DIY Hot Chocolate Bar

Winter can be cold and gloomy no matter where you are, so throwing together a hot chocolate bar can be a fun way to warm up the season.

Invite a few of your favorites to come spend the day catching up after the crazy holiday season. Homemade hot chocolate is the perfect excuse to try out endless mix-in flavors, so get creative with candied hazelnuts, caramel sauce, graham crackers, candy canes, homemade marshmallows, chocolate chips … you name it!

The location doesn’t have to be extravagant, for this setting my backyard worked nicely. I set my favorite table, added in a cozy chair and throw, a few glittered logs (doesn’t every woman glitter her firewood?!), hung golden lanterns in the trees, a few simple greenery and gold arrangements and my best serving dishes. Napkins tied with twine and each friend’s name provided the perfect personal touch. (I asked my favorite paper company, Paper Route Collective, to create simple, classic invitations and tags – just to give it a special twist.)

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When the ladies arrived we grabbed our mugs and immediately got to chatting. Laughter took over the afternoon! The favorite of the hot chocolate toppings was definitely the candied hazelnuts — find the recipe (and others) below!

Hot Cocoa Mix
Ingredients:
½ cup granulated sugar
3 oz bittersweet chocolate (the darkest you can find), roughly chopped
½ cocoa powder, the best!
¼ tsp vanilla extract (or a bean split)
1/8 tsp fine sea salt

Directions:
Combine all ingredients until powdered.
Makes approx. 1 ½ cups of mix – enough for 8-10 cups. Store in a glass jar (or package in small jars to gift)!


Drinking Chocolate
Heat ¾ cup milk and ¼ cup half and half in a saucepan over low heat until bubbled on the edges. Add 3 Tbsp hot cocoa mix and whisk thoroughly until well incorporated.


Candied Bourbon Hazelnuts
Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup bourbon
2 cups whole hazelnuts, toasted

Directions:
In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Add hazelnuts and bourbon. Cook down until the syrup is reduced by half (about 15 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When the hazelnuts and syrup are reduced, place them on a foil lined cookie tray and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the syrup has hardened. Let cool completely and break apart the nuts. (Alternative: try this with any nut!)

Photography: Melissa BeckerHot Chocolate, mix-ins: Cacao Sweets & Treats; Boxwood Wreath: L’abeille VintagePaper Goods: Paper Route CollectiveHello Darling card: Evermore Paper Co.Gold Glittered Jars: Katie Pietraszak

Candice is a self-taught baker & owner of Cacao Sweets & Treats in Grayslake, IL, a made from scratch, natural & organic bakery founded in 2009. When not baking, she enjoys long nature walks with her husband and two dogs followed by from-scratch meals.

4 COMMENTS
  • Hannie Blaise January 31, 2015

    Ohhh what a lovely post, I’ll need to try this!

    Hannie at // Chapters Like This //

  • Cielo January 31, 2015

    This scene looks so magical! I might try something like this on my balcony when my friends come back for spring break. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before!

    ~ Building The Confidence”

  • Kiersten January 29, 2015

    Great idea! And I didn’t know you could get glitter logs. That would be so much fun. My neighbors always have a bonfire on New Year’s so a glitter log would be perfect for next year’s party!
    Kiersten | KiwiCat

  • Linda Wharton January 29, 2015

    Beautiful Candice! I want to be on your guest list for the next Hot Chocolate Bar!

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