There’s something magical about the winter season, especially when it involves cozying up next to a fireplace with the kids with a hot cup of marshmallow-loaded hot chocolate.
But what’s better than that? A batch of hot chocolate cookies!
As a dad who loves to surprise my kids with rad treats during this time of year, the idea of changing up their favorite winter beverage into a cookie form sparked my imagination.
Imagine the rich, chocolatey goodness of hot cocoa combined with a cookie’s chewy, satisfying texture, all studded with mini marshmallow bits.
It’s not just a cookie; it’s a ‘brrr-illiant’ winter wonderland experience that’ll melt your heart, not your mittens!
Yes… I was up all night crafting that cringe-worthy dad joke!
Anyway, let’s get into it!
- Butter: Use unsalted butter for better control over the cookie’s saltiness. Ensure it’s softened to room temperature for easy creaming.
- Sugar (White): Go with fine granulated sugar to ensure it dissolves evenly into the butter, creating a smooth and consistent texture.
- Brown Sugar: Choose dark brown sugar for a deeper, more caramel-like flavor due to its higher molasses content. It also adds moisture and chewiness to your cookies.
- Eggs: Use fresh, room-temperature eggs for a smoother mix and a more uniform cookie texture.
- Vanilla Extract: Invest in pure vanilla extract for the best flavor. It makes a noticeable difference!
- All-Purpose Flour: Spoon and level your flour when measuring to avoid dense cookies. Too much flour can lead to a tougher texture.
- Hot Cocoa Mix: Choose a quality hot cocoa mix with real chocolate for a decadent, authentic taste. I buy this in bulk and store it in a container.
- Salt: A pinch of sea salt can enhance the chocolate’s flavor and add a sophisticated touch.
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder: Make sure they’re fresh! Old leaveners can result in flat cookies.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: For a gooey melt, go for high-quality chips with a higher cocoa butter content.
- Dehydrated Mini Marshmallow Bits: Look for bits specifically designed for baking; they’ll hold up better in the oven. These are easiest to find online and store in an airtight container for the kids!
- Stand Mixer: A stand mixer ensures a consistent and smooth dough. Use the paddle attachment and start at a lower speed to prevent flour from puffing out for best results.
- Cookie Sheets: I always try to use light-colored or aluminum cookie sheets as they reflect heat, reducing the chances of over-browning the bottoms of your cookies. Avoid overcrowded sheets to allow for even baking.
- Parchment Paper: It prevents sticking without additional grease, and it also makes for an easy cleanup. For a more environmentally friendly option, consider a reusable silicone baking mat.
Rubbermaid Brilliance Containers – The Perfect Baking Partner:
If you’ve been following the blog this year, you know that I LOVE my Rubbermaid Brilliance containers; they’re perfect for storing, cooking, and transporting all my recipe creations.
- Crystal Clear Design: With Rubbermaid’s crystal-clear containers, you’ll easily spot what you need, saving time and hassle. The sleek design also makes your pantry look beautifully organized.
- Airtight Seal: The airtight seal keeps your ingredients fresh longer. Whether it’s flour, sugar, or cocoa, maintaining freshness is key to the flavor and texture of your cookies.
- Durability: These containers can handle everyday use, making them a reliable choice for all your baking needs.
- Versatility: Not just for ingredients, use them to store your baked cookies, too! They’ll stay fresh and delicious, ready for you to enjoy.
- Stackable: Maximize your space with their stackable design. It’s not just about saving space; it’s about maintaining an organized and accessible kitchen.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making Hot Chocolate Cookies:
- Starting the Dough:
- In your mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy with your electric mixer for 3-5 minutes. Achieving this perfect cookie texture is crucial for a chewy chocolate cookie delight.
- Incorporating the Eggs and Vanilla Extract:
- Gradually add the eggs, then mix in the vanilla extract on medium speed. This step is vital for infusing the dough with that beloved cup of hot cocoa aroma.
- Mixing Dry Ingredients:
- Sift together the all-purpose flour, hot cocoa mix, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. This mixture of dry ingredients is the secret to the perfect holiday cookie.
- Combining Wet and Dry Mixtures:
- Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, ensuring a well-blended dough. Note that this will be a dryer dough, but rest assured, it’s the key to creating the cookie form we all love.
- Adding the Chocolate and Mini Marshmallows:
- Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips and dehydrated mini marshmallow bits, distributing them evenly for that marshmallow half in each bite, using a spatula or your hand mixer on a low setting.
- Chilling the Dough:
- Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and chill in an airtight container. This step is crucial for those planning holiday cookie exchanges and ensures your dough retains its flavor and shape.
- Preheating the Oven:
- Preheat your oven and prepare your cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. A properly prepared cookie sheet ensures your hot chocolate cookies come off easily after baking.
- Scooping the Dough:
- Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough onto the parchment paper, leaving room at the top of each cookie for them to spread into their iconic cookie form.
