Need hot cocoa bombs? Tacoma & Pierce County food businesses make them
The difference between good hot cocoa bombs and excellent ones, Lisa Holmgren found, was about a half-inch.
In the two-inch hot cocoa bomb mold, the Steilacoom bakery owner found she could fit some marshmallows into her chocolate orbs.
More marshmallows means a better hot cocoa experience.
She wanted to go bigger.
She upsized to a 2.5-inch mold. “The marshmallows just make it prettier,” she said.
“I’m not using dehydrated marshmallows because when you pour the milk on them, it’s kind of prettier with the regular sized ones,” said Holmgren, who opened Steilacoom’s Delish Bakery in September.
So what are hot cocoa bombs? They’re basically hot cocoa delivery systems. Stuffed inside chocolate shells are cocoa powder or hot cocoa mix and marshmallows.
Plop the chocolate orb into a mug, pour hot milk (real or plant-based works just fine) and watch the chocolate shell melt away followed by a swirl of cocoa powder and marshmallows.
Stir it up and drink.
It’s a richer cocoa experience, thanks to the bonus decadence of that melted chocolate shell.
And these things are e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. I can’t log into Facebook without seeing a post about somebody looking for hot cocoa bombs.
Holmgren is one of several candy makers and bakers I found who are churning out hot cocoa bombs from scratch in the Tacoma and Pierce County area.
I’ve seen locals sharing links to buying the hot cocoa bombs on Etsy and Amazon, but my mantra of the moment: Buy local and keep local restaurant workers and owners employed.
“They’re a lot of fun and everybody should try making them,” said Holmgren, who said she started making hot cocoa bombs as a way to keep something stocked on her shelves following the unexpected response after she opened Delish Bakery in September.
She sells out of baked goods regularly and she’s been looking for something shelf stable that can be available when her pastry case runs empty.
“It’s not something that has to be refrigerated. They’ll last easily until Christmas, but tempered chocolate only lasts so long before it gets ugly,” she explained.
Her customers love them so much, she’s having a hard time keeping the cocoa bombs on her shelf, too.
Lesson: Call to order before heading to her bakery. The same is true for every bakery and store mentioned in this story.
Holmgren recommends whole milk for the cocoa bombs, but any hot liquid will work.
“I have done hot water and hot milk,” said Holmgren. “I like the taste of the hot milk better. If you have a way to steam milk, that’s even better. One of the girls who works for me does hot water and then she adds half and half to it.”
FLAVORS: Plain chocolate, white chocolate, peppermint, $4 each.
ROLLING PIN BAKERY
Amanda Rivera did a lot of experimenting before she found the perfect combination and construction for her dairy-free hot cocoa bombs for her bakery, The Rolling Pin. Her bakery specializes in dairy-free, gluten-free and low-carb bakery goods.
Yes, it’s true. You can drink hot cocoa without dairy.
“I wanted one to have myself and am gluten, dairy and sugar free,” she explained. “I make my own keto marshmallows and figured I can do this.”
She added, “Then a friend happened to ask if I was making them. I had just bought my first mold that week so I went ahead and submitted my info for WSDA approval. I started playing around with flavors and then I accidentally found a hot cocoa bomb Facebook group later that week and got some gift pack ideas.”
“There are tons of creative designs people are doing. My parents started rattling off ideas they would drink and got my wheels turning even more. Pretty much if I could find the gluten free flavor and I like it, I’ll make it.”
She recommends serving her hot cocoa bombs with hot coconut milk. “I use coconut milk to pour over, so it’s great. I toyed with adding powdered coconut milk but decided since most will probably use an alternative milk instead of water it would just be a bit of a waste. And if someone was allergic to coconut then they couldn’t enjoy it even if they used almond milk or something else,” she said.
Her wholesale bakery, licensed as a food processor by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, has been selling out on the regular.
To order, visit her Facebook page. She operates her wholesale bakery (not open to the public) in Vaughn and does delivery in the Gig Harbor area. She also has regular pick-up events that she schedules on both sides of the Narrows.
FLAVORS: All cocoa bombs are gluten-and-dairy free and come in four-packs. There are regular flavored chocolate, but also caramel, hazelnut, orange, peppermint and raspberry. Priced $25 to $35 for the four-packs.
ORDERING INFO: https://www.facebook.com/therollingpinbakesglutenfree/; https://www.therollingpinbakes.com/menu; 253-353-2681
That’s how she stumbled down the rabbit hole of hot cocoa bombs.
“I was looking for a couple of small businesses to partner up with to help promote our gift cards,” she explained. “Originally I was looking for gnomes – and we came up with a really cute one a lady makes in Orting and she has a great story.”
