Snuggle up with some holiday cheer as OnMilwaukee shares stories of everything merry and bright in the spirit of the season.
The OnMilwaukee Ho Ho Holiday Guide is brought to you by Educators Credit Union, Harley-Davidson Museum and MillerCoors.
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, a fun, interactive way to level up your average cup of hot cocoa.
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 $6.99 each. Each bomb makes a 6 to 8-ounce cup of hot chocolate. They are available for purchase at the shop or online.
2. 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, bombs with peppermint crunch and salted caramel cappuccino bombs ($6). Each bomb makes an 8-ounce mug of hot chocolate. Bombs are available both at the shop or online.
3. Cocoa Tree Confectionery
1330 W Mequon Rd, Mequon, (262) 643-4692
Cocoa Tree offers milk chocolate bombs filled with cocoa mix and mini marshmallows ($6.50). Flavored bombs (including dark chocolate, French vanilla, mint truffle, peppermint or salted caramel) are $7.50. Each bomb make up to 16 ounces of hot chocolate. Bombs are available both at the shop or online.
4. 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 $8.95 each. 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.
5. The Gingerbread House
S63 W16147 College Ave, Muskego, (414) 422-9601
This year, the Gingerbread House will not be selling hot chocolate bombs at their retail counter. However, guests can pre-order holiday hot chocolate bombs (minimum order of 12 bombs) by phone, allowing one week advance notice for pick up.
6. 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, including a very special Grinch-themed bombs (pictured above), which will be available starting the week of Dec. 5.
Bombs are available in milk chocolate (candy cane, French vanilla, hazelnut, milk caramel, mint Oreo, peanut butter cup, s'mores, Swiss chocolate, turtle or unicorn poop); white chocolate (cinnamon roll, Irish creme, Lucky Charms, cookies & cream, pumpkin spice, white chocolate mocha, white chocolate peppermint and white chocolate raspberry); or dark chocolate (dark espresso, dark mint, dark raspberry or salted caramel mocha).
The bombs are $6 each, and each makes a 12 to 16-ounce mug of hot chocolate. Bombs are available in the shop and can be shipped anywhere in the continental U.S. Stop in or call to place an order.
7. Mili Wonka Treats
Mili Wonka is offering an adorable assortment of hand-painted hot chocolate bombs. They are available in gift-worthy boxes of six ($36) or in the form of white or dark chocolate "Elf on a Shelf" bombs, which are individually packaged with a stirring spoon and note ($6). Purchase Mili Wonka hot chocolate bombs online or follow Mili Wonka Treats on Instagram for information on appearances at holiday pop-ups, markets and local shops.
8. Signature Sweets
3801 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 539-3138
Signature Sweets is offering hot chocolate bombs in a variety of flavors including chocolate, chocolate mint, white chocolate, Lucky Charms, peppermint, cookies & cream, hazelnut, salted caramel, chocolate raspberry, pumpkin spice, s'mores, strawberry and peanut butter. Bombs are $6 each and can be purchased at the shop.
9. Tabal Chocolate
7515 Harwood Ave., Wauwatosa, (414) 585-9996
Tabal is offering handcrafted bombs made with Tabal's single origin dark chocolate, cocoa powder, marshmallows, spices and natural flavorings. Each bomb is $8 and makes 16 ounces of hot chocolate. All bombs are gluten and soy free.
10. 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. Call to place an order for pick-up or visit the shop.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.