Hot Chocolate Cookies

5 Min Read

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).

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

  1. Cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract until combined.
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually add them to the wet ingredients until the dough is uniform.
  4. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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