Contributed Photo by Christie Johnson / Using a 20-inch by 20-inch cutting board, Christie Johnson covered its surface with a variety of marshmallows and cups she already had on hand to hold coconut, mint chocolate pieces, whipped cream, peppermint and toffee shavings. Guests could choose their favorites to customize their cocoa.

The latest food trend taking over social media is so simple you'll wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Hot chocolate boards, also called hot chocolate charcuterie boards, are a build-your-own cup of hot chocolate display. Instead of a board filled with layers of savory meats and cheeses, hot chocolate boards are covered with everything you need to customize your cocoa. They are as festive to view as they are tempting to sample.

"I follow Reluctant Entertainer on Instagram, and that's where I saw them," says Christie Johnson, director of advancement at Silverdale Baptist Academy.

She tried her hand at creating one in November for a school event during which administrators got a sneak peek at the new Silverdale Center arts building. Starting with a 20-inch by 20-inch cutting board, she incorporated small cups to hold chopped pieces of chocolate mint, coconut, peppermint shavings, toffee shavings, whipped cream and Pepperidge Farm Pirouette wafers. She covered the board's surface between cups with large and small marshmallows.

With the success of that hot chocolate board, she branched out into two other customized boards. One was a pancake board for her daughter and roommate during exam week at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga that held a cup of butter, small pitcher of syrup and a variety of fruit. The other was a football game-day board that offered pepperoni, bite-size sausages, dips, grapes and other finger foods.

"I love events, and since we can't have people over now, this is my outlet," she says of her creative displays.

The boards are inexpensive to create since they utilize containers found in most kitchens: a cutting board or platter, ramekins, mugs, Mason jars, small bowls and cups to hold ingredients, leaving it up to you as to how much money you want to invest in the board's contents.

If you're staying in New Year's Eve, bring the party home with a festive hot chocolate board. Here are some suggestions for mix-ins, cocoa toppers, swizzle sticks, candies and more that all go by the board. Add some small cookies or doughnuts for dunking, and you're set.



* Crushed peppermint pieces

* Whipped cream

* Large or small marshmallows

* Coconut

* Hershey bar pieces

* Bite-size chocolate candies

* Bite-size caramels

* Crushed mint chocolate pieces (such as Andes Creme de Menthe)

* Meringue drops

* Caramel syrup

* Colorful Sprinkles

* Chocolate candy Kisses

* Peppermint bark



* Peppermint sticks

* Candy canes

* Chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks of varying sizes

* Cinnamon sticks

* Biscotti

* Rock candy sticks

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