Well, it finally happened…winter has arrived here in Wisconsin! We all knew this unusually warm weather would have to come to an end sooner or later, but I sure did enjoy it while it lasted. Now that we’ve got a nice blanket of the white fluffy stuff on the ground, and the temps have dipped down into the chilly range, what better way to warm up than with a nice cup of hot cocoa?
I had the chance to host a full hot cocoa bar at not one, but two family Christmas gatherings recently. At both events it was a huge hit and a lot of fun to set up, so I thought I’d share with you the basic essentials for creating your own hot cocoa bar…and the great thing about it is you still have all winter long to enjoy this delicious treat!
Hot Cocoa Bar
- Electric Coffee Urn or several carafes that can hold pre-made cocoa
- Hot Cocoa Mix
- Hot Water (or milk if you want it extra creamy)
- Toppings such as chocolate chips, caramel bits, marshmallows, peppermint bits, candy canes, whipped cream or egg nog
- Cups that can withstand hot liquid (styrofoam or ceramic work best)
- Stir Sticks/Straws
Depending on how many people you will be serving, you can decide how much cocoa is sufficient to prepare for your guests. At both of the family parties I attended, there were well over 30 people, so I made about 40 cups for each. I stuck with water and a lot of hot cocoa mix! I premade the cocoa and let it stay warm in an electric coffee urn.
I found these festive snowflake and silver & gold striped paper straws in the dollar section at Target, and the red snowflake napkins at Dollar Tree. The chalkboard slate snowflake tiles were from Aldi’s Christmas section this year for less than $4/set.
Since I was going for the chalkboard theme look, I found these free hot cocoa bar printables online here. A few sheets of cardstock, a scissors and some baker’s twine were all that were needed to create these festive cups of cheer!
Then came the toppings…you could really go as nuts with these as you want, but I chose to stick to the basics, with a few special items thrown in for fun. White & milk chocolate chips, caramel bits, crushed peppermint and candy canes were some delicious add in options. I even served up the crushed peppermint in these tiny serving cups for a shot of peppermint in your cocoa!
For the marshmallows, I chose to include mini plain and the peppermint variety, large plain, and peppermint flavored Peeps. Wouldn’t you want this cute little chick floating in your cup of cocoa?
And of course, no cup of cocoa is complete without a hefty dollop of whipped cream on top and a drizzle of salted caramel topping. Or add a splash of egg nog for some holiday flavoring.
Again, the possibilities are endless for what you could choose to include in your hot cocoa bar. That’s the fun part! Make it your own, and the next time you’re hosting a big group this winter, add something special to the occasion with this crowd pleaser.
Here is an extra yummy recipe for homemade Hot Cocoa mix for your enjoyment! Cheers!