The Ultimate Hot Cocoa Bar for Kids

The next time your kids have friends over to play outside this winter treat them (and yourself) to the Ultimate Hot Cocoa Bar.  It’s the ideal way to warm them up when they come in with frosty noses and cold toeses.  Plus you can use the lure of hot cocoa as incentive to make sure all of the hockey sticks, sleds and shovels are put away where they belong. Trust us, you’ll win Mom-of-the-Year honors for this one!

What you need for the hot cocoa:
1 c. cocoa powder
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
pinch salt
6 c. milk
2 c. milk chocolate chips (about 12 ounces)

What you need for the toppings:
Here is where you can be creative. Use whatever you have on hand or think would be a great addition to hot cocoa. Some things to try are: Whip cream, cinnamon sticks, candied orange zest, caramel, whipped cream, marshmallows, mint chocolate bars, shaved chocolate, Nutella, peppermints, chocolate candies, candy canes, sprinkles and (if you’re brave) cayenne pepper powder.

What you do:
Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan (one with a spout if you have one). Make sure to mix it really well. Whisk the milk in slowly, you don’t want any lumps. Add the vanilla seeds and pod. Place over medium heat and bring to a slight simmer. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove the vanilla bean and stir in the milk chocolate morsels until melted. Keep warm until serving.

Cocoa Bar Setup: Arrange or display all the various flavorings your hot cocoa lovers will enjoy. If you know they will want to try multiple combinations, have espresso cups available, so the hot cocoa will last longer and they won’t get too full too fast.

You can watch the video of how easy and fun it is here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/kid-friendly-hot-cocoa-bar-0174965.embed.html

Recipe courtesy of: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-thornton/hot-cocoa-bar-recipe.html?oc=linkback

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