Thursday, September 12, 2013

10 Tasty Toppings for Your Hot Cocoa Bar

It's hard to believe but the Christmas season will be here before you know it, and you know what that means? Christmas parties! This is the most wonderful party season of the year, and whether you're hosting an office party, a cocktail party at home or a magnificent cookie exchange, there is one must have to make any holiday gathering extra special, and that's a hot cocoa bar!

There's nothing like a sweet, creamy cup of hot cocoa during the holiday season, and setting out a spread of delicious and at times unexpected toppings is always a delight to your gusts. Here is a list of our 10 favorite topping for your hot cocoa bar:

1) Whipped cream - An obvious choice, but it doesn't have to be an ordinary choice. Add some wow to your whip by forgoing the spray can and whipping up some fresh and flavorful options from a carton of whipping cream (available in next to the milk in the dairy case), some sugar and a handful of flavorings.  Add some sugar and vanilla for a classically flavored cream and then offer a few fun alternatives like rum flavored whipped cream, or cocoa. You can even make a butterscotch flavored whipped cream by adding a touch of brown sugar and some butterscotch extract.

2) Sprinkles - a childhood favorite

3) Spices - Pour ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or even pumpkin spice into shakers for a tasty dusting your guests are sure to love

4) Drizzles - Squeeze bottles filled with delicious sauces can add an extra dash a delish. Definitely go for classic flavors like chocolate and butterscotch, but feel free to include a few interesting selections like salted caramel sauce, and pure maple syrup.

5) Marshmallows - another classic must have. And while you can go with the grocery store offerings of mini or maxi-sized marshmallows, why not go gourmet and make your own. Just imagine little bowls filled with fluffy, hand crafted delights in flavors like buttered rum, peanut butter and strawberry.

6) Crushed Cookies - From Oreos to amaretti, crushed cookies are a definite delight

7) Candy - Traditional choices include cinnamon hearts, crushed candy canes, mini M&Ms, crushed Skor bars and more. However, we're planning to add an international touch with some candied fennel seeds.

8) Chocolate chips - Or perhaps white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peppermint chips, etc...Check out your local bulk store or baking aisle for endless options.

 ...and speaking of chips

9) Salt - Not literally from the shaker; although a sprinkling of fleur de sel just might add an interesting spark of flavor. Actually, we mean salty snacks. Add a bowl of pretzels, some salty peanuts, or dare we say a small mound of crumbled candied bacon.

10) Fruit - Nothing tops a steaming cup of hot cocoa like a cherry, or perhaps a strawberry slice, or chocolate covered blueberries.

There is truly no limit to what you can add to your hot cocoa bar. A good rule of thumb is to include many classic topping and experiment with maybe two or three "conversation toppings". You never know who might want to take a tip toe on the wild side.

Homespun for the holidays hot cocoa bar printables available in our Etsy Shop.

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