SEATTLE — Every Friday night Roxie Star finishes up work and heads to her downstairs kitchen to play. In front of a sleek white and gray tiled kitchen background, Star creates YouTube videos filled with a rainbow of colors and kawaii-style (cute) treats — Fruity Pebbles hot-cocoa bombs, koala-shaped cupcakes and cakes, intricately frosted on the outside and bursting with orbs of color on the inside.
Since the pandemic started, hot-cocoa bombs have captured her creative energy — hollow globes of chocolate filled with cocoa mix and mini marshmallows. Place the bomb into a mug of steaming milk and the chocolate melts away, the marshmallows bobbing to the top.
For Star, these cute chocolate treats were a way to connect with her nieces and nephews.”My nieces and nephews really love them. It’s a great way to connect with these little people and find excitement within them,” Star said.
Star’s version of hot-cocoa bombs are squee-worthy. Almost too cute to melt, they’re shaped like baby blue seals, chubby Pusheen cats, and heart-shaped geodesics with Hello Kitty bows.
By day, Star works at Microsoft: She owns messaging and storytelling for the Windows education space — it’s a job she says is “around the clock.”
“I am writing the briefs, doing the alignments, and oftentimes it doesn’t feel that creative. Up until 2017 I was always stretching myself to try and bring more to the table,” Star said.
Star spends her weekends working on projects, both for work and for her baking hobby; writing scripts, editing her videos and baking. The time flies, and the adorable cookies and cakes she creates help her feel refreshed and able to bring more to the table when the workweek rolls around again.
“I love color and expression and I’ve always been really interested in design. It has nothing to do with my day job but it’s an extension of myself,” she says.
Baking is a different kind of work. Star patiently gives her 2,600 subscribers on YouTube and 19,000 followers on Instagram tutorials, brushing melted chocolate into silicone molds or frosting a rainbow cake with practiced ease, but she’s only been baking since 2017.
“I really couldn’t cook. I couldn’t bake. I didn’t really see the excitement in it,” Star said during a recent phone call. It wasn’t until she baked a pie from scratch that she saw the satisfaction of seeing a project through from start to finish.
When she first started searching for something to throw herself into outside of work, she spent hours online watching videos and hours at the library reading patisserie books, posting her results on Instagram.
“I found support in the community [there]. I remember getting five likes for the first time and that was just as exciting as getting 5,000 likes. It feels like people are supporting my journey as a self-taught baker,” Star says.
While cakes are her favorite, she’s been having a blast with hot-cocoa bombs, a project she calls “easy and approachable.”
She’s found half-sphere molds locally at a dollar store, but says they can also be found online or at craft stores. After candy melts are poured into the molds, the bombs can be filled with a scoop of your favorite cocoa mix plus everything from marshmallows and edible glitter to sprinkles and mini chocolate chips.
“I have been so excited about finding different marshmallows,” Star said. “It’s just a delight.”
The project is scalable — once the ingredients are amassed it’s easy to make one, two or even a dozen bombs.
“It’s not too time consuming and the outcome is just so fun — especially if you’re surprising someone,” Star said.
ROXIE STAR’S WINNIE THE POOH HOT-COCOA BOMBS
Silicone half-sphere mold
Plastic spoon or pastry brush
Piping bags or zip-close bags
6-12 ounces red candy melts
6-12 ounces yellow candy melts
3 ounces black candy melts
Edible glitter (optional)
Place candy melts in heatproof, microwave-safe bowls. Microwave each at 50 percent power in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval. This takes about 1½ to 2 minutes depending on your microwave.
Fill 3 silicone molds with about 1 tablespoon of red candy each. Fill the other 3 with yellow for Winnie the Pooh’s face. Use the back of a plastic spoon to spread around the chocolate or melt until it’s completely coated.
Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. With the leftover yellow candy, pipe small circles on a piece of parchment for the ears and set aside.
Spread a second coat of chocolate or melted candy between all of the wells. It’s best to make the rims thicker. Refrigerate 10 to 30 minutes or until it’s firm to the touch.
Release the half-spheres by pulling around the mold edges to help release the chocolate. Then press your finger in the center of the half-sphere and carefully push out.
Clean up the bottom hot-cocoa bomb half by microwaving a plate for 2 to 4 minutes and then hold it near the hot-cocoa bomb half to gently melt and shape it.
Melt black candy and place in piping bag. Then pipe Pooh’s face on the yellow half-sphere hot-cocoa bombs.
Fill the red half-sphere with hot-chocolate mix, marshmallows, sprinkles and edible sprinkles. Now gently melt the yellow half-sphere (the one that has a face) using the warmed plate and place it atop the filled hot-cocoa bomb half to close.
Now melt the ears using the warmed plate and attach to the yellow sphere. Allow everything to set.