I love a spicy cup of hot chocolate and I also love the Grinch! Here are a few ideas for creating a Grinch-themed hot chocolate bar with my favorite semi-homemade Spicy Hot Chocolate recipe at the end.
Create a Themed Hot Chocolate Bar
I have put together hot chocolate bars during the holidays for the last few years because everyone seems to love them. This Christmas bar was easy to set up because I have a Grinch painting and mugs to match. The Grinch painting came from a sip-and-paint event that I attended. The painting is a perfect centerpiece for a grinch-themed hot chocolate bar.
Add a Variety of Tempting Goodies
I like to add a lot of items to a hot chocolate bar. Guests love all the choices and make some creative drinks. Chocolate kisses come in many flavors, including hot chocolate, so I always make sure to put those on the bar. I also add white chocolate chips and some squares of flavored gourmet chocolate such as orange or chili pepper. I have found that many guests like a thicker chocolate drink, and adding chocolate and letting it melt gives them that thick chocolate taste they love.
Include Caramels and Sea Salt
I usually include caramels on a hot chocolate bar and a small bowl of sea salt. Have a knife handy if guests want to cut the caramels into smaller pieces for easier melting.
Add Fun Items
Add a mini grater with cinnamon sticks, fresh nutmeg, and chocolate squares. Guests love to grate fresh ingredients into their hot chocolate. I’m not sure if it is the taste they enjoy as much as the experience of grating ingredients on top of a swirl of whipped cream. And speaking of whipped cream, provide a couple of cans because it goes fast! Don’t forget to add a few spice jars with pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and coarse salt for those who like to shake instead of grate. Consider adding maple sugar, maple syrup, or chocolate syrup. Get creative because there are a lot of things that can go into hot chocolate!
Have a Variety of Marshmallows
It is fun to add shaped marshmallows such as these stars (above). You can usually find them in the holiday food section at department stores or cooking stores or by searching online. Also, consider adding traditional mini marshmallows and crunchy dehydrated ones (shown in the heart bowl above). Guests like the crunchiness of dehydrated marshmallows and will nibble on them with or without hot chocolate. Sometimes they are hard to find, but large discount department stores like Walmart sell them. If you are unable to find them, search online for dehydrated marshmallows.
You can also add flavored marshmallows to your hot chocolate bar. They come in peppermint, vanilla bean, pumpkin spice, fruit flavors, salted caramel, and cookie dough, to name a few flavors. The Smashmallow brand has lots of flavors. Search online for “flavored marshmallows” and/or “Smashmallow” to see all the available choices.
There are usually some peppermint lovers in every crowd, so add some peppermint sticks and/or crushed candy canes. When crushing candy canes, they are best if you store them in an airtight bag. Try to squeeze out all the excess air, or they can absorb moisture from the air and become clumpy. Also, they are best crushed a day or two before you want to use them because they don’t keep well over time.
Secrets of Great Hot Chocolate
Use Milk Instead of Water
Start with a prepared hot chocolate mix to make a great cup of semi-homemade hot chocolate. Hot chocolate mixes come in glass jars, tins, and individual packets. Be sure to add hot milk to the mix instead of water. Most hot chocolate mixes are made with dried milk, but it takes more milk to make hot chocolate rich and creamy instead of thin and watery.
Use Quality Ingredients
Make sure any add-in chocolate is real chocolate and not just flavored chocolate. Quality ingredients make semi-homemade hot chocolate into a real treat!