You’ve made your hot chocolate (maybe even from one of our recipes) and now you’re ready to make it truly amazing. Here are some ideas for Hot Chocolate toppings, flavorings & dustings.
Marshmallow Hot Chocolate Toppings
The best hot chocolate toppings are marshmallows piled sky-high. They can come in flavors to enhance your chocolate, and in shapes or sculptures for even more fun.
Check your local grocers during hot chocolate season to find all sorts of different shaped marshmallows.
Cute polar bear head marshmallow sculpture floating above mound of small marshmallows in hot chocolate mug. (Heat marshmallow or use touch of canned frosting as glue to make them stick together.)
Find or create cute bunny, Easter egg and chick marshmallow sculptures for your Easter hot chocolate.
Show the love on Valentine’s Day or any day with heart shaped marshmallows, either purchased that shape or cut with cookie cutters.
Snowman made of marshmallows with pretzel arms & legs. (Use pretzels to fasten marshmallows together.) Smiling face and buttons made using an edible ink pen.
We just have to show you this fun gingerbread man in a hot chocolate hot tub!
Requires a small mug so cookie doesn’t sink to the bottom, and teeny marshmallows as hot tub bubbles.
Don’t stop at the smiling snowman face for your hot chocolate marshmallow – especially for Halloween!
Of course you want a hot chocolate after trick or treating on Halloween. It’s chilly out there! Add a ghost shaped marshmallow with eyes and mouth drawn on with edible ink pen.
Create monster marshmallows with homemade marshmallow recipe (see America’s Test Kitchen YouTube video.)
Don’t want to risk ruining your marshmallow sculpture in the hot chocolate?
Put them on bamboo skewers to float above a pile of regular marshmallows.
Want teeny tiny marshmallows in your hot chocolate or on your ice cream?
Shake Mallow Bits on, or use the little scoop so you know its only 20 calories.
How to toast marshmallows at home: put marshmallows on baking sheet, broil in oven until browned (a few seconds), remove from oven and turn with tongs, then broil on the other side until golden brown.
Different Flavors of Marshmallows
Specially flavored marshmallows aren’t just to add flavor, they can create a whole experience like this rainbow unicorn hot chocolate. (Must have cone-shaped marshmallows for the horn.) Don’t have a mug with eyes? Draw them on!
Square marshmallows in amazing flavors: pumpkin pie, cinnamon churro, root beer float, cookie dough, strawberries & cream, mint chocolate chip, toasted vanilla, dark chocolate, raspberry.
Spice Up Your Hot Chocolate with Added Flavorings
Put ice cream on top of your hot chocolate:
- mint chocolate chip
- Oreo or chocolate bar flavors
Top with whipped cream and your favorite toppings & it’s almost a dessert!
Above: hot chocolate with chocolate ice cream, topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips, rimmed with chocolate sauce & sprinkles, and a wafer cookie stick.
Here are some of the favorite hot chocolate recipes for when you want to go beyond the usual.
Here are more that we love:
Salted Peanut Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe
Add 3 Tbsp caramel sauce to hot chocolate when making, then top whipped cream with salted peanuts and caramel sauce.
Hot Chocolate Toppings & Dustings
Besides marshmallows, there are many toppings for hot chocolate:
- whipped cream
- chocolate or caramel sauce
- cookie crumbles (gingerbread, shortbread, oreo, sugar cookie)
- chocolate shavings or chips (white chocolate too)
- sprinkles & candy shapes
- dusting with cocoa
- maple syrup
Marshmallows aren’t the only favorite topping. Whipped cream comes next, whether you use the easy spray-on whipped cream or make your own. See our easy recipe. (To get mountains like this, you need to apply it using a special tip on a whipped cream dispenser.)
Using a grater on the slice blade, grate enough chocolate curls for the hot chocolate you’ll be serving. If you use the larger slice blade, the chocolate lasts longer directly on top of the hot chocolate.
One year for christmas, a friend gave me a hot chocolate gift set that included a teeny tiny grater & whisk. During hot chocolate season I set it out on a platter with a bar of chocolate to grate and a glass with cinnamon sticks with K cup hot chocolate pods.
