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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Bombs (Vegan, GF, Paleo, Sugar-Free, 100% Date-Sweetened)

Folks, I've taken something conventional and have become the first to make it vegan AND date-sweetened. OK, well I've done that before, but this time it's with a seasonal treat! Not only have I made a vegan hot cocoa mix sweetened with dates, but I've put it inside a whole-date-sweetened vegan dark chocolate shell (translation: I made (extra) healthier hot cocoa bombs!). Now you can enjoy all the yumminess and fun of a hot cocoa bomb without the guilt, and you will find these cocoa bombs are just as chocolate-y, sweet, and rich as conventional ones. I saw a need for hot cocoa bombs that work on my diet, and I didn't want anyone like me to feel left out, so here's a recipe for all you healthy vegans. After all, 'tis the season for hot cocoa!



This recipe is the third in my Holiday Series of recipes for 2022. The other two recipes in the Holiday Series are my Raw Peppermint Bark Cake (this one is out-of-this-world amazing!) and my Date-Sweetened Peppermint Bark. Leave in the comments what recipes you'd like to see in the New Year.


Once again, I am keeping this post short to get to the good stuff.


I used my Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate for the shell of these cocoa bombs because it's extra healthy, but unlike 100% dark chocolate my Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate is actually sweet and isn't bitter.




With this recipe I've managed to create a hot chocolate with date sugar, which isn't supposed to be able to dissolve in any liquids, cold or hot. But with this recipe, the date sugar nearly entirely dissolves into the liquid, with only a slight bit of graininess which is practically undetectable given that hot cocoa tends to have a little texture to it anyways. So this is really a revolutionary recipe.


Plus, it's downright delicious! Ultra chocolate-y, sweet, and creamy, it's a delight for the tastebuds.


What's more, it's 100% vegan, GF, paleo, date-sweetened, and nut-free (but does contain coconut).



Another fun part about these hot cocoa bombs is watching them crack/burst/melt open after you pour hot liquid over them. I mean just look at those pictures.






Can you believe that the hot cocoa bombs and almond milk in these photos are both homemade and vegan?


This hot cocoa is a delectable treat, and literally warms the soul. It's thick, kind of like a French/Italian/Spanish hot chocolate, except much healthier and less indulgent.





Wondering how I garnished the glass mug? I dipped the rim of the mug in melted 100% chocolate then coated it with my DIY crushed "candy cane" topping (which can be found in my Peppermint Bark post). It makes for the perfect seasonal drink garnish.


As far as cocoa bomb molds go, most will work. I used a smaller silicone cocoa bomb mold, and could only fit 1 Tbsp of the hot cocoa mix inside each bomb (this is why I only say to add no more than 6 to 8 oz of hot liquid per bomb). If you want to use a silicone hot cocoa bomb mold that makes bigger bombs and can hold more mix, you can definitely use that mold and add 2 Tbsp of mix per cocoa bomb. Then, simply add 8 to 12 oz of hot liquid of choice per bomb.


To be perfectly honest, during my entire four years on my diet, I always just heated unsweetened chocolate almond milk, stirred in monk fruit and called it "hot chocolate." It wasn't until now that I actually attempted to make date-sweetened vegan hot chocolate. But I'm not just stopping here. Stick around to see more of my date-sweetened hot cocoa creations..





FYI: you can pour hot unsweetened plant milk of choice (preferably homemade thick [extra creamy] plant milk), hot coffee, OR boiling water over these cocoa bombs, the options are (kind of) endless! It's important to keep the amount of liquid to 4 oz to 8 oz though, so as not to water down the flavor of the hot chocolate. Just be sure to give your hot cocoa a good stir after pouring over your hot liquid of choice to dissolve all that luscious chocolate.


I am currently working on recipes for date-sweetened White Chocolate Hot Cocoa Bombs, (Plant) Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Bombs, and Peppermint Bark Hot Cocoa Bombs. Stay tuned for the latest.


These cocoa bombs melt really easily, so be sure to keep them refrigerated/frozen when not using.



Back to the "Future Recipes Sneak Peek"


Here are 3 new recipes that I'm experimenting with and are coming to The Dimpled Date soon:


1. Healthy Gingerbread Pop-Tarts

2. Clean-Eating Red & Green Almond-Infused Butter Cookies

3. Fruit-Sweetened Pumpkin Roll (w/ Fermented Cashew Cream)


AND MORE!



