Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What to Do for the Holidays When Baking Is Your Worst Enemy (Hot Cocoa Bar, Anyone?)

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is enjoying special treats with the people I love. There's nothing like sitting together, enjoying beautiful cookies while Christmas lights twinkle in the background. It takes me right back to the fond memories I have of Christmas Eve as a little girl.

The only problem for me is that I am terrible at baking. 
Seriously, cookies are my worst enemy. So I've decided to go a different route this Christmas season, and focus on something simple and yet still delicious - hot cocoa!

Two weeks ago I put together a really simple but delicious hot cocoa bar for a friend's baby shower, and I thought I would share it with you! A self-serve hot cocoa bar allows people to personalize their drinks and enjoy a topping or two that they might not normally try. It also seems more impressive than it really is, which is great for a cooking-impaired hostess like myself!

If you're hosting a holiday party or want to wow your family with a Christmas treat, try these simple ideas for a holiday hot cocoa bar!

From the toppings above you can make a delicious peppermint hot cocoa, Mayan hot cocoa, salted caramel hot cocoa, or your own variation.

Recipes are listed below, along with the link to a free printable recipe card that I made for each recipe! They would be a fun addition to your table for a holiday party.

Topping Ideas:
You may have many of these in your pantry already! 

- Hot cocoa
(Of course!) I get mine at Costco or Amazon
- Caramel syrup
- Whipped cream
- Sea Salt
- Cinnamon 
- Cayenne
- Marshmallows
- Crushed peppermint 
(I bought a bag of mints for $1.99 and crushed them myself - with a hammer in fact. 
Quite the stress reliever too.)

Recipe Ideas:

Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa:
Coat inside of mug with two teaspoons caramel sauce.
Pour hot cocoa (or hot water and cocoa powder) into coated cup, and stir.
Top with whipped cream and just a dash of sea salt.
(Free recipe printable here! Best if printed 2 per one 8x11 page)

Mayan Hot Cocoa:
Add one teaspoon cinnamon and tiny pinch cayenne to hot cocoa.
Stir and top with whipped cream. Enjoy!
(Free recipe printable here! Best if printed 2 per one 8x11 page)

I hope you enjoy these fun ideas for a simple treat. I think that "fancy" hot cocoa drinks may just become a part of our family's holiday traditions.

Brian and I have taken to enjoying "his and hers" hot cocoa, almost every night this last week. When Nicholas goes to bed, we watch Lost on Netflix (I know, we're so 2006), and enjoy hot cocoa together. It's only "his and hers" because he drinks from a manly double walled titanium mugand I drink from a cute floral one :) But calling it "his and hers" makes it more fun!

If you try any of these recipes, let me know! I'd love to hear how they turn out.

What are your favorite holiday treats? Does anyone else go the non-baking route? :) If you love to eat cookies, but not the baking part, you could always make your mom and sister do the baking for you (hint hint Miranda and Mom!).

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  1. mmm...can't wait to try those recipes! i love hot chocolate!

  2. I love this idea for a party! We had one at our wedding :-)


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