How to Set Up the Perfect Outdoor Hot Cocoa Bar
You may have seen hot chocolate bars at parties before. A hot chocolate bar is a fun and delicious place to be, as there are so many fun toppings to choose from. Have you always wanted to make your own hot cocoa bar? If so, you have come to the right place. In this article, you'll learn how to make a hot cocoa bar inexpensively and easily. Whether you want to make a simple hot cocoa bar or a gourmet hot chocolate bar, hopefully, you will find these tips to be helpful. Let's begin!
Supplies You'll Need
In order for your hot cocoa bar to be a success, you'll need some supplies. Such supplies include the paper cups and straws, as well as mason jars for holding the hot chocolate toppings. You'll also need to purchase your hot cocoa packets (or real chocolate) and the hot chocolate bar toppings that will go along with it. But that will come later. As for now, here is a list of hot chocolate bar supplies that you'll need.
- Paper coffee cups with lids and sleeves (or real mugs)
- Plastic Straws
- Wooden spoons or coffee stir sticks for stirring the hot cocoa
- Mason jars for holding the toppings
- Paper and twine for making the labels
- Scoops for scooping out the toppings
- A pot for the hot cocoa
- Any cute decorations
- A table for setting all the toppings on
How to Set up the Hot Cocoa Bar
Once you have all of your supplies in order, it is time to start setting up the hot chocolate bar. Begin by setting up your table. An outdoor folding table is a good option. Make sure it can handle the weight of the hot chocolate and other items. Also, make sure it can handle the heat of your hot chocolate. It may be a good idea to have a pad underneath the pot of hot chocolate just so that the pot doesn't damage the table. If desired, you can place a tablecloth on the table. Just make sure it doesn't touch the pot of hot chocolate. Once you have your table set up, it is time to start decorating your hot cocoa bar.
How to Decorate a Hot Chocolate Bar
There are so many adorable hot chocolate bar ideas. Some people set up their hot chocolate bar so that it looks like a lemonade stand. Others lean their hot chocolate stand against a wall and keep it very simple. To begin decorating your hot cocoa bar, you'll want to pick a theme. Decide if you want a vintage look, a Christmas look, or just a simple winter look. If you decide that you want a vintage look, you may want to use tin cans for holding the toppings and vintage signs. For a Christmas hot cocoa bar, consider having a red tablecloth, a mini Christmas tree, and garland. As for a winter themed hot cocoa bar, consider decorating it with a white tablecloth, garland, and fresh greenery. You may decide that you want a different theme, such as a snowman theme. If so, just decide what would look good at your hot cocoa bar and what would boldly display the theme.
The next tip for decorating your cocoa bar is to display signs. These signs could say how much the hot chocolate costs, what kind of hot chocolate toppings you are serving, and what other recipes you have. You could also write fun sayings on your signs. Some people choose to write sayings such as, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" or "It's the Most Wonderful Time Of the Year" on their signs. These signs are simply cute and make your hot cocoa bar more meaningful.
How to Set up the Cups, Spoons, and Straws
The next step to setting up your hot cocoa bar is to display the cups, spoons, and straws. There are many ways to display them. One way is to put them all inside a basket. The cups can stand on their own, but the spoons and straws will probably need their own little jar. Another way is to set the cups on top of a box that is placed upside down. That way people can easily see the cups. Placing the cups directly onto the table is another option. Make sure you have the cups, spoons, straws, and lids all in one place. That way people can grab everything they need before they move on over to where the hot chocolate is served.
Decide How You Will Serve the Hot Chocolate
There are many hot cocoa bar ideas that you should consider. Perhaps you want your hot chocolate station to be like a lemonade stand and you serve each cup of hot chocolate. Or maybe you want to line up a whole bunch of cups so everyone can grab their cups and go. This lessens the chance of people hurting themselves if they touch the pot of hot chocolate. Another option is to let everyone scoop their own hot chocolate. This saves you time, but it also increases the chance of someone getting hurt by touching the pot or spilling hot chocolate on them. Consider which option will work best for your needs.
How to Make the Hot Chocolate
Now that your hot cocoa bar is set up, it's time to move on to the main attention at the bar - the hot chocolate. Mixing packets of hot chocolate with water is an option, but it can be just as easy to make your own homemade hot chocolate. Here is a hot chocolate recipe to make that your family and friends will never forget.
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup hot water
- 20 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
- 10 cups whole milk
- 2 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 (12 ounces) can of evaporated milk
- ½ cup sugar (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Start by adding the cocoa powder to a bowl, pour in the hot water, and whisk until it mixed.
- Add the cocoa mixture along with the chopped chocolate, milk, heavy cream, evaporated milk, and salt to a 6-quart slow cooker or larger. If you’re serving this with a hot chocolate bar and toppings, consider leaving out the sugar to avoid the hot chocolate being too sweet. But if you’re serving the hot chocolate along, feel free to add in the sugar.
- Cook the hot chocolate on the high setting for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours. Make sure to stir the hot chocolate every hour to keep the chocolate from settling to the bottom.
- Keep the hot cocoa warm at the hot cocoa bar by keeping the slow cooker on. Don't forget to stir it every once in a while so that it doesn't stick to the bottom.
Hot Chocolate Toppings to Serve
A hot cocoa bar just wouldn't be the same without the toppings! There are so many delicious ideas for hot chocolate bar toppings. These hot cocoa bar toppings can be poured inside a mason jar. Make sure you have each topping labeled, and don't forget to add the scoops so that people can scoop out the toppings. Here are some hot chocolate toppings you should consider serving at your hot cocoa station:
- Toffee bits
- Coarse sea salt
- Mini chocolate chips
- Crushed peppermints
- Candy canes
- Soft peppermint sticks
- Lindt truffles
- Pirouette cookies
- Whipped cream
- Dark chocolate syrup
- Caramel sauce
Hot Cocoa Bar Recipes to Serve
There are so many other hot cocoa bar recipes that you can serve at your hot chocolate party. Many of these recipes can be made from hot cocoa powder. Such recipes include hot cocoa brownies, hot cocoa cheesecake, and hot cocoa pudding. Other recipes that don't contain cocoa powder in them include chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and brownies. Here some ideas:
Hot Cocoa Cookies
These cookies are a hot chocolate lover's dream. Filled with hot cocoa powder, marshmallows, and chocolate chips, these cookies are simply delicious. Although you may not think there is much of a difference between these cookies and regular cookies, there is a difference. Instead of tasting like regular cookies, it tastes like sweet hot chocolate. Are you sold on these cookies yet? You can find the recipe here.
Hot Cocoa Brownies
If you thought that it couldn't get any better than hot cocoa cookies, you were wrong. These hot cocoa brownies look just like any regular brownie, but they actually taste just like hot cocoa. The added marshmallows make it that much sweeter. If you are interested in making a Mexican hot chocolate version, add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients. You can get this recipe at Food Network.
Hot Cocoa Cheesecake
The last ingredient you would expect in cheesecake is hot cocoa. However, this cheesecake recipe contains just that. The hot cocoa makes it taste just like hot cocoa itself. With marshmallows on top, this recipe is perfect for any hot chocolate lover. Learn more about how to make this recipe here.
Making your own DIY hot chocolate bar can be a fun and tasty experience. Whether it is for your family after they have played in the snow or for a large party, a hot cocoa bar is always a favorite. It is also very easy to make. Make sure you provide a large option of hot chocolate toppings. Also, don't forget to stir the hot chocolate, as the last thing you want is burnt hot chocolate! Remember to have fun when making your hot cocoa bar, and don't forget to take a sip of hot chocolate every once in a while!