- Baking to Perfection:
- Bake in the preheated oven until the cookies are just set. Watch for the edges to become a light golden brown, a sign of a perfectly baked chewy chocolate cookie.
- Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. Enjoy your hot chocolate cookies during this winter season, or store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh.
FAQs for Hot Chocolate Cookies
- How can I ensure my cookies are chewy and not too hard?
- For chewy chocolate cookies, avoid overbaking. Pull them out when the top of the cookies is just set. Using ingredients like marshmallow bits and semi-sweet chocolate chips contributes to that delightful chewy texture. Remember, the cookie dough balls will continue to cook on the cookie sheet after you remove them from the oven.
- Why do I need to chill the dough, and for how long?
- Chilling your cookie dough in the bowl of a stand mixer covered with plastic wrap helps the fats to solidify, leading to perfect cookies that don’t spread too much. For the best flavor and texture, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes, but for a deeper flavor, aim for a few hours up to overnight.
- Can I freeze the cookie dough to use later?
- Totally! Pre-form your cookie dough into balls and transfer them to an airtight container. They’re perfect for fresh, hot chocolate cookies without the wait. You can bake these straight from the freezer, just add an extra minute or two to the baking time.
- My cookies didn’t spread much. What went wrong?
- If your cookies didn’t spread as expected on the cookie sheet, it could be due to the cookie dough being too cold or the baking powder and soda losing their potency. Ensure your leaveners are fresh, and consider letting the dough sit at room temperature briefly if it’s very chilled.
- How do I store my hot chocolate cookies, and how long will they last?
- Store your cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature to keep them chewy. They’ll last for up to a week. Place them in the freezer for extended storage, where they’ll stay fresh for up to 3 months.
- Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
- For a gluten-free version, substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free blend. Check the mix is a 1:1 substitute to ensure your holiday cookie exchanges are inclusive and delicious for everyone.
- The dough is too dry. What should I do?
- If your dough is too crumbly, it might be due to too much purpose flour. Measure your flour carefully using the spoon-and-level method. If it’s still too dry, a little bit of milk can help bring the dough together.
- Can I add nuts or other mix-ins to this recipe?
- Feel free to add nuts for a crunchy texture or even white chocolate chips for a sweeter twist. Make sure to mix these into your dough using a hand mixer on medium speed or fold them in with a spatula until just combined.
Variations to Make Hot Chocolate Cookies Your Own
- Peppermint Crunch Hot Chocolate Cookies:
- Add crushed peppermint candies or a few drops of peppermint extract to your dough for a festive twist. The cool, minty flavor pairs beautifully with the rich chocolate, making them a holiday season favorite. Top each cookie with a small piece of peppermint bark right after baking for an extra festive touch.
- Nutty Hot Chocolate Delight:
- For a delightful crunch, stir in whatever chopped nuts you want: pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc. For an extra nutty flavor, spread a thin layer of nut butter over the top of each cookie before baking.
- Triple Chocolate Cookies:
- Mix in a combination of white, milk, dark chocolate chips, and semi-sweet chocolate chips for a triple chocolate treat. The blend of different chocolates will make each bite of your hot chocolate cookies a rich and decadent experience. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with a bit of sea salt to enhance the chocolate flavor.
- Hot Cocoa Mocha Cookies:
- Add a tablespoon of espresso powder to your dough for coffee lovers to create mocha hot chocolate cookies. The coffee flavor intensifies the chocolate and adds a sophisticated twist, perfect for a grown-up version of this childhood favorite.
- S’mores Hot Chocolate Cookies:
- Turn your cookies into a s’mores adventure by adding a piece of graham cracker and a large marshmallow half on top of each cookie before baking. The marshmallow will get perfectly toasted, and the graham cracker adds a delightful crunch, bringing the classic campfire treat to your cookie jar.
- Fruity Chocolate Cookies:
- Fold in dried cherries, raspberries, or orange zest for a fruity kick. The fruit’s tanginess cuts through the chocolate’s richness and will be truly amazing! Drizzle the baked cookies with melted chocolate and sprinkle some extra fruit for a beautiful finish.
- Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies:
- Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of cinnamon to your dough for a Mexican hot chocolate-inspired treat. The warmth of the spices adds a lovely depth and a slight kick, making your cookies uniquely flavorful and irresistible.
- Double Marshmallow Cookies:
- For an extra gooey experience, press additional marshmallow bits or a giant gooey marshmallow into the top of each cookie halfway through baking. As they finish baking, the marshmallows will puff up, creating a beautiful, melted marshmallow topping.
Hot Chocolate Cookies With Marshmallow Bits
- Stand Mixer with paddle attachment
- Cookie Sheets
- Parchment Paper
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup hot cocoa mix
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup dehydrated mini marshmallow bits
- Start the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract.
- Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, hot cocoa mix, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Combine: Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallow bits.
- Chill: Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Form Cookies: Scoop the dough into balls and place them on the prepared sheets, leaving room for spreading.
- Bake: Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are set but the center is still soft.
- Cool: Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.