Check back in soon for more delicious greatness! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!


As Always,


ENJOY! <3

-K.



Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Bombs (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Sugar-Free, Date-Sweetened, Nut-Free)


Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Chill Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Servings: abt 12 small cocoa bombs (this will differ depending on which mold you use)


Ingredients (for the hot cocoa mix)*:


-1/2 cup dry coconut milk powder (OR dry oat milk powder)

-6 Tbsp cacao powder (can sub cocoa powder)

-1/2 tsp pure ground vanilla bean powder

-3/4 cup date sugar

-tiny pinch sea salt

-tiny pinch cinnamon (optional)


Ingredients (for the dark chocolate shell):



OR


-2 to 2 1/2 cups vegan refined sugar free dark chocolate of choice, melted**


For serving:


-4 oz to 6 oz (1/2 cup to 3/4 cup) hot unsweetened plant milk of choice (pref. homemade unsweetened thick/extra creamy plant milk // for a rich and creamy hot cocoa) OR 4 oz to 6 oz boiling water (for a less rich cocoa) OR 4 oz to 8 oz brewed coffee (make sure it's just 100% coffee // for a mochaccino effect ----> this is very tasty. Be sure to add a splash of unsweetened plant milk after stirring)

-mini vegan/GF marshmallows (optional)

-shaved vegan/sugar-free dark chocolate (optional)


For decorating the cocoa bombs:


-additional dark chocolate drizzled overtop the cocoa bombs

-cacao nibs

-unsweetened finely shredded/desiccated coconut

-vegan/GF/natural/sugar-free sprinkles


For rimming the glass:


-a little 100% dark chocolate, melted

-some of my "candy cane" topping (can be found in my Date-Sweetened Peppermint Bark post) OR plain unsweetened desiccated coconut (for a white rim)


Directions:


1. Place the empty hot cocoa bomb molds in the freezer for 5 to 15 minutes. This will help the chocolate cling to the walls of the mold cavities.


2. Make a batch of my Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate as per the directions in that recipe, except don't put the chocolate in the fridge yet. Alternately, melt your vegan/refined sugar free dark chocolate bar/chips/chunks of choice in a double boiler or microwave.


3. Once the empty cocoa bomb molds have chilled, remove from the freezer and place on an old baking sheet to keep the molds level. Take a little of the dark chocolate and coat the inside of the hot cocoa bomb mold cavities with the chocolate. The goal here is to completely coat the walls in a single layer of chocolate, but you DO NOT want to pour the chocolate into the mold cavities. You're simply coating the inside of the mold cavities. This can be achieved by spooning the chocolate into the cavity then using the back of the spoon to distribute and smooth out the chocolate on the cavity walls (my preferred method) or painting on the chocolate w/ a food-safe paintbrush. You want to try to avoid having any holes in the coating of chocolate, but even if you have a couple that's fine because we're going to double coat the molds. Also, you may notice that my Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate doesn't like to stick to the walls of the mold cavities and tends to pool at the bottom of the cocoa bomb mold cavities. The solution to this is to pop the molds back in the freezer for at least 5 to 10 minutes then trying again. Also, be persistent about trying to drag the chocolate up the sides of the mold cavities. The more you try to distribute it on the walls, the more it will stick.


4. Pop the molds in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chocolate has solidified. Or you can refrigerate them, but it will take longer for the chocolate to solidify. Then, double or triple coat the molds with the chocolate if need be, patching up any holes and building up any thin parts of the chocolate coating. Pop back in the freezer and chill again for 5 to 10 minutes until hardened.


5. While the molds are chilling, sift together all the hot cocoa mix ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well to combine. Set aside.


6. Once the chocolate shells for the hot cocoa bombs are set and hardened, very gently remove them from the cocoa bomb molds by pushing up from the bottom of the spherical part of the mold and carefully peeling back the silicone mold from the cocoa bomb shell. If you are using my Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate, I highly recommend placing these cocoa bomb shells on a plate or in an airtight container and placing back in the freezer right away because you don't want them to melt after handling them when releasing from the molds. My chocolate melts very easily.


