An aunt and niece from Malta are making an explosion in the hot chocolate world with homemade hot cocoa bombs.
Michelle Schroyer, is affectionately known as "The Candy Lady," and her niece Jessica Schroyer manages her Facebook page, The "Candy Lady" Sweets.
For the past month, Michelle Schroyer has been making the flavored treats and selling them online. Hot cocoa bombs are balls of chocolate filled with cocoa and marshmallows. When you put them in a mug and pour hot liquid over them, the chocolate melts and the cocoa is released. Each bomb is packaged individually and comes in both small and large sizes.
Midweek reporter Katrina Milton met with the candy-making aunt and her social media manager niece to discuss hot cocoa bombs.
Milton: How did you get started in candy making?
Michelle Schroyer: I’ve been doing some kind of candy making since I was 10 years old. My mom took a Wilton cake decorating class, and they had candy-making supplies on the side, things like molds and chocolates. I thought it was neat. I started making candy with my mom and haven’t stopped. I now have thousands of candy molds.
Milton: Why did you start making hot cocoa bombs?
Michelle Schroyer: I think we just jumped on the band wagon. It really is a craze at the moment. Jessica put it on Facebook, and it exploded.
Jessica Schroyer: As soon as I made some posts online, people were messaging me. Hot cocoa bombs are in huge demand.
Michelle Schroyer: They’re popular in every town and in every state. People can’t make them fast enough for the demand. I think people like them because they’re fun and there are fun flavors.
Milton: What flavor hot cocoa bombs do you make?
Michelle Schroyer: I have nine flavors and counting. I handmake the cocoa powder. The original flavors are classic cocoa, white cocoa, candy cane and chocolate hazelnut. Specialty flavors are caramel apple, that you can make with hot water or hot apple cider or hot apple juice, chocolate salted caramel, chunky mint made with Andes mints, peppermint mocha infused with coffee and espresso and peanut butter. I can also customize them with sprinkles, colors and flavors. All of the hot cocoa bombs are filled with marshmallows. I can also make them sugar-free and keto-friendly.
Milton: What size hot cocoa bombs do you make?
Michelle Schroyer: There is a small size, where you add 4 to 6 ounces of hot liquid and large, where you add 8 to 10 ounces of hot liquid. You can adjust the liquid amounts to your preferences.
Milton: Where do you make the hot cocoa bombs?
Michelle Schroyer: I make them at Sweet Dream Desserts and Catering in Sycamore, where I’ve been a baker for 14 years in February. I am so thankful to Deanna and Phil [Watkins] that they allow me to use their kitchen. It would be way too much to do out of a home kitchen.
Milton: How popular are hot cocoa bombs?
Jessica Schroyer: Some people buy two or three, and they then come back and want to try every flavor. Our largest order so far has been 400. They’re in high demand, and people are loving them. They’re great for gifts or stocking stuffers. You can gift them to your neighbor, teacher, mail carrier, first responders.
Milton: What has been your favorite part of making hot cocoa bombs?
Michelle Schroyer: I’ve loved seeing people’s reaction videos. In one video, a child takes a bite out of one. People have told me it’s a really rich, decadent chocolate, like a dessert in a mug in liquid form. Jessica calls it magic in a mug. Some people have joked that I’ve ruined hot chocolate packets for them forever, they’re never going back. I’ve never liked hot chocolate packets, and it’s why I started making my own powder.
Milton: What are your plans for the future?
Michelle Schroyer: I plan on making smash bombs full of goodies that you break into with a mallet. It’d be great for birthdays or gender reveals. I also want to make more flavors of hot cocoa bombs. We had a poll on the Facebook page and everyone wants to have a strawberry cheesecake flavor. I’d love to make them for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. I’d love to sell them year-round.