How to Make Delicious Hot Cocoa Cookies From Scratch
Hot chocolate is a favorite, chocolate treat at Christmastime and throughout the winter season. With a simple recipe and a little love, you can make your favorite indulgence even better by making hot cocoa cookies! So stop fighting the holiday crowds for your favorite Christmas desserts. Instead, stay warm and cozy indoors and make those holiday cookies at home instead. These homemade sweets are a wonderful way to satisfy your chocolate cravings. Recreate this tasty cookie recipe for homemade holiday food gifts or to serve guests at your upcoming Christmas party.
Winter and Holiday Hot Chocolate Cookies
Hot cocoa cookies make a wonderful, wintertime treat! This delectable cookie recipe is made with tasty ingredients and toppings that chocolate lovers won’t be able to resist. Real chocolate flavors and marshmallows are blended together to create a warm, gooey dessert that might possibly be even better than your favorite hot chocolate recipe!
This delicious and festive treat will have you dreaming of the holiday season! The cookie dough is made from scratch and is a combination of butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and other ingredients. The dough is then rolled into balls and baked until lightly browned. Each cookie is then topped with a generous helping of marshmallows, Hershey nuggets candy, and Christmas sprinkles. The final touch is a rich and creamy chocolate ganache and chocolate buttercream frosting.
Sound good? Great! Now grab your cooking equipment and all your favorite ingredients from your hot chocolate bar! Because you are not going to want to miss out on this spectacular concoction of flavors. Find the recipe below and bake up a batch. Then getting cozy under a goose down blanket with a book in hand and a hearty glass of milk on a cold, winter day. You can also package these delightful treats as gifts or create them as a new addition to your annual Christmas cookie exchange.
Chocolate Cookie Ingredients
This hot cocoa cookie recipe calls for quite a few ingredients as it does not include a box mix. You will be making the cookie dough, chocolate ganache and buttercream frosting — all from scratch. Then adding store bought toppings that consist of marshmallows, chocolate candies and sprinkles. Here is what you will need:
- Butter: You’ll want to use unsalted butter for this recipe. Sweet cream butter such as Nellies or Kerry’s Gold is ideal for giving these sweets a rich flavor.
- Sugar: This recipe calls for both white granulated sugar as well as brown sugar to make the cookie dough. While powdered sugar is used to create the frosting.
- Large Eggs: Eggs are a great ingredient to use in cookies because they help bind the dough together and provide moisture, leavening, and structure to the cookie. Additionally, the proteins in eggs help give cookies a chewy texture. Eggs also give a subtle flavor and aroma to the cookie, making them even more delicious!
- Chocolate Extract: Chocolate extract is often used to give hot cocoa cookies a more intense and rich chocolate flavor. The extract is added to enhance the cocoa flavor, without having to add more cocoa powder, which can give the cookie a dry and crumbly texture. The chocolate extract also helps to bring out the natural sweetness of the cocoa, making the cookie more flavorful and enjoyable.
- Cocoa Powder: Sweetened cocoa powder gives these treats their chocolate flavor. I used Hershey’s, however, a store brand would work as well. Some recipes call for using actual hot cocoa mix. However, I’ve found that cocoa powder gives them a richer chocolate flavor and there are no extra fillers which are found in the mixes.
- Flour: To give these cookies a more cake-like consistency, I used a combination of both cake flour and regular, all-purpose flour. Cake flour is lower in protein than regular flour and has a finer consistency that gives baked goods a softer, fluffier and more delicate texture. If you prefer not to buy both, you can make your own cake flour by adding two tablespoons of either arrowroot powder or cornstarch to one cup of all-purpose flour.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a great ingredient to use in cookies because it helps to make them light and fluffy. It also helps to absorb moisture, which keeps the cookie from becoming too crumbly. Additionally, the cornstarch helps to create a glossy finish on the cookie, making them look even more appealing.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda is an important ingredient in baking, particularly when making cookies. It helps the cookies to rise, creating a light and fluffy texture, and also adds a subtle sweetness to the dough. Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate and is a type of leavening agent, which means it helps to create air bubbles in the dough, resulting in a lighter finished product. Additionally, baking soda can help to neutralize the acidity in certain ingredients, like brown sugar, which helps to give the cookies a better flavor.
- Salt: Adding salt to a hot chocolate cookie recipe is a great way to improve the flavor. Salt helps to balance out the sweetness of the chocolate and enhance other flavors in the cookie. It can also help to bring out the richness of the cocoa powder. Adding a pinch of salt to your cookies can make a huge difference in the taste.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: Semi-sweet chocolate chips are an ideal choice for making chocolate ganache because they have the perfect balance of sweetness and bitter flavor. The additional cocoa butter in the chips helps to create a silky consistency, while the slightly lower sugar content helps to produce a more intense chocolate flavor. The result is a rich, luxurious ganache that can be used in a variety of desserts, including my Bûche de Noël cake.
- Marshmallows: To make these cookies true to the drink, they contain an abundance of marshmallows. I used both mini marshmallows as well as freeze dried marshmallow bits, similar to those you find in cereal. Jet Puffed Vanilla Flavored Marshmallow Bits are a great option if you aren’t sure what to buy.
