Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What Inspires Me: Hot Cocoa DIY Buffets

There's a decided chill in the air. Fall is finally here--only a few months late. Now I'm dreaming of cozy nights in, curled up in front of the fire, sipping hot cocoa. Such a comfort food. So easy to make a gathering memorable.
 

 
Hot cocoa is the perfect accompaniment for dessert; it can be dressed up or down, and it comes in flavors fit for all members of the family or just for those 21 and over. But, that's not the best part. You shine like the star you are while your guests do all the work! Here are some ideas for serving hot cocoa at your next gathering.
  • Encourage guests to create their own cocoa mixes. Provide a few sample recipes with containers of labeled, raw ingredients: cocoa powder, sugar, confectioner's sugar, nonfat dry milk, vegan soy powder, vegan rice powder, cinnamon, and sea salt.
  • Have guests serve themselves from carafes or urns. How you serve the cocoa determines whether your event is refined, laid back, or somewhere in between.
  • Pre-pour the cocoa into cups. This requires a little more coordination (and pre-planning) than letting guests help themselves; you'll want to insure that the guests pick up piping hot cups instead of lukewarm ones.
  • For the 21 and over crowd, offer alcohol floats. Frangelico. Rum. Baileys. Kahlua or other coffee-flavored liquor. Irish Mist. Peppermint Schnapps.
  • Provide environmentally friendly stirrers. Don't be afraid to get creative. Try candy canes. Pirouline rolled wafers. Sugar cane swizzle sticks. Rock candy crystal sticks. Chocolate spoons.
  • Stock plenty of toppings. Marshmallows - regular size, mini, chocolate. Whipped cream. Chocolate shavings. Disco dust. Cinnamon. Vanilla.

 
For a roundup of DIY hot cocoa buffets, visit my DIY Dessert Buffet Ideas for Entertaining board on Pinterest.
 
What are your favorite recipes for hot cocoa?
 
My ultimate coconut milk-based favorite right now can either be a super decadent hot cocoa when served warm or a chocolate mousse dessert when chilled for a couple of hours. If coconut milk isn't your cup of tea, check out the hot cocoa recipe roundup from earlier in the month.
 
Bon Appetit!
Eden
 
Credits: All layouts designed by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life. Images (from top to bottom): first layout - 1. Photographed by Hayden Spears, spotted on Camille Styles; 2. Conceived of, styled and photographed by Fancy That and Inkberry, spotted on Pizzazzerie: Entertain in Style; 3. Conceived of and styled by Do Driver of Piggy Bank Parties, photographed by Jo Driver of Piggy Bank Parties, spotted on Pizzazzerie: Entertain in Style; 4. Styled and photographed by Rebecca Lemon, This Nest is Best, spotted on Hostess {with the mostess}; 5. Conceived of and photographed by Crystal for Mrs Happy Homemaker, spotted on Something Swanky. second layout - 1. Conceived of, styled by, and photographed by Jennifer and Jeff of Honeycomb Events & Design, spotted on Hostess {with the mostess}; 2. Photographed by Hayden Spears, spotted on Camille Styles; 3. Conceived of, styled by, and photographed by Jessica Wilcox and Laura and Lindsey of Double Take Event Styling, spotted on Hostess {with the mostess}; 4. Conceived of, styled and photographed by Natalie of Southern Belle's Charm, spotted on Hostess {with the mostess}; 5. Conceived of and styled by Kathleen of Twig & Thistle.
 
What Inspires Me is a monthly series, published on the third Wednesday of each month. Posts prior to April 2011 are available at A Timeless Affair - Inspiration for Vintage Weddings.

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Thank you for taking the time to join the conversation. - Eden

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