These marshmallow-surprise hot cocoa cookies start with a soft and chewy chocolate cookie made even richer from a helping of hot cocoa mix. Topped with a gooey marshmallow smothered in melted chocolate, they’re like a marshmallow-filled hot chocolate bomb, in cookie form!
My children love those hot chocolate bombs you see in the grocery stores around the holidays, a melt-away chocolate shell filled with marshmallows and hot cocoa mix, which transforms a mug of hot milk into sweet hot chocolate with marshmallows before their eyes. Because is there really anything more delightful than a surprise-inside chocolatey treat?
Today’s cookies are like the chewable equivalent of that experience. Now you can have your hot chocolate… and eat it, too!
Why You’ll Love These Cookies:
- Hot cocoa flavor in the extra chewy cookies
- Rich and chocolatey in every bite
- Cookies stay soft for days
- Gooey marshmallow hidden under a layer of melted chocolate
- Like the cookie equivalent of a mug of hot cocoa, or a hot chocolate bomb!
There are a few different parts to these fun cookies, so let me break it down first:
- Make the cookie dough and chill.
- Shape and bake the cookies.
- Place half a marshmallow on each cookie and return to the oven for 2 minutes.
- Melt chocolate and spoon over the marshmallow.
Start With the Hot Cocoa Cookie Dough
Have you ever used hot cocoa powder in cookie dough? I have a recipe in my book, Sally’s Cookie Addiction, for hot cocoa cookies. Today’s recipe isn’t quite the same, because I wanted to create an almost brownie-like cookie. The dough is similar to what I use when I make these Andes mint chocolate cookies, and overall, is pretty similar to my chocolate crinkle cookies, too.
Here’s what you need:
Unsweetened natural cocoa powder is ideal and if you’re interested in learning more, here’s my page all about Dutch-Process vs Natural Cocoa Powder. Cocoa is a very drying ingredient, so don’t leave out the 2 teaspoons of milk in the recipe. Any milk, dairy or nondairy, is fine.
For the hot cocoa mix: You can use pretty much any kind, but take a lesson from me and avoid the kind with mini marshmallows in the mix. Make sure you’re using the dry mix, and not liquid hot cocoa; the mix acts as a dry ingredient in the dough.
Success Tip: Chill The Cookie Dough
I’m a broken record again today repeating that you must chill this cookie dough for at least 2 hours (and up to 3 days). Make the dough, place it in the refrigerator, and go about your day. Or if you’re whipping up a few different kinds of cookies for your holiday platters, use the time to make a no-chill recipe like shortbread cookies or spritz cookies.
The dough is pretty sticky right after it comes together. After refrigerating, though, the dough firms up and is much easier to handle and shape.
Roll the dough into balls. Each dough ball should be a heaping Tablespoon of dough, about 25-26g. Arrange on lined baking sheets:
Add the Marshmallow
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, then remove them from the oven and lightly press half a marshmallow into the top of each cookie. (Tip: Using kitchen shears is the easiest way to cut sticky marshmallows in half.)
Return the cookies to the oven for another 2 minutes, just enough time to slightly melt the marshmallow. When you remove the marshmallow-topped cookies from the oven, lightly press the tops of the marshmallows down with the back of a spoon to flatten them out a bit.
While the cookies cool, melt the chocolate for topping. For melting chocolate, I always recommend using pure chocolate baking bars, typically found in the baking aisle in 4-ounce (113g) bars, such as Ghirardelli or Baker’s brands. You can use semi-sweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate. I don’t recommend using chocolate chips because they contain stabilizers, which prevent them from melting into the correct consistency. (Save them for a batch of chocolate chip cookies!)
Spoon the melted chocolate over the tops of the cookies, to cover the marshmallows. The melted chocolate will set in about 30-60 minutes, and then you can stack, store, and transport them.
If you really want to go overboard with dessert (don’t we all?), serve the cookies with homemade slow cooker hot chocolate. Cheers!
P.S. You can do the same exact thing (marshmallow and chocolate topping) on these peanut butter cookies for a peanut butter s’mores-style cookie.
Sally’s Cookie Palooza
This recipe is part of my annual cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. It’s the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Browse dozens of cookie recipes over on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page including:
- Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
- Vanilla Bean Biscotti
- Mint Chocolate Brownies
- Stained Glass Window Cookies
- Gingerbread House Recipe (with template)
and here’s my video tutorial & guide for how to freeze cookie dough.
These marshmallow-surprise hot cocoa cookies start with a soft chocolate cookie made even richer from a helping of hot cocoa mix. Be sure to use dry hot cocoa powder, and not a liquid beverage. Top with a marshmallow and melted chocolate. Don’t forget to refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 2 hours.
- 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp; 113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1/3 cup (27g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup (40g) dry hot cocoa mix
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) milk (any kind, dairy or nondairy, is fine)
- 10–11 large marshmallows, cut in half
- 8 ounces (226g) semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (see Note)
- In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color, about 2–3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and then beat on high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, hot cocoa mix, baking soda, and salt together until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Beat on low until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Finally, beat in the milk. The cookie dough will be thick and sticky.
- Cover dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is imperative for this sticky cookie dough.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. Scoop and roll dough, a heaping 1 Tablespoon (about 25-26g) each, into balls. Arrange 2–3 inches apart on the baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies for just 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and lightly press a marshmallow half into the tops of each cookie. Return them to the oven and bake for 2 more minutes. Remove from the oven and, using the back of a spoon, gently press down on the marshmallow to slightly flatten it out.
- Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, and then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Melt the chocolate: You can melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave. If using the microwave, place the chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Microwave for 20-second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Spoon melted chocolate over each cooled marshmallow-topped cookie. (When covering with melted chocolate, I usually put the cookies back on a baking sheet, or you can just keep them on the wire rack.) Chocolate sets at room temperature in 30-60 minutes. Once chocolate has set, you can stack, store, transport, and gift the cookies.
- Cover leftover cookies tightly and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (step 3). Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Read my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough. Baked and cooled cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature. Keep in mind that after thawing, the chocolate may look streaky on top, or have condensation on the surface. Still fine to eat!
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Glass Mixing Bowl | Whisk | Baking Sheets | Silicone Baking Mats or Parchment Sheets | Kitchen Shears | Cooling Rack | Double Boiler (optional for melting chocolate)
- Larger Batch: The recipe is easy to double in 1 mixing bowl without overwhelming your mixer. Simply double all of the cookie dough ingredients. Extend the cookie dough chilling time to at least 3 hours.
- Natural Cocoa Powder: Do you know the difference between natural cocoa powder and dutch-process cocoa powder? Use natural cocoa powder in this dough. Unsweetened cocoa powder weighs less than dry hot cocoa mix, so that is why you see the weights so different.
- Hot Cocoa Mix: Be sure to use the dry hot cocoa mix, and not liquid hot cocoa. 1/4 cup (about 40g) is usually 1 standard packet. I usually use milk chocolate, but any kind works. Avoid the hot cocoa mix that has the little marshmallows in it. If you do not have hot cocoa mix, skip it entirely and increase the cocoa powder to 1/2 cup (45g).
- Chocolate: The best chocolate for melting and drizzling is the “baking chocolate” bars found in the baking aisle of the grocery store. I typically use Baker’s or Ghirardelli brands, either semi-sweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate if you can find it. They are usually sold as 4-ounce bars, so you’ll need 2 for this recipe. Do not use chocolate chips because they contain stabilizers, which prevent them from melting into the correct consistency.
- Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.
Keywords: marshmallow hot cocoa cookies