How about a Hot Chocolate Bar?

hot chocolate bar

With temperatures on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. plunging below freezing lately, there’s no better time to warm up with a hot chocolate bar. Plus, hot chocolate bars are surprisingly simple to set up!  Here’s how:

The Setting

You can put a hot chocolate bar pretty much anywhere—no need for tons of space or an elaborate dedicated area (unless that’s what you want). A simple table or small space on your kitchen counter will suffice. So long as you have room for ingredients, you’re good to go!

hot chocolate barThe Chocolate

First, decide how you want to handle your chocolate: will you use one big tub of cacao or cocoa powder or single-serve packets that come in a range of flavors (from maple bacon to salted caramel)? Or both? Flavored packets certainly save time and effort, while plain powder lets your guests’ creativity shine, so it’s up to you.

Whipping Up Your Hot Chocolate

When you’re home alone, it’s simplest to microwave water, add your packet of hot chocolate, and stir. Quick and delicious! But if you want to take things up a notch…

Your hot chocolate will be richer and creamier if you use milk instead of water. Consider offering multiple varieties: whole and skim milk are both good, coconut milk imparts its sweet flavor, and oat milk boasts a velvety texture. A splash of cream adds decadence. Whichever milk you use, heat it in a saucepan until simmering and then whisk in your other ingredients.

You can do much of the prep work in advance by heating up your milk(s), mixing in cocoa powder, and then transferring the hot chocolate to carafes or insulated thermoses.

Flavors and Toppings

hot chocolate bar whipped creamSeverus Snape welcomed students to Potions class with this promise: “I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses.” Like any good potion, a mug of hot chocolate does just that, especially if you provide your guests with an array of flavorful toppings.

Have sweeteners like sugar, honey, and maple syrup on hand, plus some vanilla extract. As for other ingredients, chopped nuts, marshmallows, caramel sauce, toffee bits, and ground cinnamon are a great start. Candy canes, pretzel sticks, and cinnamon sticks work well as tasty stirrers. Feeling fancy? Food-grade lavender essential oil is an aromatic addition; just one drop is plenty! Spice things up by whisking in chili powder. To concoct luxurious “adult” hot chocolates, reach for the Kahlua or Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Finishing Touches

Remember to supply enough mugs for everyone. Organize your toppings and ingredients in attractive dishes, and don’t forget to decorate. A few lanterns, throw pillows, and blankets create cozy ambiance, and you can even add this printable sign.

Once your hot chocolate bar is up and running, you’ll find there’s no better way to chase off those subzero temperatures!