DIY Hot Chocolate Bar (plus Kid and Adult friendly recipes!)


One of my favorite ways to “decorate” for the holidays is to set up a hot chocolate bar on our kitchen island. It feels festive even when not in use, but also makes last-minute entertaining for the season so much easier. I make sure to stock up on the basics and keep toppings fresh and sealed at the ready, so whenever we want a steamy cup of this winter treat, I need to do little more than heat some milk or water. Below are my favorite tips and supplies to create an easy but festive hot chocolate bar, and my two favorite hot chocolate recipes (with options to make them adult-friendly)!

DIY hot chocolate bar

If you aren’t mixing up a hot chocolate recipe ahead of time, the easiest route is to let everyone ladle their own amount of mix and add hot water or steamed milk from a carafe.

For the grownups, set out an assortment of something extra; you can’t go wrong offering Rumple Minze, Peppermint Schnapps, Amaretto, or Kahlua. (On my wish list for Santa – an espresso machine! Hellooooo mocha latte option!)

Hot chocolate bar extras

I love to round out my “bar” with lots of toppings and stir-ins:

Pirouette cookies and candy canes both make excellent edible “stirrers”

Swizzles or popsicle sticks

Marshmallows are a no-brainer (you can offer different sizes or colors for extra variety)

Sea salt caramels are oh-so-good melted into the hot beverage 

Think of combinations you love with chocolate — orange, hazelnut, peanut butter…the list goes on forever!

Whipped cream is a pretty way to finish it off

Sprinkles, cinnamon, and shaved chocolate make for the perfect toppings

My favorite hot chocolate recipes

(and how to enhance them for the grownups!)

Decadent White Hot Chocolate

2 cups milk (2% or whole is ideal)

1 bar quality white chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat the milk (without boiling) and slowly add the chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon. Serve immediately. Enhance with a shot of Rum Chata.

The BEST (Crock Pot) Hot Chocolate

1.5 cups whipping cream

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

6 cups milk (2% or whole is ideal)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours, whisking occasionally and stirring just before serving. Enhance with a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream.

DIY hot chocolate bar


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