Hot chocolate station: make your own!
Guest blog from Georgia Coote
Now the weather is getting so much chillier, there is nothing more comforting than a piping hot cup of cocoa. Kids love anything that gets them involved in eating and drinking, so creating a hot chocolate station in your home is a fantastic way to round off a day after a crunchy autumn walk, or drizzly day indoors.
Perfect for parties but equally great rustled up with goodies from your store cupboard, this is a great way to use up your baking stash and have fun with a warming drink. Gather all of your containers (it could be old jam jars, cups and saucers or ramekins) and its a super way to get some use out of your tiny dishes! Kids are always enticed by colours, so make it fun! Create a little display which will excite their senses. I like to have sprinkles, cinnamon sugar (a mix of granulated sugar and cinnamon - I use 2 tbsp sugar to 1 tsp cinnamon - the smell is truly delicious, it reminds me of hot donuts at the beach!), some kind of chocolate bar chopped up), fudge cubes and mini marshmallows.
I tend to just have embellishing ingredients at the hot chocolate station, but if you have older kids you could have a flask pump out so they can help themselves to the hot chocolate and then make their own, or a slow cooker could be out with a ladle to serve yourself. For younger children though you can simply put out the cold mixes of the chocolate as I have here in the beautiful glass carafes, and separately heat the chocolate as you go. Any hot chocolate can be used as a base, even the most basic of mixes can be pimped to perfection with all the fabulous toppings. Due to all the delicious toppings you may want to make the hot chocolate base a little less sweet than your usual drink, but use your own judgment.
In our house white chocolate reigns supreme, so here is my favourite recipe:
White Hot Chocolate
Mug shown: Japanese Mug Blue Swirls, £4.95
- Serves 4 approximately
- 200g white chocolate
- 4 mugs of whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Chop the chocolate up very small and then add to a pan of milk along with the vanilla extract. Heat the milk (do not boil) and whisk to give a velvety texture. Pour and enjoy!
Mermaid Hot Chocolate
White hot chocolate works as a fantastic base for the mermaid hot chocolate I created above. I simply added whipped cream, marshmallows and sprinkles. For an extra mermaid surprise you can add a little blue food colouring to the milk to really up the sea theme!
Honeycomb Toffee Crunch
The gooiest, crunchiest most indulgent of drinks, this hot chocolate was created using a basic hot chocolate mix, a spoonful of toffee syrup stirred in, then whipped cream, a toffee sauce drizzle and then finished with millionaires sprinkles.
Peanut Butter Dream
One for the peanut butter lovers! It's simply a spoonful of peanut butter stirred into the hot chocolate base and then finished with whipped cream and crushed peanuts.
Hot chocolate spoons
A great addition to any hot chocolate station - these are so easy to make and also make wonderful presents. Kids will love the surprise on these spoons, and once the chocolate has melted off into the drink you get to see a cheeky character! Simply melt some chocolate and drizzle onto the spoons, sprinkle with the toppings of your choice, and then leave to set.
I love white chocolate with freeze dried raspberries, and milk chocolate with sprinkles just always looks cute! Stirred into a cup of warm milk they make instant hot chocolate and are equally delicious mixed into coffee to give an extra boost of sweetness.
Hot chocolate station ideas for grown ups
For a more grown up hot chocolate station you could add liqueurs and more distinct flavours; think kirsch, Irish cream and fruit liqueurs.
Thank you to Georgia for these delicious hot chocolate station recipe ideas! We know what we'll be drinking during the upcoming cold months.