These hot cocoa cookies are made with a rich and chocolatey cookie stuffed with toasted marshmallow and topped with chocolate and sprinkles. They're a festive Christmas cookie that can be made gluten free.
When the weather turns and the holidays are approaching, it only seems right to turn up the oven and make a batch of cookies! These hot cocoa cookie cups are such a fun recipe to make, especially with kids, because the marshmallows puff up and you can decorate them with fudge and sprinkles.
What does cocoa do in cookies?
Cocoa powder used in cookies gives them a deep, rich chocolate flavor. You reduce the amount of flour you'd typically use because the cocoa powder replaces the need for that flour.
Chocolate is also acidic and works great with recipes using baking soda because baking soda needs acid to activate and rise. It's what makes your cookies tall and puffy!
What kind of marshmallows should you use?
I tested this recipe with mini marshmallows and jumbo marshmallows and both work well! In my opinion, the jumbo marshmallows yield a more effective result in terms of looks (they both taste the same:)). I opted for a vegan marshmallow!
- All purpose flour (I also tested this with 1:1 gluten free flour that has xanthum gum in it—I used Bob's Red Mill)
- Cocoa powder
- Baking soda
- Unsalted butter (could also use your vegan butter)
- granulated sugar
- light brown sugar
- milk (or almond milk)
- Jumbo marshmallows
- powdered sugar
How to make hot cocoa cookies from scratch:
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside then cream the butter and sugar together with a stand mixer on high for 3 minutes.
- Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat until combined. Add half of the dry ingredients, mix on low to incorporate then add the rest and mix again until completely combined and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be a little wet.
- Use a heaping teaspoon to shape the dough in one inch balls and place them in a greased mini muffin tin. Because the dough is wet you'll get some dough stuck to your fingers and hands. Coat your hands in a little cocoa powder to help this.
- Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes until the cookies puff up and set. Remove the cookies from the oven and use the back of a teaspoon to press a whole into the center of each cookie.
- Place one half of a large marshmallow cut side down inside the hole of the cookie. Switch the oven to broil and place the cookies back in the oven until the marshmallows are puffy and golden brown on the top, about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Whisk the icing ingredients together, drizzle on top of the cookies and top with sprinkles.
Why don't you need to chill the dough?
Typically cookie dough is chilled so that it holds its shape better while it's cooking. Because these hot cocoa cookies are baked inside a mini muffin tin, we don't have to worry about them overspreading!
Make ahead tips:
Fridge: Follow the directions to make the dough then wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to 3 days before rolling and baking. You could also roll into balls then chill.
Freezer: Roll the dough into balls and place on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15-20 minutes until the dough is frozen then transfer the dough balls to a plastic bag or air tight container. Bake from frozen, just add an extra minute or two of cookie time.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, don't forget to leave a star review and comment! I'd also love if you followed along on Instagram and tagged me so I can see what you make!
More chocolate Christmas cookies:
- Gluten free (flourless) chocolate crinkle cookies
- No bake chocolate oatmeal cookies
- Chocolate Andes mint cookies
- Gluten free peanut butter blossoms
Hot cocoa cookies [gluten free option]
For the cookies:
- 1 cup all purpose flour (use 1:1 gluten free flour with xanthum gum for gluten free option, like Bob's Red Mill 1:1 baking flour)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (could use vegan butter)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar packed
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 14 jumbo marshmallows cut in half (28 total)
For the chocolate topping:
- 1 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (or vegan butter)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Christmas sprinkles to top
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease one 24-count mini muffin tin (or 2 12-count mini muffin tins) with non stick spray and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- In a large bowl with a stand mixer or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat until combined. Turn the mixer on low and add half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat slowly until flour is partially incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until flour is completely incorporated. Add the remaining flour and repeat the process until dough is completely combined and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. It will be slightly wet and sticky.
- Use a heaping teaspoon to shape the dough in one inch balls and place one in each muffin cup. The dough will be a little wet and may get on your fingers and hands as you're rolling. You can put a little cocoa powder on your fingers and hands to prevent this. Bake the dough in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies puff up and set.
- When the time is up, remove the cookies from the oven and immediately use the back of a teaspoon to press a whole into the center of each cookie.
- Switch the oven to broil then place half of the large marshmallow cut side down inside the hole of the cookies. Broil the cookies on high for 1-3 minutes until the marshmallows are puffy and golden brown on the top. Keep an eye on them the whole time because they can burn quickly. The marshmallows will puff really high, but will come back down once they’re removed from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While they’re cooling, make the chocolate ganache. Place a piece of parchment paper under the cooling rack with the cookies to catch any extra chocolate ganache that drips off. Mix all of the chocolate topping ingredients together in a medium bowl. Working quickly, use a spoon to partially cover the tops of the cookies with ganache and top with assorted sprinkles.