Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hot Cocoa Bar

Hot cocoa, in my opinion, should be so thick that it’s practically a fudge sauce. I want it made with milk (or cream!) and real chocolate- I rarely enjoy the store-bought powdered stuff. Most of the time I like this but if you’re serving a crowd, this is the recipe to use. It's time for the big guns! The recipe makes a lot and is fantastic days later.
I had some leftover cocoa so I stored it in a tightly covered container in the fridge. I just poured out my portion in a microwaveable mug and heated it for almost 2 minutes- perfect!
Did you spot the Raspberry Cinnamon Rugelach cookies?

A hot cocoa bar is a fun, interactive dessert to serve either after a big meal, for a brunch, or during a party. Set out a variety of mix-ins/toppings and let people customize their own hot cocoa! Here are some ideas to help get the ball rolling:
(recipe to follow)

- Mugs/tea cups/espresso cups (espresso cups are great for people who want to create more than one flavorful cup)
- Mini marshmallows
- Salted Caramel sauce (recipe tomorrow!)
- Fresh whip cream
- Cinnamon sticks
- Candy canes
- Shaved chocolate
- Ice Cream (any flavor will do, but you can’t go wrong peppermint or vanilla)
- Cocoa powder for dusting
- Stirrers or spoons
- Carafe, to keep the cocoa warm and easy pouring

Triple Chocolate Hot Cocoa
slightly modified from here
Serves 10-12

Recipe notes:
- You don’t have to use milk & bittersweet chocolate chips like I did. It’s what I had on-hand, so you can use whatever you like.
- For the milk, I used 2% because I have a two-year old that drinks it. Normally I would’ve used skim or 1% and added a dash, or two, of cream to thicken.
- If you don’t have a carafe for pouring, then keep the cocoa in the pot on the stove (with either the heat on low or off, depending on how warm it is) and ladle into cups.
- To save time, I made this a day in advance, kept it in the fridge, and heated it up right after dinner. Keep it on medium and stir constantly, until heated through.

1 ¼ Cup confectioner’s powder
1 ¼ Cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
1 ½ tsp. sea salt
8 Cups milk
1 ½ Tbs. vanilla
1 Cup milk chocolate chips
1 ¼ Cup bittersweet chocolate chips

1. In a large pot, whisk together confectioner’s powder, cocoa, cornstarch and sea salt- try to get out most lumps. Slowly add the milk and turn the heat on to medium (don’t ever let this get to a boil).
2. Add vanilla and continue whisking until any lumps are gone and the mixture is hot. While continuously stirring, carefully add in ½ cup of chocolate chips at a time until they are dissolved into the mixture. Take off the heat and serve hot.
3. If making in advance, take off the heat and let cool at room temperature for 15 minutes before covering and putting in fridge. When ready to serve, pour mixture back in large pot and heat at medium for 15 minutes, continuously stirring, being careful that it doesn’t burn on the bottom

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