Fact: I have to see fireworks at least once a year.
This year, I’ve been building with anticipation all year long because I missed fireworks on the Fourth of July (no one was in a state to drive….). My chance finally came last Friday for the great Newport News tradition – HOLLYDAZZLE! It’s our official kickoff to the season with lots of festive activities for kids, performances, and a fireworks show set to the tune of Christmas music. It’s glorious, except for the fact that an estimated 29,999 other people attend. Yes, a total of 30,000 people.
Fact: I’m not a crowd person.
Lucky for me, I live right next to the fireworks show! This year, I decided to open up my apartment to friends who wanted to warm up (it ended up being pretty warm) and grab a drink.
So, in honor of the Christmas spirit, I created a hot chocolate bar!
I started by downloading some festive fonts to create labels for all of the ingredients and toppings. I used a great crockpot recipe I found off Pinterest (http://www.mrshappyhomemaker.com/2010/12/creamy-crockpot-hot-cocoa-best-ever/). We made five stations – Pour It, Spike It, Fill It, Stir It, and Top It.
One of my favorite preparations was making these chocolate spoons, and they were so easy! I double boiled milk chocolate chips (which was much simpler than I imagined). I don’t own a double boiler, so I just added a ceramic bowl on top of my pot of water – worked just fine. Then I dunked the plastic spoons in the melted chocolate, set it on greased aluminum paper (gotta be extra safe!), and sprinkled either peppermint or chocolate chips on top! People loved them and they went great with the hot chocolate.
We accompanied the hot chocolate bar with Ho-Ho Punch (champagne, ginger ale, frozen strawberries), which was a big hit, and some snacks. We offered chips and dip, mint brownies, homemade chex mix (from Jen’s mom!), a Very Cherry Cheeseball (from Tastefully Simple).
We had about 35 people stop by! Our guests really loved the hot chocolate and the ability to create your own little concoction. We drank it all! The craziest recipe? Hot chocolate, fireball, cayenne pepper, and jalepeno wine (there’s a reason I didn’t set that out as an ingredient….). Disgusting, needless to say.
The greatest part? All we had to do was walk downstairs, stand about 20 feet back from the 30,000 person crowd, and watch the fireworks.