My adorable hot chocolate cookies start with a fudgy chocolate cookie base and are topped off with squishy marshmallows and even more chocolate. They are fun to make and so decadent! Recipe includes a how-to video!
Adorable Hot Cocoa Cookies
Today’s hot chocolate inspired recipe starts with a dense, fudgy, melt-in-your mouth chocolate cookie borrowed from my wintery chocolate crinkle cookies. It’s the perfect fudgy base our hot chocolate toppings.
4 things to love about these cookies:
- No hot cocoa mix or artificial flavors: just real cocoa, real sugar, and real vanilla–the way hot chocolate should be made!
- Sparkly sugar coating gives a wintery look and keeps the chocolate from being too dark.
- Easy 2-ingredient chocolate ganache is made in the microwave–no need to heat up the stove.
- So unique and festive! I think you’re really going to love them.
What You Need
All of the ingredients in today’s recipe are pantry staples, but let’s go over a few you might have questions about before we get started.
- Cocoa powder. I recommend natural cocoa here for the most authentic flavor, though you could use Dutch process if you prefer. Dutch process cocoa will add a more intense flavor.
- Vanilla. Yes, even though these are hot chocolate cookies, we’re still adding vanilla extract! I do this in my hot chocolate recipe too.
- Sugar. I like using a combination of brown and granulated sugar in my chocolate desserts (like my homemade brownies!) for depth of flavor and moisture. Stick with light brown sugar here, as dark brown could make the cookies too rich.
- Marshmallows. I use regular size marshmallows and cut them in half before pressing them into the baked cookies. If you only have mini marshmallows, those could probably work too, though they may not stick as nicely since you wouldn’t be cutting them. You could also substitute homemade marshmallows or peppermint marshmallows.
- Milk chocolate chips. While I typically don’t make my chocolate ganache with chocolate chips, it works just fine here. I prefer milk chocolate because anything else seemed a bit too dark, and hot chocolate is usually well tempered with milk anyway, so milk just worked best. If you’d prefer to use semisweet or dark chocolate instead, you certainly can.
That’s right–no hot cocoa mix! Scroll down to the FAQ section below for more details on this decision (I didn’t make it lightly).
SAM’S TIP: Don’t add your dry ingredients all at once! Adding them gradually will make combining the dough much easier and will result in a more manageable dough.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Hot Chocolate Cookies
Make the Dough
- Cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract until combined.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually add them to the wet ingredients until the dough is uniform.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill. And the dough does need to chill — for at least 4 hours! Otherwise it’s impossible to work with and will spread too much.
- Roll dough balls between your palms before rolling through granulated sugar. The granulated sugar is optional, but I like the texture. Alternatively leave them plain or roll through powdered sugar (or use the coating that I use on my chocolate snickerdoodles!). Transfer the cookie dough balls to parchment lined baking sheets and bake. The dough can be a little sticky, but it should be entirely manageable.
- Cut your marshmallows in half while the cookies bake (kitchen shears make easy work of this), and when they are done, carefully press half of a marshmallow (cut-side down, this helps it adhere to the cookie and just looks better!) into the center of each cookie. Let the cookies cool on their baking sheets for a few minutes, then (carefully) transfer to a cooling rack so they can cool completely.
- Make the ganache: heat the chocolate and heavy cream in the microwave in 25-second intervals until melted, stirring well in between (alternatively follow my instructions for making ganache on the stovetop). Whisk until smooth, then let cool slightly.
- Spoon chocolate ganache over the cooled cookies and let the ganache firm up a bit before enjoying. Or dive right in, just expect to get your hands dirty.
SAM’S TIP: Coating the marshmallow in ganache keeps it fresh! I like to leave a little bit of the marshmallow peeking through (just so you know it’s under there!), but try to cover most of it so it doesn’t become stale.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you were to replace the cocoa powder here with hot cocoa mix, you would have an entirely too sweet cookie that would not turn out like the ones pictured above. I do not recommend doing this!
Hot cocoa mix is typically made from cocoa powder, sugar, powdered milk, and a whole lot of preservatives and fake flavors. We’re doing (actual) natural flavors here as if you were making a homemade cup of hot cocoa–and it tastes so much better!
Because of the chocolate ganache, you should only store these cookies at room temperature for up to two days. They’ll keep longer in the fridge but don’t taste as good chilled (in my opinion, anyway!).
Yes! I like to let my dough chill overnight, but you can let yours chill for up to 3 or 4 days. You can also freeze this cookie dough; simply follow the instructions for sugar coated cookies in my how-to freeze cookie dough post.
I hope you enjoy these cozy cookies! They’d be the perfect treat to make on a snow day ❄️
Hot Chocolate Cookies
- 12 Tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter softened
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar firmly packed
- 4 large eggs room temperature preferred
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups (313 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (100 g) natural cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar for rolling
- 18 marshmallows cut in half
- 1 cup (170 g) milk chocolate chips
- ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.12 Tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar, ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar
- Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until completely combined.4 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.2 ½ cups (313 g) all-purpose flour, 1 cup (100 g) natural cocoa powder, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, ¾ teaspoon salt
- Gradually add dry ingredients to wet, stirring until completely combined.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (I usually chill mine overnight).
- After the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Scoop dough into 1 ½ Tablespoon-sized balls and roll into a smooth ball with the palms of your hands, then roll through granulated sugar until completely coated. Transfer to a baking sheet, spacing cookies at least 2” apart and bake in center rack of 350F (175C) oven for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, ensure your marshmallows are prepared (cut in half)½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, carefully press half a marshmallow directly into the center of the cookie (sticky side down). Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for several minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before topping with chocolate.18 marshmallows
- Combine chocolate and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 25 seconds, stir well, and heat again for 25 seconds longer, if needed. Whisk well until mixture is completely smooth. Let cool slightly at room temperature.1 cup (170 g) milk chocolate chips, ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
- Drizzle chocolate topping over the tops of the cookies. Allow ganache to set before serving.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.