What’s the perfect way to warm up on a chilly day? Hot cocoa, of course! Share this sweet treat with family and friends, and learn some awesome STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) concepts by making delicious, meltable hot cocoa bombs yourself. Get ready to dive into hands-on learning and get a little messy as you help your child practice measurement, patience, creativity and even color theory without leaving your kitchen.
Making Tasty Treats
First, gather the supplies you will need to get started. We recommend:
- Melting chocolate wafers
- Microwave safe bowls to hold the melted chocolate
- Pastry brush (or small spoon)
- Pre-made hot cocoa mix
- Shallow pan
- Silicone semisphere mold
Optional additions for decorating:
- Colored melting chocolates (or white chocolate with food coloring)
- Crushed holiday candies
- Edible glitter
- Mini marshmallows
- Piping bags (or plastic sandwich bags)
Once you have all your supplies organized, it’s time to design, build and decorate! The Food Network explains how you can make hot cocoa bombs – even if you don’t have a silicone mold! While you can fill and decorate them differently to match your tastes, the basic instructions are the same for a variety of hot cocoa bombs.
Begin by melting your chocolate wafers based on the package instructions. It’s important to use melting chocolates that will harden and act as if the chocolate was tempered – so no chocolate chips or candy bars for the outer shells! Using your spoon or brush, paint a thin layer of melted chocolate onto your molds, chill and repeat with a second layer. Be patient — if the chocolate doesn’t harden, your spheres will not hold up.
Once hardened, gently remove the half-spheres from your mold and rest them on a chilled tray. Then, warm your shallow pan and use it to create an even, melty edge to two half-spheres by lightly pressing the edges against the warm pan.
Quickly measure one serving of your pre-made hot cocoa mix and add it to one of your half-spheres along with any fun additions like sprinkles, mini white chocolate chips, peppermint pieces or marshmallows. Seal the two halves together by very gently pressing the two softened edges together. Don’t hold them too long, or your hands will begin to melt the chocolate! Repeat with the rest of your half-sphere pairs.
With all your spheres created, now is the time to get creative! To make decorative lines across the top of a sphere, melt your colored or white melting chocolate, mix with color as needed, and place it in a piping bag (or sandwich bag). Cut off the very tip of the bag to form a small hole and drizzle the melted chocolate across the tops of your hot cocoa bombs. From here, you can add sprinkles, sanding sugar, crushed candies or edible glitter to make your creation reflect your own unique vision before the drizzle chocolate hardens!
Incorporating STEAM Concepts
As you work on this project with your child, you can find plenty of opportunities to discuss STEAM concepts.
When you add heat, the chocolate wafers go through changes in state – physical changes in the matter of the melting chocolate – as they go from a solid into a liquid, allowing you to change their shape before they harden back into a solid state as they chill. After explaining this to your child, encourage them to place one of their completed spheres into a cup of warm milk or water to see how the heat causes the sphere to melt once again, resulting in yummy hot cocoa.
You also might want to discuss color theory as you mix food coloring or colored chocolate melts to get specific hues. Try asking your child to mix blue and yellow for a festive holiday green, or add white chocolates to a deep blue mixture to lighten it up and make it pop against the deep color of the chocolate.
Remind your child that baking is a lot like other STEAM processes, so it’s OK if your first batch isn’t perfect. There’s plenty of room for experimentation, learning from mistakes and remaining persistent to achieve the best hot cocoa bomb you can!