This Month's Recipe: Hot Cocoa Bursts!

These Hot Cocoa Bursts (my pacifist name for this trendy treat) were all the rage back in 2020, so I admit I'm late to the game. I know this isn't exactly a healthy recipe, either, and it takes some work to make these look nice, but they make great holiday gifts, so I wanted to share with my recipe with you!

These hollow chocolate balls are filled with hot cocoa mix and any other fun things you want to include. When you pour hot milk over them they melt, releasing their contents into the liquid. So it's fun to pack them with interesting ingredients, like pieces of crushed peppermint, and mini marshmallows.

Special thanks to Emily Hsu Yoona of Dalkomi Cafe for her advice on the right tools for this project!

Hot Cocoa Ingredients:

• ½ cup organic cacao powder (I used Navitas cacao+reishi blend for a little extra somethin' somethin')

• ½ cup organic cane sugar

• Pinch of pink sea salt

Chocolate Shell Ingredients:

• 2 bars high quality chocolate bars (I used Divine, a Fair Trade farmer co-owned company that makes wonderful chocolates)

• 30 mini marshmallows (I used Dandies vegan marshmallows. During the holidays, this company offers mini pink peppermint marshmallows!)

• 1½ cups filtered water

You'll Need:

• A double boiler, or heat-proof bowl that fits inside the rim of a saucepan

• A silicon or rubber spatula

• Two 2.5" diameter silicon hemisphere candy molds (I used these)

• A silicon pastry brush (I used this)

• A candy or other cooking thermometer

• A skillet

• A parchment lined baking sheet

• Disposable gloves (to prevent fingerprints on your shiny chocolate surfaces)

• Paper candy cups

Cocoa Mix Instructions:

• In a small bowl, mix the hot cocoa ingredients, then set aside.

Chocolate Shell Instructions:

• Fill the bottom half of the double boiler, or the saucepan, halfway up with water and bring to a simmer. Make sure that the top bowl does not touch the bottom of the bottom pan.

• Chop up the chocolate bars into small pieces and place 2/3 of it in the top pan of the double boiler or heat-proof bowl. Set the other 1/3 aside.

• Gently stir the chocolate until it melts, making sure that it does not exceed 120°F for dark chocolate or 105°F for milk or white chocolate.

• Remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir in the remaining 1/3 chopped chocolate.

• Let sit until the chocolate is 82°F, then place it back over the simmering water.

• When it has reached 90°F for dark chocolate or 85°F for milk or white chocolate, remove the bowl from the heat once again.

• Using the silicon pastry brush, spread an even layer of chocolate in each of the mold recesses, then refrigerate the molds for 5 minutes.

• Spread another layer, making sure to cover any thin spots. Refrigerate for another 5 minutes.

• While the chocolate is chilling, heat the skillet on low.

• Using the gloves, carefully remove the chocolate shells from one of the molds and place them flat-side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Assembly Instructions:

• Turn the empty mold upside down on the baking sheet.

• One-by-one, gently rub the flat edges of two of the chocolate shells on the warm pan to create a perfectly flat edge and set them on the upside down mold [see photo].

• Place about a tablespoon of cocoa mix, along with your marshmallows or other ingredients, in the empty shells.

• One-by-one, gently rub the flat edges of two of the empty chocolate shells on the warm pan to create a flat edge and a sticky surface. Immediately place the empty shell on top of the filled shell. It should stick. If not, you can always take some of the melted chocolate and glue the edges together.

• Carefully set the assembled bursts in paper candy cups.

• Repeat for the remaining shells.

• Once they are all assembled, feel free to use some melted chocolate to decorate the outsides.

• Store at room temperature, and use within a day or two.

Serving Instructions:

• Place one burst in a mug.

• Add one cup of hot or warm milk or your choice.

• Watch it melt! Then stir and enjoy!

Note: The key to achieving a nice sheen on the chocolate is to temper it, which I have included in the steps above.