As the holiday season of 2020 has put a premium on private moments spent at home, the trend of hot cocoa bombs—spherical, chocolate shells containing hot cocoa mix and full-size marshmallows—is a TikTok/Instagram dream with just the right amount of dramatic anticipation, as the hot cocoa bomb blooms open with a steady stream of warm milk.
Meryle Alden, who runs a popular home bakery in Blue Point, normally would have dozens of eager and jubilant customers at her door on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day picking up her sumptuous, decadent, and always freshly made cookie platters, but this year she decided to forego her treasured tradition for the people of Bayport-Blue Point, as the crowds would have been a risk in the pandemic.
“It was a difficult decision,” said Alden, “but I knew I had to do the right thing and cancel the cookie platter for the season.”
But Alden’s customers were still craving something sweet from her kitchen, and this year’s trend of hot cocoa bombs fit the bill for smaller, personalized treats that could have spaced-out pickup times since they can be enjoyed throughout the cold season.
National syndicate “Today” even wrote an article on the trendy hot cocoa bombs that were going viral on TikTok. The Facebook group, “All Things Hot Cococa Bombs,” grew to over 48,000 members in the span of a couple of weeks, with makers and bakers throughout the United States using the platform as a hotline for chocolate-tempering fails and debates on almond bark versus Merckens. Reading through posts for a couple of days would probably make the average person quite well-versed in Texas cottage laws, as sales for homemade hot cocoa bombs are a main topic for the group.
Alden’s creations, known and celebrated for their freshness and indulgent quality, set a high bar for her hot cocoa bombs to be equally luscious.
“Chocolate wafers [available at Michael’s or JoAnn’s] are great, but I just wanted something with a richer texture and taste,” said Alden, who has opted to use the more difficult, but more succulent chocolate chips to create her shell. Her go-to chocolate is the pinnacle of baker’s chocolate, Ghirardelli, and she carefully brushes on each of her double layer onto silicone molds, for which Alden has opted for the smaller 70 millimeter size (some bakers use 90 millimeter to include more items in the hot cocoa bomb, but risk not fitting in most mugs, and thus are usually encouraged in the Facebook group to sell a hot cocoa bomb set to include a coffee mug of ample size).
“I wanted to make simple, elegant hot cocoa bombs,” says Alden. She has opted for traditional flavors, including one with an Andes mint for a perfect Christmas taste. As her husband and children love peanut butter, Alden is looking to experiment with that next.
While hot water can be used, Alden said, “milk will give you that fuller flavor, especially with such a rich chocolate. And go ahead and use the microwave to heat up the milk! Make it easier on yourself.”
Alden’s hot cocoa bomb advertisement on Facebook proved so popular that at the time of print, she was no longer able to take on any more orders.