How often does food make you laugh or ooh and aah? Not often enough. Maybe that’s why hot cocoa bombs have become so popular. We want to help readers make the bombs — hot cocoa starters that “explode” in warm milk — for Valentine’s Day. Heart-shaped silicone molds can be expensive and hard to find, so we opted for something less-expensive and readily available. It also has a bonus: You get a treat before you begin the recipe!

Adult’s help: Some

Hands-on time: 55 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Makes: 4

SUPPLIES

●1 cup chocolate melting wafers or chocolate chips

●2 small, microwave-safe bowls

●Measuring spoons and cups

●Small spoon

●Parchment paper

●4 Kinder Joy eggs, empty of contents and clean

●2 microwave-safe plates

●4 tablespoons hot chocolate mix

●1/2 cup mini marshmallows

●4 teaspoons sprinkles

●4 hard peppermint candies, crushed (optional)

●1/2 cup white melting wafers or white baking chips

●Toothpick

Note: Store cocoa bombs in an airtight container in a cool place or the refrigerator for up to one week.

STEPS

1. Place chocolate wafers or chocolate chips in a bowl. Microwave for 1 minute on 50 percent power. Carefully remove from microwave oven and stir. Return to microwave and heat for 1 minute more. Stir and heat for 30 seconds more if chocolate is not fully melted.

2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on your workspace. Pour one spoonful of melted chocolate into half of a Kinder egg mold. Coat the inside of the mold by gently tilting it. (You can also use the back of the spoon.) Over the parchment paper, turn the coated mold upside down to allow extra chocolate to drip out. Place on a plate, chocolate side up. Repeat with seven other half-egg containers.

3. Place in refrigerator for 5 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and give each half-egg a second coat of melted chocolate. If your melted chocolate has hardened, return it to microwave for 30 seconds at half power. (You can easily remove hardened chocolate from parchment paper and melt again.)

4. Chill the coated molds in the refrigerator for 5 more minutes. Remove the containers from the refrigerator, and set on a clean sheet of parchment paper. Turn each container upside down and gently press on the bottom until the chocolate pops out.

5. Place a plate in the microwave with a wet paper towel on top. Heat for 1 minute. Ask a parent to help take the plate out of the microwave. Discard the paper towel and dry off the plate. Place the plate next to the parchment paper and gently press a chocolate shell, open side down, on the plate for 5 seconds.

6. Fill empty shell with 1 tablespoon of hot cocoa mix, 6 to 8 mini marshmallows and about 1 teaspoon sprinkles. (For peppermint-flavored cocoa, add up to 1 teaspoon of crushed peppermint candies.)

7. Place second empty shell on warmed plate, open side down, for 5 seconds. Place immediately on filled chocolate shell, and hold in place for 5 to 10 seconds. If shells do not stick together, return empty shell to warmed plate for additional 5 seconds and join two halves again. (Use a spoon to spread extra melted chocolate into any gaps.) Repeat filling and sealing for 3 additional eggs. Set aside.

8. Place white wafers or white baking chips in a clean bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at 50 percent power. Remove from microwave and stir. Repeat until fully melted. Dip a toothpick into the melted chips and drizzle over eggs. Add sprinkles or crushed peppermint candies on top of the eggs, if desired.

9. To serve, heat 8 ounces of milk 2 to 3 minutes in the microwave, watching to make sure it doesn’t boil. Remove. Place one chocolate bomb in a mug, pour the milk on top and watch for the “explosion.” If giving as a gift, place in paper cupcake holders before arranging in a small tin or cardboard box.