Just add milk: Testing hot chocolate bombs | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Just add milk: Testing hot chocolate bombs

click to enlarge CP PHOTO: MAGGIE WEAVER
CP photo: Maggie Weaver
This year, TikTok has brought a variety of viral food trends to the world. There’s whipped coffee, pancake cereal, nachos the size of tables, and now, just in time for the holidays, hot chocolate bombs.

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

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