These brownie-like hot cocoa cookies are made with plenty of cocoa and are topped with a spoonful of chocolate and mini marshmallows just like a cup of hot chocolate. These cookies scream cozy!
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Here is is. The last day of 2023. I've always loved the anticipation of the new year. The fresh start, the reinvention, the looking back to look forward piece. 2023 was a rough one. A piece of me is ready to say goodbye to this year and to fully embrace 2024 and all of its possibilities. My best friend Gwen's death earlier this month has changed me forever in ways I don't quite know yet -- but I know the past several months have been the kind of experience that must.
There's something heart-wrenchingly raw and real to be there with your best friend in her final moments. Maybe once the extreme sadness passes, I'll recognize the ways I've been stretched and forced to grow.
These hot cocoa cookies were made during our Cookie Palooza. Gwen and her stepdaughter would come over and we'd bake our hearts out. I'm thankful Gwen's husband kept the tradition going by coming over. I'm thankful the kids were so eager to see one another that they pushed to make it happen.
Typically we'd scheme over what cookies we'd make. Sugar cookies, gingerbread, and classic peanut butter blossoms were always a given. One of Gwen's favorites were the lemon crinkle cookies, so that cookie typically made its way on the roster. This left about 1 or 2 new cookies to be added and deleted each year, and this year I chose these cocoa cookies. What Santa doesn't love a hot cocoa cookie with a big glass of milk?
I'm thankful we were able to keep the tradition alive. I know that made Gwen smile.
Why This Recipe is Bomb
- Tastes like a hug. Each hot cocoa cookie is soft and chewy with a hardened chocolate top with a bite of marshmallow every time. How can you resist?!
- Excellent to make with kids. The kids love helping me measure everything, melting the chocolate, topping with marshmallows, and, of course, eating the cookies.
- Tailor toppings to your liking. I've included dehydrated mini marshmallows on these cookies, but you could easily use crumbled peppermints or gold sprinkles to make it a more themed-cookie.
Ingredients you Need
To make these hot cocoa cookies, you need the following ingredients:
- all-purpose flour
- Dutch-processed cocoa powder - if you don't have Dutch-processed cocoa powder, that's okay. I just find it creates a deeper chocolate flavor than regular cocoa. The cookies will still be delicious with your standard cocoa powder though.
- baking powder
- unsalted butter
- semi-sweet chocolate chips - feel free to use a different kind of chocolate if you'd prefer.
- light brown sugar
- pure vanilla extract - the real stuff is the best stuff.
- coconut oil - this is to mix with the chocolate chips to create a shiny, beautiful puddle of chocolate on top of the cookie. You can substitute canola oil in place of coconut oil.
- dehydrated mini marshmallows - or you could use crumbled candy cane or your choice of sprinkles
Where to Find Dehydrated Mini Marshmallows
You can find mini dehydrated marshmallows at Target or a grocery store and typically easiest to find around the holidays in November and December. Freeze-dried marshmallows can typically be found next to the regular marshmallows or where the hot chocolate is found.
Ordering dehydrated marshmallows online is the sure bet though. Mini marshmallows on Amazon are not too expensive!
How to Make Hot Cocoa Cookies
First, in another large microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and butter in the microwave in 30 second increments until completely melted. You want to heat the chocolate just enough to melt it not to be scalding hot.
First, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Then, whisk together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Cover the dough and let the hot cocoa dough chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
Use a cookie scoop to make tablespoon-sized round balls of dough and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet at least 2" apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cookies are crackly on top.
How To Make the Chocolate Topping
While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together in the microwave. Pour a dollop of chocolate sauce over the top of each cookie once the cookies are cool. Sprinkle dehydrated marshmallows on top or whatever topping you prefer. Yum!
How to Store
To Store: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They'll stay fresh for 3-4 days.
To Freeze: These cookies can be frozen after you bake them or the dough can be frozen. If freezing the dough, freeze the balls of dough in freezer-safe plastic bag until ready to use. Defrost in refrigerator overnight before baking.
Hot Cocoa Cookie Variations
- Try a different topping. Crushed candy canes would add a holiday crunch. Chopped pecans would add a nutty flavor. These cookies would also be beautiful with gold sprinkles to celebrate the new year!
- Leave off the topping. These cookies are delicious naked as well.
- Add regular mini marshmallows (not dehydrated ones) into the dough so the marshmallows bake into the cookie.
Frequently Asked Questions
You want to make as neat of a ball as possible. It's easiest when the dough is chilled but not too cold that it's not pliable.
I like to use a biscuit cutter or a round glass to put over the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. I give the glass a little swirl, which bounces the cookie back and forth around the rim of the glass cleaning up any jagged edges.
Be careful to note over-bake. Check them after about 12 minutes. If the top if crackly, take them out.
Your dough may not have been chilled enough. They will still taste delicious, but the hot cocoa cookie dough should be cold before rolling them into balls.
Other Chocolate Recipes You'll Love
Here's to more baking and making memories in 2024!
Hot Cocoa Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter 1 stick
- 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the topping
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- Place the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe safe bowl, and microwave in 30 second intervals. Heat until chocolate is just melted. You don't want the butter to be too hot. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer or paddle attachment on stand mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed until smooth. Mix in the cooled chocolate mixture. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Coverage the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour*.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Form a tablespoon-sized ball of the dough with a cookie scoop and drop them 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes until the cookies have a crackle on top.
- While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave. Dollop a spoonful of chocolate on top of each cookie and sprinkle dehydrated marshmallows on top. Allow the cookie to set for at least 15 minutes before eating!