Hot Cocoa Station

Hot Cocoa Station

Tis the season for hot cocoa! Warm up and embrace the Christmas season by creating a customizable hot cocoa station in your home with a decadent slow cooker hot cocoa recipe.

Hot Cocoa

What are the holidays without a cup of rich, decadent hot cocoa?! It’s a beverage synonymous with Christmas, and perfect for those cold snowy days of winter. One sip, warms the soul and makes you feel instantly cozy inside.

As much as I love a cup of hot cocoa, it may be the hot cocoa toppings that are the best part of this winter drink.

Hot Cocoa Toppings

So, I thought I would share with you how to create a hot cocoa station that includes not just the delicious hot cocoa, but all the toppings too! It’s a fun way to serve hot cocoa for family movie night, a Christmas party, children’s birthday party, or even an adult holiday gathering. I promise you, adults will love this just as much as the kids!

Cocoa Station

Christmas Entertaining Blog Hop

Welcome to the first Fabulous Friday Link Party Blog Hop!

The Fabulous Friday Link Party is a place for bloggers to link their best posts every Friday and potentially get featured the following week. The Link Party has now extended its presence to some bloggers who link up regularly. Today the 6 hosts and 6 talented bloggers are launching their 1st Fabulous Friday Blog Hop. Follow along to see all of the amazing Christmas entertaining inspiration.

All the links to the hosts and their featured blogger friends are at the end of the blog.

Christmas Blog Hop

How to Set Up a Hot Cocoa Station

The Hot Cocoa Station Base

I began creating our hot cocoa station, by starting with a base. I placed a plaid red & white table runner down on the counter, and then placed an old vintage wooden sled on top of that. The sled helped to add height to our station, and added cute Christmas nostalgia to the hot cocoa station as well!

Hot Cocoa Station

Pro Tip: After bringing the sled out of storage, I did make sure to clean the wooden sled with hot soapy water a couple of times, since food was being placed on and around it.

Hot Cocoa

Cups for Drinking Hot Cocoa

For your hot cocoa station, you can choose to use disposable hot paper cups, regular coffee mugs, or maybe a combination of both. I have disposable hot paper cups next to our hot cocoa but I also have coffee mugs on the shelf above it.

Hot Cocoa Station

Disposable paper cups are convenient because guests can easily throw them away when done, and most importantly…you won’t have to wash a bunch of dishes after the party. There are really cute disposable Christmas hot paper cups available. I found our disposable hot cocoa cups at the Target dollar spot for only $3.

Cups for Hot Cocoa

These disposable hot paper cups would be a cute addition to a hot cocoa station as well.

Hot Cocoa Station

The Hot Cocoa

The most important part of a hot cocoa station, the hot cocoa!

Now, you could have instant hot cocoa at your station with hot water available to guests to make their own, instant hot chocolate. However, I have the easiest and most delicious hot cocoa recipe that literally takes minutes to mix together, cooks for a few hours in the crock pot, and tastes absolutely incredible.

Hot Chocolate

You and your guests will love this decadent hot cocoa recipe. Recipe included at the end of this blog post!

Hot Cocoa

I placed our crockpot full of hot cocoa on one side of the sled, next to the cups for serving. Guests can easily fill their cups with a soup ladle placed in the hot chocolate filled crockpot.

Hot Chocolate Bar

Hot Cocoa Toppings

The most fun part of any hot cocoa station is the toppings! The hot cocoa toppings you serve are completely customizable to what you and your guests love to add on top of the hot cocoa.

Hot Cocoa Toppings

Topping Ideas for Hot Cocoa Station

  • Marshmallows
  • Peppermint Sticks
  • Whipped Cream
  • Peanut Butter Cups
  • Chocolate Wafers
  • Mint Bits
  • Toffee Bits
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Truffles
  • Meringues
  • Sprinkles
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Sno-caps
  • Course Sea Salt
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Chocolate Sauce
Hot Chocolate Toppings

Supplies Needed for Displaying Hot Cocoa Toppings

Hot Cocoa Printable Tags

How to Display Hot Cocoa Toppings

Tie red & white baker’s twine around the top of each jar. I circled the twine around each jar about 4 times, to ensure a full red & white affect. Pull the twine taut and tie a knot. Make sure to leave long ends to be able to tie a tag to the jar.

