December 13 is recognized by many as National Cocoa Day, coming at a perfect time during the cold weather of the season. This warm beverage is a beloved treat for many, going back to colonial times in America. According to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, it was a common beverage even before the Revolution.
While a simple hot chocolate will suffice in most cases, there are foodservice establishments looking to build on the flavor in creative and tasty ways.
Dominique Ansel Bakery, one of the most famous names in the baking industry, introduced its Blossoming Hot Chocolate last year. This beverage, from the man dubbed ““The Willy Wonka of NYC,” includes a flowering marshmallow held together by a chocolate ring. When placed atop the hot chocolate, the ring melts and the marshmallow “blossoms” for a gorgeous surprise.
Brooklyn bakery Rubyzaar Baked is famous for its cookies based on famous musicians, albums, and songs. Around this time of year, it has gained a reputation for its thick gourmet hot chocolate resembling a s’more. The Liquid S'more-gasburg features a layer of melted marshmallow and sticks of graham crackers.
The flavor is not limited to beverages though, as it is used by many bakeries in its desserts. Cupcake specialist Baked by Melissa recommends pairing a hot cocoa with its bite-sized Hot Cocoa Cupcakes. These little delights feature hot cocoa-stuffed chocolate cake, hot cocoa icing, and a marshmallow topping.