You can also use a paring knife or vegetable peeler. All 3 methods demonstrated in this video.
Add Christmas cheer to your hot chocolate by stenciling a design on top with cocoa powder.
Use or cut a stencil in a shape that matches your mood or party theme.
Place the stencil over your cocoa mug and shake a little cocoa powder over it until the shape is filled in.
Voila! You now have a gourmet hot chocolate.
A dusting of cocoa or hot chocolate mix adds to the fun of the moment.
Dustings aren’t just for designs or appearance, like with cocoa. Dusting with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, can add flavor to every sip.
Hot chocolate is perfect for latte art – you’re pouring hot milk into the mug anyway! Use the same technique as with a latte to make the tulip, rosetta, swan, flowers and more. (Follow the pro who knows, Barista Kim on YouTube, to see how to create the flower above and more.)
Garnishes & Rimming
Create a signature hot chocolate not with just the flavorings, but with the toppings and garnishes too.
Garnishes are added on top of the whipped cream or marshmallows, on wooden sticks to stay above, or hanging off the rim of the cup to keep them from getting soggy or flavoring the hot chocolate itself.
Match your party theme like this gingerbread man cookie hanging off the side.
Find a chocolate shape that matches the theme of your party or holiday to garnish your hot chocolate, like this chocolate Easter bunny & eggs on the marshmallows. So cute!
Garish with a cookie that matches your party theme or the season.
- Hang cookie off the rim of the mug.
- Insert them in the whipped cream topping.
- Put them on wooden sticks to hang above the marshmallows.
Bake sugar cookies – or a cookie with a complementary flavor – with a slot so they can hang on the side of the mug.
Examples here are stars and hearts, but you can make whatever cookie shape matches your party theme.
Sometimes less is more! Candy eyes floating on the top of hot chocolate makes a spooky Halloween beverage.
Crushed candy cane adds flavor and holiday spirit to hot chocolate.
Other Favorite Snacks
Garnish a hot chocolate with a special treat like this caramel popcorn to create a signature hot chocolate recipe.
The saltiness of pretzels lends itself to hot chocolate, especially with caramel sauce. Put them on top of the marshmallows or whipped cream so they retain their crunch.
How you drizzle is as important as what you drizzle. These marshmallows with plaid drizzle add a unique appearance to the hot chocolate. Can how you drizzle add to your party theme?
Rimming the Glass
Add a special touch to your signature hot chocolate recipe by rimming the glass just like a cocktail.
To rim with chocolate, caramel, or candy sauce:
- In a saucer that’s slightly bigger than the circumference of the mouth of your mug, pour sauce. Turn your mug upside down so the mouth of the mug dips into the sauce. Lift straight out. (The deeper to sauce in the dish, more is retained on the glass.)
- If you want to add a texture, sprinkle cookie crumbs, candy sprinkless or fine nut pieces on the sauce on the side of the mug. (Try not to get it inside the mug as this will change the flavor & texture of the hot chocolate itself, and is very difficult to get out of the glass.)
To rim with sugar or sprinkle:
- Pour the sugar or sprinkles in a saucer.
- Insert an orange wedge on the rim of the glass and turn all the way around.
- While rim is still wet, turn glass upside down so mouth is dipped into the saucer.
- Lift straight up and let dry before pouring hot chocolate – without touching rim of glass.
- cinnamon sticks
- wafer cookie straw
- licorice sticks
- candy cane or peppermint stick
Candy canes aren’t just for Christmas hot chocolate! Put 2 together into a heart for Valentine’s Day hot chocolate – with heart shaped marshmallows, of course.
How to Make Pink Hot Chocolate
Melt 1/2 c white chocolate chips, add strawberry ice cream syrup until shade of pink you desire, then add milk and heat as usual. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles, or you usual hot chocolate toppings.
Want more? See all of our hot chocolate recipes & ideas.
Want even more? See our new hot chocolate recipes & ideas.
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