Seattle's Child

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hot chocolate hot cocoa

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Make a decadent hot cocoa bar to end this unprecedented year

Up your snow-day refreshment with these mix-ins and toppings.

hot cocoa happy kid 12/14/20

A tired, happy boy gets ready for hot chocolate at Rendezvous Cafe at Whistler-Blackcomb. (Photo by Jillian O’Connor)

Editor’s note: Written for the 2020 holidays but pertinent on our first 2021 snow day!

My younger son’s favorite hot chocolate ever came from a small coffee stand on top of a mountain in Canada. 

He had so many reasons to be delighted. Not only was he getting a break from “being forced to ski,” but he also got to enjoy a way over-the-top beverage.

One that was so extreme that his mom just had to photograph it. Piled high with marshmallows and whipped cream, and topped off with chocolate sauce, too. 

Since most Americans aren’t being let into Canada at all currently, even for non-frivolous reasons, it’s really unlikely they’ll let us back for a cup of cocoa this winter. So, inspired by that magical concoction, and combining it with a standout cocoa feature from the Muddy Waters Coffee Company stand in Ravenna (whipped cream with rainbow sprinkles!), we’re going to create the ultimate decadent hot chocolate. 

We recommend everyone else try building a hot cocoa bar, too. Because COVID-19. And it’s only 2020 once. It’s guaranteed that kids will have a blast mixing and matching what they want to put in their extra-special hot chocolate. 

First: The cocoa. 

You can start with an envelope mix, but make sure you use heated milk, not hot water. Hershey’s cocoa powder has a good recipe, too (“Perfectly Chocolate” Hot Cocoa),  which is written on most Hershey’s cocoa powder boxes. 

Second: Build the hot cocoa bar. 

What you’ll need to set out:

Mini marshmallows

Whipped cream

Chocolate syrup

Rainbow sprinkles

And if you want to go way overboard (and I recommend this), add:

Graham cracker crumbs

Caramel topping

Chocolate sprinkles 

Crushed peppermints or mint extract

Whole candy canes for stirring

Crushed Oreos 

Shredded coconut

Marshmallow Fluff (or Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme, or equivalent)

Cocoa powder or cinnamon to dust on top

Sparkly rainbow-colored sugar

Bon appétit!
(This isn’t just a drink. It’s a meal.)

More food ideas

Try Sadie’s scrumptious jelly doughnuts this Hanukkah

Cooking with kids: apple and peanut butter tarts

About the Author

Jillian O'Connor

Jillian O’Connor is managing editor of the Seattle's Child print magazine. She lives in Seattle with her husband, two sons and a dog named after the Loch Ness Monster.