OK, Utah chocolate lovers, hot cocoa bombs are exploding in a mug near you

The flavors are a treat and the experience is a blast.

A warm cup of cocoa has always been a beloved winter treat, but these days it’s really “the bomb.”

A hot chocolate bomb, to be exact.

[Subscribe to our weekly Utah Eats newsletter]

When heated milk is poured over one of these hollow chocolate spheres — filled with marshmallows and various candies — it dissolves into a dreamy, steamy, creamy cup of cocoa.

“It takes 30 seconds to a minute before it explodes,” said South Jordan baker Carissa Starks. “But that is the best part — the anticipation.”

The experience seemed to be just what the pandemic-weary consumers needed when videos of the cocoa bombs started popping up on TikTok in October. It didn’t take long before the sweet treats — resembling a large truffle — took over Instagram and Facebook, too.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Using heated milk, a hot chocolate bomb "explodes," creating a tasty surprise.

During the holidays, large commercial retail stores like Costco and Trader Joe’s were selling packages of the orb-shaped treats, and numerous cooking websites offered recipes on how to make them at home. Several Utah bakers and entrepreneurs, like Starks, started offering them as well.

“They are booming,” she said. “I’m shocked at how popular they are.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A butterbeer hot chocolate bomb from Float On.

In the past three months, Starks has made more than 4,000 of them by hand and sold them through her home-based business, Eat My Sweets by Carissa.

After making and selling cakes for several years, Starks switched to the hot chocolate bombs a few months ago. “I saw them on Facebook,” she said, “and liked how I could make different flavors.”

Most businesses offer traditional flavors such as chocolate, graham cracker s’mores, peppermint, and cookies and cream. Others get creative by putting breakfast cereal, candy bars or other desserts — like, say, strawberry cheesecake — inside their bombs.

Starks already is planning for Valentine’s Day with heart-shaped bombs.

(Photo courtesy of Carissa Starks) Carissa Starks of South Jordan makes and sells hot chocolate bombs from her home in South Jordan. The warm cocoa treats have been popular, thanks to social media.

Sarah’s Gourmet Hot Cocoa Bombs in Summit County offers a blend called unicorn poop. According to the Facebook page, it is a white chocolate sphere with white cocoa mix, colored marshmallows, sprinkles and “edible glitter that makes your hot cocoa shimmer.”

Krystle and Jordan Schofield of Sunset decided to make hot chocolate bombs while their Float On ice cream food truck was on winter hiatus.

Krystle had heard about the treat more than a year ago, but when she decided to try it out, she had no idea it would take off so quickly. The company sold several thousand in November and December.

While it required 12 to 15 hours a days to meet all the orders, Krystle said, “it’s been awesome for us to stay busy during our offseason and have our name out there.”

Float On has more than a dozen flavors, from salted caramel and milk chocolate to cookie and candy bar flavors like Oreo, Almond Joy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Whoppers. It also offers a butterbeer flavor that should excite Harry Potter fans.

The Schofields say they are gearing up for Feb. 14 and are working on bombs for baby gender reveals. “The milk,” Krystle said, “will turn pink or blue.”

“The thrill of seeing them on social media is what made everyone want to try them,” she said. “Then once they had them, they not only enjoyed the experience but loved the rich flavor.”

Where to order cocoa bombs

Eat My Sweets by Carissa • Order through Facebook, Instagram or carissastarks@gmail.com. Pickup in South Jordan. A single bomb is $4. Packages with more are available for $8 to $20. Five flavors, including milk chocolate, cookies and cream, s’more, milk chocolate peppermint, and white chocolate peppermint.

Float On • Order online for pickup in Salt Lake, Davis, Weber and Utah counties. One bomb is $6; a four-pack is $22. More than a dozen flavors are available, including salted caramel, milk chocolate, Almond Joy, Lucky Charms, Oreo, peanut butter, strawberry cheesecake, and chocolate-covered strawberry.

Kessley’s Cocoa Bombs • Jantzen Snyder sells her hot cocoa bombs through Instagram with pickup in Lehi. Flavors include chocolate, s’more, salted caramel and cinnamon roll. Four for $20 or six for $25. Valentine’s Day packages are available.

Sarah’s Gourmet Hot Cocoa Bombs • Order online for pickup in Summit County. One bomb for $5; two for $7; or three for $10. Various flavors, including unicorn poop — a white chocolate sphere with colored marshmallows, sprinkles and edible glitter.