With people rotating in and out of our homes this time of year, I love to have hot chocolate and a few treats on hand to make everyone feel comfortable and special. A hot chocolate bar is one of my favorite ways to do this.
Stocked with an apothecary jar full of hot cocoa powder, homemade marshmallows, candy canes, and Christmas cookies, everyone can build their perfect cup of hot cocoa with little hands-on time from the host or hostess. Last year, I created a hot chocolate bar for a baby shower I hosted for two friends and ended up leaving it out for the rest of the season, replenishing the toppings after visits with family and friends. It made the perfect welcoming touch and was so fun to have on hand!
I usually place my electric kettle and some fun holiday mugs around the spread so everything is ready whenever guests decide to partake. A 1-tablespoon measuring spoon and a small whisk with it’s own plate to catch drips are two easily forgotten, but helpful items for measuring the right amount of cocoa and getting rid of those pesky clumps. One trick my mom taught me on snow days when I was younger is to pour the hot chocolate mix into the mug, add a little bit of hot water, and whisk to create a thick, almost syrup-like mixture. Then add the rest of the water for your perfect mug of cocoa. This process makes sure there are no lumps of unmixed cocoa powder floating at the top of your otherwise beautiful mug.
Homemade marshmallows aren’t necessary, but they make a huge statement for the small amount of extra effort it takes to make them. I went with plain marshmallows this year (just substitute vanilla for the peppermint in these peppermint ones), with some dipped in chocolate and crushed peppermint, but in the past have made peppermint, gingerbread, eggnog, whiskey, and amaretto flavored marshmallows for a fun treat! While the bar transforms into a hot chocolate station, don’t worry about moving all of the alcohol. I like to leave the liqueurs that make for tasty spiked hot chocolates, like Irish cream, hazelnut liqueur, coffee-flavored liqueur, and peppermint schnapps.
To create your own hot chocolate bar like this one you will need:
- Hot chocolate mix (powder, homemade, or piles of chocolate shavings, like this)
- Hot water or milk in an electric kettle or air pot
- Candy canes
- Cookies (I included my favorites from this year – brown butter ginger cookies)
- 1-tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop the hot chocolate powder
- Small whisk and a plate or bowl for it to rest on after people use it
- Fairy lights
- Flavored liqueurs
While you may not think designing a bar cart is much like decorating a room, it takes more zhushing than I sometimes think it will. It is a fun way to start small and work your style into your holiday decor, or just your rooms in general after the holidays. Sometimes it is hard to move past the small pieces of decorating and see the big picture, or tackle a whole room. I have heard so many people talking about affordable online interior designs, like Havenly, recently, which seems like a great mid-way point between designing your own bar cart and designing your own room.
I can’t wait to settle down this weekend and fix my perfect cup of hot chocolate – who said it was only for guests? ;) What are your favorite hot chocolate toppings? Anything I should add to my rotation?