Hot chocolate bombs are exactly as they sound: an explosion of cocoa powder and marshmallows. A hollow, chocolate sphere holds the exploding duo, melting when dropped into a mug of hot milk. The result is a rich cup of hot chocolate.
Among the many local spots to adopt this trend for the holidays — according to Next Pittsburgh, Sarris Candies sold 5,000 of the chocolatey bombs in two hours –— is Square Cafe in East Liberty. Their online store carries a long list of flavor combinations, from peppermint to toffee.
Assuming that my first attempt at exploding hot chocolate would fail (spoiler alert: I was right) I bought myself three bombs to test out the viral fad: a classic, dark chocolate bomb filled with powder and marshmallows, a dark chocolate peppermint bomb, and a white chocolate cinnamon version.
I made two major mistakes trying to explode the first bomb. First, I used water. Water was my Swiss Miss go-to as a kid, but — as I have since found out — the packets included milk powder. Without the milk powder, my hot chocolate was semi-gloopy and thin.
My second mistake, which did not help the flavor, was using a mug that could double as a soup bowl. I thought, based on the size of the bomb, that a big mug would keep the hot chocolate from becoming too sweet. Instead, it watered everything down.
Attempt number two, using a smaller mug, hot milk, and the peppermint bomb, was a major success. The bomb exploded correctly, the chocolate sphere slowly disappearing into the mug and marshmallows popping one-by-one to the surface. The drink itself was luscious, creamy, and rich with real chocolate, the peppermint flavors fragrant with the explosion. I was left with the sense that after tasting a hot chocolate bomb, Swiss Miss would no longer do the trick.
I have yet to try the white chocolate bomb, but I have some ideas to make the third try an even bigger success: melting the bomb in coffee, trying alternative milks, or adding a splash of bourbon.
Now, onto pancake cereal and nacho tables.
Square Cafe. 134 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty. square-cafe.com