Monday, November 30, 2015

Making Memories+ Hot Cocoa Bar

This party has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it's advertiser.  As always all opinions are mine alone! #HostingHacks #CollectiveBias 
Today I'm sharing an easy Holiday entertaining idea that requires very little planning & has a good amount of sweetness.

I love the holiday season, it feels like it is just one big gathering after another spent with close friends, family and good food. I look forward to this time all year long and for the opportunity to make new memories and traditions as a family. One of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions{that we adopted from my in-laws} is doing a cookie/treat exchange with neighbors. The kids LOVE it and even though it is still several weeks away they are already excited about it & planning on the types of treats they are going to make.

Something else we'd like to incorporate this year is host a cozy gathering, where we can spend the night curled by the fireplace, enjoying the company of friends & loved ones. I like the idea of doing a hot cocoa bar, because it is low maintenance & super simple to throw together{especially when most of the toppings are already in your pantry}. 

Before any party, we like to stop by Costco & pick up a few party essentials to ensure our party will be memorable as well as a breeze to clean afterwards. Plus, there's just something about buying in bulk that makes me feel secured & at peace!
I've put together a little hot cocoa inspiration for you, be sure to scroll through to see the easiest S'mores pops recipe! 
I love the idea of bringing nature indoors especially during the holidays. I added pops of gold, red and white throughout our decor to keep it festive & add a bit of elegance to the party.
Originally I had planned to spray paint the pine-cones gold, but we had a good amount of gold already on the table, so I decided to keep them natural. Overall I really like the look of the greenery & woodsy touches throughout, they add a nice subtle rustic element to the table. 
Oh and these gold dipped antlers are totally necessary;)!
It wouldn't be a hot cocoa bar without a good amount of toppings. In our bar we had marshmallows, white chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, shredded coconut, crushed peppermint, crushed honey crackers, powdered peanut butter, pirouette wafers and sprinkles.
I added red & white bakers twine to the jars and glassware to make the bar look more put together. As well as made ornament-style tags to make the bar easier to navigate. 
This wood stand is one of my favorite things on the table! The texture is just so beautiful!
Oh and these S'mores pops turned out super yummy! I'm usually not a huge marshmallow eater but these are my exception!
As soon as everything was on the table my girls had to make themselves a mug of hot cocoa. They just couldn't resist:). 
I don't know what it is about sprinkles, but my girls go absolutely wild for them! 
Something I like to do before our parties is spritz Febreze in our living rooms & in the foyer, I'm a little obsessed with this Cranberry Cheer variety. 
Here's what I used for our Caramel Smore's Pops
 Push a marshmallow onto each lollipop stick. Then, place Caramel squares, butter & sweetened condensed milk in a bowl & microwave for 2-3 minutes{stirring after each minute}.
  1. Add chocolate chips to a bowl and heat in 30 second increments {stirring after every 30 seconds}. Repeat until chocolate is melted. 
  2. Oh & If you have little "helpers" making this with you, I highly recommend having paper towels on hand! This is a super sticky recipe!
Once the caramel & chocolate are melted you are ready to dip! Start by dipping your marshmallow in the caramel first{rotating the pop afterwards to remove excess}.
Then you'll dip the pop in the chocolate{rotating it afterwards to remove excess} . 
The girls thought these looked too delicious & decided they would sample their work at this point...but press on they get yummier with the graham crackers!
Dip the pops in the crackers & let them dry{for about ten minutes}. Then you're ready to enjoy!
 S'mores Pops Recipe

You Will Need
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 20 marshmallows
  • 7 graham crackers, crushed
  • 25 Caramel squares 
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 20 lollipop sticks or skewers
  • wax paper or silicone baking sheet{to dry pops}
  1. Lay out your baking mat/wax paper.
  2. Push 1 marshmallow onto each lollipop stick. Place Caramel squares, butter & sweetened condensed milk in a bowl & microwave for 2-3 minutes{stirring after each minute}.
  3. Add chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments. After 30 seconds, remove the bowl and stir the chocolate chips. Place the bowl back into the microwave for another 30 seconds and stir again. Repeat until chocolate is melted.
  4. Dip each marshmallow into the caramel then set aside to dry then dip in the chocolate. Make sure to roll the pop to get the excess candy off. 
  5. Lastly you will dip the pops in the crushed crackers. Set on your wax paper & let them harden {about ten minutes}. And that's it! Super easy right?
Now... throw everything in your dishwasher & enjoy your treats;)!
What do you like to stock up on before hosting?