Download and print your free hot cocoa topping tags here!

Hot Cocoa Printables

Cut out printable tags, and then punch a hole in each tag to thread twine through. Place a tag on each jar, tying a bow around the tag with the twine for a whimsical touch. Trim twine ends for a finished look.

Hot Cocoa Station

Add toppings to corresponding jars.

Pro Tip: Use the tall canning jars for taller toppings, and the shorter jars for smaller topping pieces.

Arrange the topping filled jars on and around the sled, keeping shorter jars at closer reach for little hands.

Hot Cocoa Bar

Add scoops or spoons to the jars for scooping or place them off to the side for people to easily grab and scoop toppings.

Hot Cocoa Station

You can even add some fun holiday Christmas lights to your station for an even more fun and whimsical touch! The little Christmas tree lights added such a festive glow, and I loved the little pop of green they provided! Here’s a similar strand of lights you could use at your hot chocolate station.

Hot Cocoa Station

Hot Cocoa Station Sign or Banner

A hot cocoa station is not complete without a sign or banner!

Cocoa Banner

I found this adorable “Cocoa” banner at Target which I hung from peg hooks above our hot cocoa station.

Here are some other super cute banners that would be the perfect addition to your hot cocoa station.

Hot Cocoa in the Kitchen

More Christmas Inspiration

For more Christmas & holiday ideas and inspiration from me, click here!

Christmas Décor

There is even more Christmas inspiration at the end of this post from my blogging friends. Be sure to check out their amazing Christmas entertaining ideas!

Hot Cocoa Mugs

Shop Our Home

Links to products featured in this post can be found in our “Shop Our Home” page. I hope this page makes shopping our home a little easier for you! I earn a small commission when you make a purchase from one of our LTK links. Your support helps me continue to create meaningful content for you!

Hot Cocoa Station

I look forward to sharing more of my home with you and inspiring you to have a well loved home! Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LIKEtoKNOW.it.

Crockpot Hot Cocoa

Course: BeverageCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

10

cups
Prep Time

5

minutes
Cooking Time

6

hours 
Calories

485

kcal
Total time

6

hours 

5

minutes

Rich & decadent hot cocoa made with only 6 ingredients and slow cooked to perfection in the crockpot.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups 1% Milk

  • 2 cups Heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup Granulated sugar

  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 teaspoons Pure vanilla extract

Directions

  • In a bowl, whisk together milk, heavy cream, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract.
  • Pour milk mixture into crockpot.
  • Add chopped chocolate to crockpot.
  • Turn crockpot to low, and set for 5-6 hours.
  • Stir hot cocoa about every hour to ensure chocolate does not stick to the bottom of crockpot and burn.
  • Once hot cocoa is done turn crockpot to the warm setting to keep warm for drinking.
  • Use ladle to pour hot cocoa into cups. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Whole or 2% milk can be substituted for 1% milk.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate can be used in place of dark chocolate.
  • Add fun toppings to the top for even more delicious cup of hot cocoa!

Christmas Entertaining Inspiration

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Hot Cocoa Station
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Free Christmas Printables
Hot Cocoa Printables

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Easter Brunch: Baked French Toast Casserole

It’s Easter weekend and I am sharing with you a delicious recipe, a spin on a classic, and one you will want to make as soon as possible for your Easter brunch or frankly any day of the year! It’s one I’ve been meaning to share with all of you for a while now, but for some reason there’s been other things to write about and this recipe kept taking a back seat. I’ve been making this baked french toast casserole for my family for years. It’s become one of my family’s favorite dishes and a recipe that I use not only for breakfast on holidays (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas) but for weeknight dinners as well. (Do you have breakfast for dinner in your house? We do here and we love it!) There are many things we love about this recipe, not only the fact that it tastes delicious, and feeds a crowd, but I love the versatility and that it can be made ahead of time giving me more time with family if baking this on a holiday or more time to get things done on a weeknight. So, if you’ve got a busy Easter weekend ahead of you with company headed to your home, I’ve got you covered with this delicious baked french toast casserole recipe you can whip up in no time the day before friends & relatives arrive!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Salted butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Thick sliced bread (I use sourdough)
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 9×13 baking dish

How To Make:

To start your baked french toast, begin by making your own syrup combining butter and brown sugar (on the stove or in the microwave) and pouring into a 9×13 baking dish.

