How to Create Your Own Hot Cocoa Bar

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASHLEY MEYER

STYLING BY ASHLEY MEYER AND AIRIELLE FARLEY

The holiday season is almost upon us, and for some, that means opening your home for holiday parties. If you’re looking for a new idea for your next soiree, impress your guests with a delicious hot cocoa bar like the one we created below.

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To get the look, we dressed up a small vanity with five different kinds of cocoa, perfect for chasing away the winter chill (see recipes below). Check out some of our best tips for creating your own station.


1. In DIY projects, presentation is key. Whether you’re going for a casual and cozy gathering or an elegant affair, make sure to dress up your display with some cute containers. We chose to use glass mugs with curved candy cane-like handles, perfect for admiring the different drinks within.

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dsc_97522. Give your station some color and switch up your usual milk chocolate routine with some new flavor combinations like coconut, orange, or raspberry.

3. Make sure to include a variety of toppings, such as chocolate and caramel sauce, cinnamon sticks, marshmallows, peppermint sticks, and more, so that each person can personalize his or her own cup.

4. Add a teaspoon of sugar to each recipe for extra sweetness, or a teaspoon of vanilla for extra flavor. Need a little kick? Add a shot of Kahlua or Baileys for a boozier version of each recipe.


5. For the best taste possible, make your own whipped cream. Try this quick and easy recipe below:

Whipped Cream

  • dsc_9676¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla

Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until fluffy.


Orange Hot Chocolate

Ideal for Floridians who have access to fresh oranges all year-round, this fragrant drink combines the rich flavor of dark chocolate and bright taste of orange together perfectly.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ tsp. orange extract
  • 1 tbsp. chocolate sauce
  • Orange peel and zest for garnish

Heat milk over medium heat. Whisk in chocolate and stir until melted. Add orange extract. Pour hot chocolate into mug and top with whipped cream, drizzle with chocolate sauce, and garnish with orange peel and zest.


S’mores Hot Chocolate

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This delicious recipe allows guests to sip their cocoa through a layer of toasted marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp. chocolate syrup
  • ½ cup miniature marshmallows
  • Crushed graham cracker crumbs for garnish

Heat milk over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and chocolate syrup and whisk until thoroughly combined. Rub marshmallows around the rim of your mug so the graham cracker crumbs will stick, and dip mug in crumbs until well-lined. Pour in hot chocolate and top with marshmallows. Set mugs on baking sheet in oven and broil marshmallows until toasted. Drizzle with chocolate syrup and garnish with extra graham cracker crumbs.


Raspberry White Hot Chocolate

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Pretty and pink, this scrumptious recipe gives guests the option of another sweet fruit flavor, paired this time with white chocolate.

  • 6 oz. fresh raspberries
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips

Sprinkle sugar on raspberries and toss to combine. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until they begin to soften and release their juices. Blend raspberries in a blender or food processor and set aside (optional: strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds). Heat milk and cream over medium heat. Whisk in chocolate and stir until melted. Add raspberry puree. Pour hot chocolate into mug, top with whipped cream, and garnish with raspberries.

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Peppermint White Hot Chocolate

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This tasty peppermint-spiced recipe is perfect for those who prefer white chocolate to dark or milk chocolate.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 peppermint candy cane
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract
  • Crushed peppermint candy for garnish

Heat milk over medium heat. Whisk in chocolate and candy cane and stir until melted. Add peppermint extract. Pour hot chocolate into mug, top with whipped cream and garnish with crushed peppermint candy.


Red Velvet Hot Cocoa

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Perhaps the most festive of all the recipes, this sweet and creamy red velvet hot cocoa is perfect for achieving that coveted Christmas aesthetic.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1-2 tsp. red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Chocolate shavings for garnish

Heat milk over medium heat. Whisk in chocolate and stir until melted. Add food coloring and vanilla. Pour hot cocoa into mug and top with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings.

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