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My sister-in-law, Catherine, is getting married this December. We have not had the pleasure of anyone in our family marrying during the winter months. All of our siblings (including Andrew and I) had summer weddings. A Christmas wedding provided the bridesmaids with the wonderful opportunity to throw a winter themed bridal shower. While researching ideas for the shower, I fell in love with the clever idea of a Hot Cocoa Bar! It is cute, delicious, and a huge hit!
Adults and children alike love a Hot Cocoa Bar. Christopher Morley’s poem Animal Crackers describes the joy of having a steaming, thick, creamy cup of hot cocoa during any occasion.
Animal Crackers and Cocoa to drink
That is the finest of suppers, I think,
When I am grown up and can have what I please,
I think I will always insist upon these.
Right now is hot cocoa season, so it is a great time to talk about a Hot Cocoa Bar. You will find everything you need to host a spectacular Hot Cocoa Bar, plus an amazing homemade hot cocoa recipe that will capture everyone’s hearts (and compliments to the cook).
Let’s get down to business. I am going to list everything you will need right here so you have it at a glance, and then I will add more detail below.
Lids, Sleeves, and Straws optional
Mason jars – different sizes
Mini Chocolate Chips
Hot Cocoa Bar Sign
Baskets – for coffee cups and dimension
I really enjoyed using different sized mason jars to give the Hot Cocoa Bar some dimension. I had a few jars around the house and found the rest at Michaels. There is not a Michaels where I live, so when we traveled to Denver recently, I insisted we go to Michaels to take a peek. Well if we are being honest, you know you cannot enter a Hobby Lobby or Michaels and leave without something amazing in your hands. At least I know this is the case for me. It was a lot of fun looking at all of the different mason jars. I cannot believe how many options there are!
I would recommend buying the mason jars through a store like Michaels. Honestly, Amazon was expensive and Walmart only sells jars in bulk, which is not helpful when you want more than one size. This was the most budget friendly way I found to purchase the mason jars.
I bought 8 oz disposable coffee cups from Amazon. They included sleeves, straws, and lids. Considering I was creating this Hot Cocoa Bar for 2 separate bridal showers, I decided buying in bulk was the best option. If you have a smaller group, it would be fun to have cute mugs set out for people to enjoy, but I personally did not want to wash 25+ coffee mugs.
The list of possible toppings for the Hot Cocoa Bar seems endless! I used toffee, mini chocolate chips, crushed peppermint, Ready Whip, ginger snaps, cinnamon, stir spoons (as seen in detail below), cookie sticks (Starbucks Cookie Straws), and mini marshmallows for my Hot Cocoa Bar. However, some other wonderful additions would be caramel, sea salt, sprinkles, different syrups, and if it happens to be an adult party, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Peppermint Schnapps. Yummy! Even though I drank 2 cups of hot cocoa already today, it still makes me a little excited to think about what I could add to another cup!
To create my topping labels, I printed this Hot Cocoa Bar Label Sheet and glued the labels onto a tent shaped piece of construction paper with the color of my choice. I have added all of the toppings mentioned above, including the toppings I did not use in my Hot Cocoa Bar within these printable labels.
Hot Cocoa Bar Sign
The wooden Hot Cocoa Bar sign was from Hobby Lobby. You can also find an adorable printable sign from the blogger Yellow Bliss Road here.
I used 2 different sized baskets. One basket was used for adding height to my display. Adding layers helped the display look finished and professional. I used the other basket for organizing the coffee cups, lids, sleeves, and straws. Organization makes my heart happy (even if I am not always good at it). Using a basket really helped order be maintained.
By supplying a sharpie, you encourage people to label their cups. If people decide they want seconds, providing a sharpie helps lessen confusion and the use of excess amounts of cups.
Coffee and Tea
Although the Hot Chocolate Bar is great alone, it is even better to have variety. Your guests will appreciate having beverage options. We had several guests who were lactose intolerant, so this gave them a warm drink option, too. Or, if people wanted a less sugary drink the second time around but still wanted a warm drink, tea or coffee was available.
Creamy Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe
Now, time for the most wonderful, creamy, homemade hot chocolate recipe!
Begin by adding 4 cups of chocolate chips into the crock pot. The first time I made this hot chocolate, I made the mistake of doing this step last. Let’s say it got a bit messy as milk splashed everywhere.
Next, you will add ½ c. of cocoa powder to ½ -1 c. water. You just need enough water to dissolve the powder. Hot tap water does the job just fine, but you can also boil the water if you like.
Now add 4 c. heavy whipping cream, 12 c. whole milk, 2 cans sweetened condensed milk and 4 tsp vanilla. Stir everything together with a large spoon.
Then, turn on your crock pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours. I know it sounds like a long time, but trust me here. The milk needs the time to warm and the chocolate chips take time to melt.
Stir every hour.
This recipe serves approximately 20-25 people. It honestly depends on if you are providing for women who are watching their figure or men who have just cut down Christmas trees 😂.
Bonus Idea – Chocolate Covered Stir Spoons
As a bonus idea for your delicious Hot Cocoa Bar, I wanted to add the directions for my chocolate covered stir spoons. I really enjoyed planning the toppings for our Hot Cocoa Bar, but the chocolate covered spoons were a favorite of the guests.
Crush the Peppermint
First, if your peppermint is not crushed, crush it. You can use a rolling pin to do this. Pounding peppermint is quite stress relieving. Smash till your heart’s content. But, make sure you double baggie the peppermint before pounding or you will have a mess on your hands… which then could be the opposite of stress relieving.
Next, melt your chocolate. I used Great Value Melting Chocolate. I melted the chocolate in the microwave. Super easy and super yummy. I needed enough chocolate for 30 spoons. 5 cubes was sufficient.
Now the fun part! You are going to dip your spoons into the chocolate. I personally like the look when a little of the spoon’s handle has chocolate on it. Do approximately 5 spoons at a time or the chocolate will begin to dry before you can put the crushed peppermint on. Then you would have to double layer the chocolate! Not that more chocolate is ever a bad thing… just more work.
Add Crushed Peppermint
Finally, sprinkle your crushed peppermint over the spoons. Let the chocolate cool and harden. Now you have chocolate covered stirrers for coffee, hot chocolate, etc.
Really, could it get any easier or cuter than that? I made these chocolate covered stirrers about 3 days before my Hot Cocoa Bar and stored them in a Ziploc baggie. You can use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate. Then add some crushed peppermint, toffee, etc. and voila! You have an adorable chocolate covered stirrer that everyone is bound to love.
Do you have any other ideas of toppings that could go on chocolate covered stirrers?
A Hot Cocoa Bar is a great idea to do this winter season. It is the perfect addition for a bridal or baby shower, company party, Christmas party. I received numerous compliments from this idea, and I fully intend to make my Hot Cocoa Bar an annual occurrence during this most wonderful time of the year. It will be especially easy to do this again since I have already made the best hot chocolate recipe and have all of the mason jars and labels ready to go!
As I was planning my Hot Cocoa Bar, I enjoyed looking at Little Spice Jar’s post about how she did a Hot Cocoa Bar. She has a very elegant set up.
Ready. Set. Go! I think you are sufficiently ready to host a spectacular Hot Cocoa Bar that everyone will love just as much as we did.
Share this post so everyone can enjoy a Hot Cocoa Bar this season!