Prepare a simple egg wash with eggs, milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Place bread in a single layer over the syrup in the baking dish. Arrange slices to fit. No need to cube the bread, I just add the slices to the dish. Fill in holes between slices with small pieces of bread.

Pour half of the egg wash over bread and top with a dusting of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Layer remaining bread over the top and pour the rest of the egg wash on top with a final dusting of brown sugar and cinnamon.

If baking immediately, let casserole rest for about 30 minutes before baking in the oven.

If making ahead of time, place covered casserole in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours. Remove from fridge when ready to bake and let rest on counter for about 20 minutes. Bake for about 45 minutes and prepare to excite your taste buds!

Simply top with a pat of butter and a small amount of maple syrup. Enjoy!

My Tips:

  • Here’s a little secret of mine…don’t tell anyone! I use salted butter when baking, there my secret is out! I love how salted butter adds just the right amount of salt to sweet foods. I don’t add additional salt if using salted butter.
  • My family discovered our love of sourdough bread many years ago, and it is mainly what we purchase these days. So, using sourdough bread for this recipe was a no brainer for me! The slightly sour flavor adds so much depth to this very sweet recipe. I also love the texture of sourdough bread, which works so well with this casserole.
  • Use good vanilla extract! As tempting as it might be to buy the cheap stuff at the grocery store, spend a few more dollars on quality vanilla extract, you will taste the difference. I’ve made my own in the past, but have found Trader Joe’s vanilla extract to be a very good substitute when I don’t have my own!
  • This recipe calls for milk, however for a richer french toast casserole feel free to substitute the milk with light cream, heavy cream, or half and half.
  • Serve your baked french toast with a side of fruit, bacon, sausage links, or breakfast ham. We love the saltiness of bacon or ham with the sweetness of the casserole. It’s fun to swipe a slice of bacon through the brown sugar syrup. Yum!

Do you have a breakfast or brunch planned for Easter weekend? What will you be serving? I hope this recipe makes it’s way into your recipe book for Easter or any other day of the year, it’s one my family loves and I am so happy to finally be sharing it with you!

Links to products featured in this post can be found in our new “Shop Our Home” page. I hope this page makes shopping our home a little easier for you! I do earn a small commission when you make a purchase from one of our LTK links. Your support helps me continue to create meaningful content for you!

I look forward to sharing more of my home with you and inspiring you to have a well loved home! Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LIKEtoKNOW.it.

Baked French Toast Casserole

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 loaf thick sliced bread (I use sourdough)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 9×13 baking dish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Lightly grease on oven safe 9×13 casserole dish.
  2. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave for 15 second intervals, until butter is melted.
  3. Stir 1 cup brown sugar into the melted butter, mix well until fully combined. Pour brown sugar mixture into the prepared dish and spread evenly to coat the bottom of the dish. Set dish aside.
  4. In a bowl beat eggs. Once beaten, add in milk, vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon. Set aside.
  5. Combine remaining brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate small bowl. Set aside.
  6. Arrange bread in a single layer over the butter/sugar mixture in the dish.
  7. Pour half of the egg wash over bread. Top with half of the brown sugar/cinnamon.
  8. Arrange remaining bread slices over the top. Pour over remaining egg wash and top with remaining brown sugar/cinnamon. Lightly press bread into the egg wash to ensure slices are evenly soaked.
  9. Cover dish with tin foil and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to soak up the custard mixture, or overnight for best results.
  10. When ready to bake, take the dish out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before baking (if it has been overnight) to remove the chill from the dish.
  11. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  12. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 15 minutes.
  13. Serve with butter and syrup. Enjoy!