The Secret to Amazing Hot Chocolate + Hot Cocoa Bar

This post may contain affiliate links.  I receive a portion of purchases made after clicking these links, at no cost to you.  Thanks for supporting TDH!

Is it cold where you are?  I know much of the midwest and northeast has been facing blizzard-like conditions recently.  Don’t hate me, but its been 50-60 degrees here everyday.  Sorry.  But I’ve got something today that will warm you up!hot chocolate pin

One of my favorite things at my son’s Winter Woodland first birthday party was the Hot Cocoa Bar.  I LOVE hot cocoa, and everything that goes with it: melty marshmallows, chocolatey taste, and the warm fuzzies you get while you sip it.

I don’t usually post recipes, but I just have to share my hot cocoa recipe because several people have said it’s the best hot cocoa they’ve ever had – and I have to agree, of course!  LOL.  It’s not so much my recipe, as the Hershey’s recipe plus a “secret” ingredient.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • Dash salt
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 8 cups milk
  • 2 cans evaporated milk – “secret” ingredient
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

This cocoa is so easy to make, especially in the crockpot.  You just have to mix together the cocoa, sugar, salt, and water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until it boils, and then boil 2 minutes.  Be sure to stir constantly so it doesn’t burn.

If you are using a crockpot, go ahead and dump this mixture into the crockpot at this point.  Then stir in the milk, the vanilla and the secret ingredient, evaporated milk!

Next, just turn your crockpot on to medium and let the milk heat up.  Add your toppings and enjoy!  Keep reading to see what toppings I used for the Hot Cocoa Bar.

To make Peppermint Hot Cocoa, go ahead and add a drop of your favorite peppermint CPTG essential oil.  Yummy!  I use dōTerra essentials oils and I love them.  I actually used the peppermint oil for the birthday cake, and it was delicious!  For information on how to order dōTerra essential oils, see my EO page.

For the Hot Cocoa Bar, I draped a soft, brown blanket over our buffet and placed a large crockpot in the center.  I used this Iron Mug Tree I got from Amazon to hold the cups.  Isn’t it cute?
I just got white cups at the dollar store and then printed labels and taped them on.0946

I added some oversized pine cones, birch branches, and some of my DIY flocked greenery and pine cones.  My favorite addition was the little owl with a striped scarf!0953

I created a little toppings stand by turning a distressed metal tray over and added small jars of of toppings: sprinkles, crushed peppermint, chocolate chips, cinnamon, plus whipped cream and marshmallows.0947The crockpot method was awesome for the party because it was super easy, and the cocoa stayed hot for the entire time.  I had some at the beginning and some at the end and it was perfect both times!

So go ahead and whip your family up a pot of this hot cocoa and try to enjoy the freezing cool weather!



  1. says

    This sounds so good! That coffee bar is adorable, and so fun. I am in Wisconsin and it is freezing today. Somewhere in the range of -15. I grew up in San Diego California and with each winter I wonder what I am dong here! This yummy cocoa will warm me up though!
    Emily, Our house now a home recently posted…art supply organizationMy Profile

  2. Lindsey says

    Hi! I love this! Can you tell me how many cups your crock pot hot chocolate makes? I think it might use this recipe for our upcoming winter wonderland party :)

    • says

      Hi there! I have a large crockpot and it holds about 10-12 cups I think. I can only fit one recipe in the pot at a time. So if you think you’ll need more than 8 or so cups, I would make an extra pot to keep warm on the stove. Good luck on your party!