Christmas this year was extra special to my little family for a couple of reasons. First, it was basically our one year anniversary in our new house. The previous Christmas we had moved in only a couple days before and so we were only able to accomplish minimal decorations and a small Christmas breakfast. This year was the complete opposite. The house was filled with decorations (actually, still is), a giant tree and the smell of fresh bread and Christmas cookies. I even had time to make a dried orange garland – more on that in another post. Not only was our house filled with Christmas spirit, but our hearts were as well as we were able to host not only my family but my husbands family as well. Christmas Eve was dinner with my in-laws, their other children, their children’s children and a couple other in-laws of the in-laws (phew!) that tagged along. I cooked a big prime rib dinner per my husbands request and let the festivities begin. Since I knew children would be present, I wanted to make a special after-dinner drink for them (and the kids at heart).
The easiest and most universal option to me was hot chocolate, but I didn’t want to do hot chocolate packets with water as I thought that might be messier than I was prepared for and probably not as delicious. I went to the internet for answers (as I typically do) and found inspiration from a few slow cooker hot chocolate recipes. It ended up being perfect! It was just the right amount, I was able to place it on the counter without it taking up too much space or taking room on the stove, people could serve themselves (or their kiddos) and I was able to lay out toppings in bowls for those who were feeling extra festive. Toppings included whipped cream, crushed peppermint, marshmallows, Pirouettes and an assortment of Christmas cookies (some of THE best Christmas cookies I might add). All in all it ended up being the perfect solution and was a great way to include the kids without too much hassle.
Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 cups of whole milk
1 11.5oz bag Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips
+ All the toppings
Mix all items together in your slow cooker on low. Let sit until chips are thoroughly melted into the liquids, stirring frequently. You can also cook on high if you want this done faster, but make sure to watch it and stir often so the chips don’t get too hot and melt and stick to the bottom of the bowl.
(Also, I thought I should mention, most recipes for this include a tsp of vanilla be added, however I thought this was sweet enough already. Vanilla may be a good choice if you are using semi-sweet chips instead?)
Serve with a ladle and the top with whatever suits your taste.
What are your favorite drinks to serve at parties or family functions? Do you do kid-friendly as well as adult drinks? Let me know below