There are endless ideas on how to get creative with chocolate. And one of our favorite concepts we’ve been experimenting with lately is a Hot Chocolate Bar.
Confused? When we first heard the term, we were, too. How can a bar of chocolate be hot? Wouldn’t it just be a pool of melted chocolate and not a bar of chocolate at all?
Well, it’s not that kind of chocolate bar. It’s the kind of bar where you brew up some delicious hot chocolate liquid and set out a variety of fun toppings so that guests can make the hot chocolate drink of their dreams! Much like a sundae bar, it’s basically a buffet of DIY hot chocolate heaven.
A hot chocolate bar is a great idea for a birthday party, holiday party, a baby shower, or even just a casual get together with friends. It doesn’t have to be during the holidays, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of work. But planning it out ahead of time will make it easier to put together.
To simplify things, we’ve come up with some great suggestions to elevate your Hot Chocolate Bar to impress your guests, no matter their age.
What is in Hot Chocolate Bar?
You will need a fair amount of space to set up the bar, depending, of course, on how many people will be enjoying the treats.
Depending on the set up of the party, either the kitchen table or a sideboard, where people can come and go as they please, will work perfectly. You can lay down a festive fabric cloth or keep it rustic with some brown packing paper stamped with the party theme. It is a good idea to have some kind of protection down because drips and spills are guaranteed.
We always love a good theme and those extra details like specialty mugs always elevate the festive mood at a party. Depending on your audience and the occasion, you might want to collect some themed mugs and break them out for this very fun Hot Chocolate Bar. You can always find things like this at second hand shops so you don’t have to break the bank, and you can donate them right back if you don’t feel like keeping them!
(You will also need a series of bowls in a variety of sizes to contain all the delicious toppings. More on that later.)
The Hot Chocolate
The star of the show is going to be the hot chocolate and there are a couple of ways you can approach this. One way is to make a large batch of homemade hot chocolate yourself either on the stove or in a crock pot. This way, everyone gets the same base and they can have fun with personalizing the toppings.
The other option is to keep a kettle of hot water going and have on offer a variety of packs of hot chocolate powder so that each person can create their own from the start.
Each method has its advantages. If, for example, you are serving the hot chocolate bar at a mingling holiday party and it’s set up for people to come and help themselves as they please, it might be nice to have the hot chocolate pre-made so that guests can ladle the liquid into the cup and just focus on the toppings. That way, it’s not too labor intensive and distracting for the folks visiting the Hot Chocolate Bar.
Or perhaps you are celebrating a child’s birthday and have invited their friends over to have a good time. Then maybe they will want to create their own hot chocolate from the start and choose the flavor they want. The good news is that either way, it’s going to be a success.
Even though the hot chocolate gets top billing in this venture, the toppings are really what make it sing. And it’s where you can be most creative and have the most fun.
As mentioned above, set out an assortment of bowls — having different shapes and sizes is always a nice touch. You might also need spoons and mini tongs to make serving easier.
So, what kinds of toppings go in a chocolate bar? We are so glad you asked. Here’s a list of some of our favorites, but the list can go on!
- Chocolate chips — a variety of dark, milk and white is always a hit
- Crushed peppermint — either candy canes or other hard candies
- Coconut flakes and chocolate flakes
- Syrups — caramel, vanilla, and chocolate are good
- Chopped up candy bars — or you can buy many chocolate bars in mini versions these days
- Marshmallows — obviously
- Whipped cream — it’s always nice to whip up your own whipped cream ahead of time but pre-made will also work
- Cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne, nutmeg, and other spices for a flavor journey that’s sure to please
- Some liqueurs like peppermint schapps, Kahlua, and Bailey’s — for adults only, of course
A Hot Chocolate Bar is plenty on its own, but it is always nice to set out some extra treats like cookies or biscotti for those who like to dunk. A plate with some nice desserts and delicacies to nibble on is a nice touch to round it all off.
And that about covers it. With a little planning and some imagination, a Hot Chocolate Bar can win the hearts and tastebuds of even the most discerning of guests. And for the kids — how fun is it to go crazy and put as many sweet things on top of hot chocolate that a mug can possibly hold?
We hope you enjoy this fun and creative idea that combines the wonder of hot chocolate with the fun of making it one’s own. If you have any other great ideas for toppings or how you designed your own Hot Chocolate Bar, we invite you to share them with us.