Saturday, January 7, 2017

Hot Chocolate Bar

Christmas may be over, but we still have a few weeks of winter left, and plenty of excuses to drink delicious mugs of hot chocolate. Here in Columbia this morning, we got a dusting of snow! It was so pretty to watch! We took Aspen out and ran around in it and had a blast. Then we came back in, dried off and indulged in some rich, velvety hot chocolate!

I love having a hot chocolate bar for guests, it's so fun to let everyone get interactive with their drinks and personalize them. I had one this past Christmas for family, but I think it would also be fun to have a cozy winter get-together and display a hot chocolate bar.

The recipe I use is soooo good y'all. Rich, creamy, chocolatey goodness that is easy to make! You can put it in a crock-pot, but every time I've made it, I didn't want to wait so I mixed everything in my dutch oven and it was ready in 10 minutes.

Pour all the ingredients right in your pot:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1 bag)
1.5 cups whipping cream (you could probably use half and half if you don't want yours as thick and creamy)
6 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla

*Tip* Pour the chocolate chips in first. Before, I have poured the milk in first, then the chips, and no matter how careful you are, splatters are inevitable!

You can get creative with your toppings, this is the fun part after all!
I like having a bowl of mini marshmallows, candy canes (crushed or whole), Creme de menthe pieces (chopped up Andes mints), Pepperidge Farm Pirouette cookies (I think Aldi has the same kind), and homemade whipped cream!

*Silver mint julep cup from Joss and Main

*Metal beaded bowl from Belk (Biltmore collection)

*Small clear snowflake coffee mug from Crate and Barrel and glass sugar bowl with spoon in background from Bed, Bath, and Beyond (a set that comes with glass creamer pitcher)

For the whipped cream, put a stainless steel bowl and mixers in the freezer so they get good and cold and frosted over, that way the cream will hold up. Then, when you're ready to make the whipped cream (do it right before you're ready to serve it, it only takes a few minutes to whip it up, haha!) In the bowl, pour in 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, about 1/4 cup granulated sugar (or more depending on how sweet you like it) and now the fun part is flavoring! Add 1-2 tsp of vanilla for traditional whipped cream or do the same amount of peppermint extract if you like that minty flavor (like me!)

For this hot chocolate bar, I set everything up on our coffee table since we were enjoying our fire, but you can set it up wherever! Kitchen table, kitchen island, counter top, or even a beverage cart! I don't drink but I would love to have one of those carts for displaying something like this hot chocolate bar or serving sweet tea and lemonade! Hmm, a sweet tea bar is brewing in my head.....

*Mug from Target

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