She added, “and then I came across cocoa bombs.”
And her obsession began. She met with the Orting baker, they brainstormed hot cocoa bomb ideas and the baker started producing the hot cocoa bombs out of the Legendary Doughnuts kitchen.
“They were just amazing! So stinking cute! And I made a hot cocoa for myself – of course with schnapps added – and called her and said there is no way I can just give these with gift cards people will want to buy them individually.”
And now those hot cocoa bombs are available at Legendary Doughnuts locations.
FLAVORS: Regular chocolate and peppermint chocolate, priced $6.99 to $7.99 each.
ORDERING INFO: You can try buying them at the store, but they’ve been selling out quickly. Call and pay over the phone to hold them. Find Pierce County Legendary Doughnuts locations in Orting, Lake Tapps, Frederickson and Tacoma. Locations at https://www.legendarydoughnuts.com/locations/
Count Mince Mercantile in DuPont as one more business having trouble keeping hot cocoa bombs in stock.
What you’ll notice first about Mince Mercantile is just how lovely their hot cocoa bombs are. “We use sprinkles and edible glitter to decorate the outside. Each one is filled with hot cocoa mix and marshmallows,” said owner Virginia Frazier Mince.
FLAVORS: White chocolate, milk chocolate, candy cane, peanut butter cup, raspberry, salted caramel and Mexican hot chocolate. Priced $4 to $5 each.
ORDERING INFO: Available at the Mince Mercantile store, but they have been having trouble keeping them in stock. 1495 Wilmington Drive, DuPont; 253-302-5331; https://www.facebook.com/mincemercantile/
COOKIE CRUMBS HOMEMADE TREATS
Kim Emery of Cookie Crumbs Homemade Treats calls her hot cocoa bombs a fun little Jenga game to put together.
“Flavor combinations are endless,” she wrote via email. “For a classic hot cocoa bomb, you’ll take one tablespoon of hot cocoa mix and place that into your bomb, stack marshmallows until you get stack anymore. Try your best to avoid having the marshmallows overlap the edge of the bomb, if you do this, your bomb won’t close completely. It’s like a game of Jenga trying to get as many marshmallows in there as possible.”
And marshmallows are the key to a successful cocoa bomb. Her ingredients are simple: semi-sweet chocolate chips or white chocolate, hot cocoa mix and mini marshmallows. She also has lots of fanciful flavors that turn her hot cocoa bombs into unusual flavor experiences (her vanilla chai is calling me).
Her bakery is licensed with a WSDA cottage foods permit and her homemade treats are available by direct order.
FLAVORS: Her flavors include classic cocoa, peanut butter chocolate, cookies and cream, white chocolate, pumpkin spice, peppermint, eggnog, vanilla chai and cinnamon, but availability is limited and must be ordered in advance. Priced $5 each.
LILLIEBUGS SWEET CREATIONS
On the plus side, the hot cocoa balls from LillieBugs Sweet Creations come with absolutely adorable packaging. On the downside, business is so brisk, owner Toni Kelley is sold out through January.
However, if you’re looking for a place that does broad flavor combinations, keep an eye on the company’s social media for wait-list openings.
In October, when Kelley started making her hot cocoa balls – that’s what she calls hers – few local spots were offering their own versions. “I figured it would be just a simple thing that would be fun and keep busy for the holidays. I had no idea it would be such an explosion this year,” said Kelley via email.
She and her husband brainstormed their flavor pairings. “My husband and I sat around one night going back and forth on flavor combinations. I’m loving the flavors we offer now but have so many I haven’t even had time to get to. My plan is to be able to play with more in January when the holiday rushes are over and possibly offer them for Valentines Day and St Patrick’s Day as well. I still want to play around with the cinnamon roll flavor, toffee, dark chili chocolate, white chocolate raspberry,” she said.
FLAVORS: Chocolate chip mint, Almond Roca themed, Reese’s peanut butter themed, pumpkin spice, peppermint bark.
ORDERING INFO: https://www.facebook.com/LillieBugs-Sweet-Creations-1662225017169763; (253) 205-7325
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FROM SECONDARY BUSINESSES
I found that Campfire Coffee in Tacoma has hot cocoa bombs made by an external company, but they sell out frequently. Wanna Cupcake in downtown Puyallup also is offering hot cocoa bombs from an external company. They’ll be available for pickup on December 23 and 24. More info here.
LOCAL FOOD GIFTS FROM TACOMA AND PIERCE COUNTY FOOD BUSINESSES
I have more than 30 food gifts available for purchase at local Tacoma and Pierce County food businesses. Read my story here.