7. Remove the chocolate shells from the freezer. Take one dark chocolate shell (so one half of a cocoa bomb) and fill it with 1 Tbsp of the hot cocoa mix. Paint/spoon on a little dark chocolate around the rim of the flat edge of the shell (this will act as the glue that holds the two halves of the cocoa bomb together. I don't use the technique where you melt the edge of one half of the cocoa bomb on a hot skillet then press them together because my chocolate is too soft/meltable to do that and would fall apart). Take a second shell (the other half of the cocoa bomb), and press the rim of the flat edge of that half of the cocoa bomb up against the one with the cocoa mix, so that the chocolate "glue" on the one half touches the rim of the other half. You're looking to form a spherical shape, hence, a hot cocoa "bomb." Patch up any parts of the cocoa bomb that might be exposed with the dark chocolate, and smooth the "seam" where the two halves of the cocoa bomb meet, by smoothing over the area with your finger. Repeat with the rest, putting in the freezer in between assembling as need be to avoid melting. Pop the finished cocoa bombs back into the freezer immediately to avoid melting.


8. If you wish, you can garnish your mug now (clear glass mugs work perfectly for this). Melt a little 100% dark chocolate then pour onto a small flat plate. Take the empty mug, turn it upside down, and dip the rim into the melted chocolate. Once you're satisfied with the rim, dip into my DIY crushed "candy cane" topping (see my Peppermint Bark post), plain unsweetened desiccated coconut, or your vegan/natural/sugar-free sprinkles of choice.


9. Decorate the finished cocoa bombs if desired by drizzling dark chocolate overtop of them in a zig-zag motion. Then you can sprinkle cacao nibs, desiccated coconut, and/or vegan/natural/sugar-free sprinkles on top of the wet drizzle. Place back in the freezer to set.


10. To serve, place one cocoa bomb into your garnished mug. For an extra rich and creamy cocoa, heat 4 oz to 6 oz (1/2 cup to 3/4 cup) of your unsweetened plant milk of choice over very low heat in a small saucepan on the stove, stirring frequently until heated through (DO NOT let it boil // I prefer using homemade unsweetened thick (extra creamy) plant milk such as almond milk). Once the plant milk is heated through, remove from the heat and pour over the hot cocoa bomb (this is the fun part to watch!). Once the cocoa bomb has cracked open and is beginning to melt, stir manually with a spoon or metal boba straw to incorporate all that chocolate-y goodness. For a less rich cocoa, add 4 oz to 6 oz of boiling water to the cocoa bomb and stir well. I recommend no more than 4 to 6 oz of the hot plant milk/boiling water because any more will water down the flavor. But, if using coffee as the hot liquid of choice, you can use up to 8 oz plus a splash of plant milk. For a mochaccino/caffè mocha-style hot chocolate, place the hot cocoa bomb in a mug (pref. a clear glass mug), and place under your coffee machine/espresso machine. Brew 4 oz to 8 oz your coffee of choice, light roast, dark roast, whatever's your pleasure (just make sure it's 100% coffee and doesn't have added milk powders or sugar), and watch the magic begin as the stream of coffee spills over your cocoa bomb, creating melty paradise in a cup (this is one of my favorite ways to enjoy these hot cocoa bombs). Alternatively, you can pour the hot coffee overtop of the cocoa bomb manually if you don't have a coffee machine. And once the coffee is done brewing, you're gonna want to stir well, then add a small splash of unsweetened plant milk and stir again.


11. Lastly, add any add-ins of your choice, like vegan/GF marshmallows, shaved dark chocolate, a cinnamon stick, a sprinkle of cacao powder, or coconut whipped cream. Serve, sip deeply, and enjoy! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!


Store all leftovers of the hot cocoa bombs in an airtight container in the fridge or in an airtight container in the freezer for longer storage.


*You may have leftovers of the hot cocoa mix. Simply put 2 Tbsp in a mug and pour 8 oz of hot unsweetened plant milk or 8 oz boiling water overtop and stir well.


**You may have leftovers of the store-bought vegan dark chocolate. Drizzle the extra on top of the cocoa bombs for garnish and use the rest for other desserts or allow to harden and once solid, chop/break and enjoy.


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