Holiday Hot Chocolate Bar

Instead of fussing over fancy desserts, keep it simple with a festive hot chocolate bar and holiday cookies. Offer one or two simple hot chocolate varieties, along with a holiday coffee, and let your guests top their mugs as they wish.

Easy Hot Chocolate for a Crowd

Make this two-ingredient hot chocolate in a slow cooker and serve with a variety of festive toppings.

2 (1½-quart) containers chocolate ice cream
6 cups milk
Mini marshmallows (optional)
Cocoa powder (optional)
Shaved chocolate (optional)
Crushed peppermint candy (optional)

Spoon ice cream into a 3-quart slow cooker. Add milk. Cover and cook on LOW for 2 hours or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.  Ladle hot chocolate into mugs, and top with marshmallows, cocoa powder, shaved chocolate, and peppermint as desired. Yields 18 servings.

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Hot Chocolate Toppers

Whipped cream // Mini marshmallows // Crushed gingersnaps // Mini chocolate chips // Shaved dark or white chocolate // Peppermint sticks // Peppermint candies // Caramel topping // Caramel syrup // Hazelnut syrup // Cocoa powder // Ground cinnamon

Spiked Holiday Coffee

In addition to the hot chocolate, add an “adults-only” coffee to the menu.

6 cups brewed Christmas blend coffee
3/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Shaved chocolate (optional)

Prepare coffee in desired coffee maker.  Add liqueur, and stir.  Pour whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla into a large chilled bowl.  Beat with a hand-held electric mixer using the whisk attachment until cream thickens and soft peaks form. Pour coffee into mugs, and top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate, if desired. Yields 6 servings.

Peppermint White Hot Chocolate

For a different take on traditional hot chocolate, use white chocolate chips and add festive holiday flavor with peppermint candy.

8 cups milk
14 hard peppermint candies, crushed
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Whipped cream (optional)
Crushed peppermint (optional)

Place milk in a heavy saucepan, and cook over medium heat until warm (do not boil). Add crushed peppermint, stirring until candies dissolve.  Add white chocolate chips, stirring with a whisk until chocolate melts. Cook until bubbles form around the edge of pan (do not boil), stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat, and stir in extract. Ladle into mugs, and top with whipped cream and crushed peppermint, if desired. Yields 12 servings.

Note: Cookies were purchased from Icing on the Cookie in Homewood, 2907 Central Avenue, 205.871.9852,

Photography by Art Meripol

author avatar
Anne Cain

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