday bombs are accepted by phone with pick-up at the restaurant.
7. Jen’s Sweet Treats
4753 S Packard Ave, Cudahy, (414) 940-0725
Jen’s Sweet Treats offers a variety of bombs filled with cocoa mix and fresh mini marshmallows. Flavors include: butterscotch, candy cane, cherry cordial, dark chocolate espresso, dark chocolate mint, dark chocolate raspberry, French vanilla, hazelnut, Irish cream, Lucky Charms, milk chocolate caramel, mint cookies and cream, cookies and cream, peanut butter cup, pumpkin spice, Swiss chocolate, white chocolate mocha, white chocolate peppermint, white chocolate raspberry.
The bombs are $6 each, and each makes a 12 to 16-ounce mug of hot chocolate. Sugar free Swiss Chocolate bombs are also available for $7 each. Bombs are available in the shop and can be shipped anywhere in the continental U.S. Call to place an order.
8. Ultimate Confections
820 N 68th St, Wauwatosa, (414) 778-0636
Ultimate Confections offers both milk or dark chocolate bombs filled with cocoa mix and fresh mini marshmallows. The bombs are sold in packs of two for $11.95. Each bomb makes an 8-ounce mug of hot chocolate. Bombs are available at the retail shop (as well as Carrie's Crispies, mentioned above, and Pop's Kettle Corn, S75 W17461 Janesville Rd. in Muskego). Gift packages with custom-made chocolate themed mugs will also be available for purchase. Call to place an order for pick-up or visit the shop.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.