- Sprinkles: Ultimately you may use any sprinkles you like to decorate these hot cocoa cookies. However, I find that Christmas themed sprinkles are especially festive this time of year. You can find a great assortment of specialty sprinkle blends for the holidays on Etsy.
- Chocolate Candy: Hershey Chocolate Nuggets are used as a topping for these sweets. They add extra flavor and give your treats extra decorations with less work.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: Heavy whipping cream is used to make rich chocolate ganache for homemade hot chocolate cookies as it helps to create a smooth and creamy texture. This thick cream is high in fat, which helps to give the ganache a luxurious and decadent flavor. The cream also helps to bind the chocolate and other ingredients together, making it easier to spread over the cookies. So, if you want to make a truly delicious homemade hot chocolate cookie, then heavy whipping cream is the way to go!
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
- Stand Mixer: Ideally you will want to use a stand mixer with a flat beater to mix the ingredients for this Christmas cookie recipe along with the buttercream frosting. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you may use a large mixing bowl and an electric hand mixer.
- Medium Bowl: You’ll need a large bowl to mix the dry cookie dough ingredients together before adding them to the wet ingredients.
- Whisk: A whisk is necessary to create the chocolate ganache.
- Small Saucepan: A saucepan is used to heat and mix the ingredients for the chocolate ganache that is drizzled on top of these treats.
- Spatula: A spatula or other utensil will make it easier to fill the piping bags with the icing and ganache.
- Piping Bag with Tip: I used a large, disposable piping bag with a medium round tip to apply the frosting to the cookies after baking and another for the chocolate ganache. However, if you have a cake decorating kit on hand, feel free to get creative!
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: These tools are necessary to measure out the ingredients called for in the recipe. Inn addition, a tablespoon will make it easier to scoop the dough out of the bowl to form the cookie dough balls prior to baking. Alternately, you can also weigh the dough for consistently sized treats.
- Wire Rack: I recommend using a wire rack to allow your cookies to cool more evenly after they have baked.
- Cookie Sheets: You’ll need two baking sheets for this cookie recipe.
- Parchment Paper: Rather than greasing the pans, you should line them with parchment paper. Alternately, if you have silicone mats, you may use those instead.
- Cookie Scoop: I used a large cookie scoop to scoop the dough out of the bowl. However, you can also use a large spoon.
- Kitchen Scale: While not necessary, if you’d like your hot chocolate and marshmallows cookies to all be the same size, then you should weigh the dough for each cookie prior to baking. This is, of course, optional. However, it’s especially helpful if you need more precise serving sizes or plan to sell your treats.
Tips and Recipe Variations
If you need tips for creating the perfect Christmas cookie, try some of these ideas when making your hot chocolate cookies for the holidays:
- To create consistently sized cookies, use a digital kitchen scale to weigh out the dough for each one.
- When making the cookie dough, use a quality cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate for a more intense cocoa flavor.
- Add some chopped up dark chocolate to the cookie dough for extra richness.
- Roll the cookie dough in a mixture of cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne pepper for a flavor boost.
- Sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top of the cookies before baking for a hint of salty sweetness. Enjoy!
- If you are short on time or need to cut costs. you may use a box cookie mix to make these instead. Simply bake the chocolate cookie mix as directed on the back of the box. Then decorate these wintertime treats as indicated within the post using store bought buttercream frosting.
How to Make Hot Cocoa Cookies
Hot cocoa cookies can be just as delicious as the store-bought version, if not moreso. A spin off of a favorite wintertime treat, this recipe calls for lots of chocolate and marshmallows. Here’s how to make them from scratch along with a recipe for the perfect buttercream icing.
Preheat Oven and Prep
1. Before starting, preheat the oven to 410°F.
2. Then, while the oven preheats, line two cookie sheets with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set the prepared pans aside.
3. Now, cut the cold butter for the cookies into cubes. Measure out the ingredients called for in the cookie portion of the recipe using measuring cups and spoons. Then set out the butter called for in the buttercream frosting portion of the recipe to soften.
Mix the Cookie Dough
You’re now ready to mix the cookie dough and bake the cookies. I highly recommend a stand mixer with a flat edge beater for this. However, if you don’t have one, you may use an electric hand mixer as an acceptable substitute.
4. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Then, cream the ingredients together on a medium speed (between 4 and 6) for about 2 minutes. You want the mixture to be light and fluffy.
5. Next, add the the eggs and the chocolate extract to the mixing bowl. Beat the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
6. Combine the flour, cake flour, cocoa, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Then whisk the dry ingredients together until evenly combined throughout the batter.
7. Set the mixer to low speed. Then slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in the stand mixture. Mix on low, gradually adding more of the dry mixture until a soft dough has formed and all of the dry ingredients have been added.
8. Next, gently fold in the chocolate chips. You can hand mix these into the dough. Or you may mix them into the dough on low speed using the stand mixer. Either is acceptable.
Bake the Hot Cocoa Cookies
9. Use a large cookie scoop to scoop out a mound of hot cocoa cookie dough. Then place the dough onto a kitchen scale. You want the ball of dough to weigh approximately 3 to 3.5 oz. Remove or add any dough as necessary to create a uniform dough ball.
NOTE: I used a digital kitchen scale to weigh out the cookie dough prior to baking. This ensures equal portion sizes. However, if you don’t own a kitchen scale, or aren’t overly concerned about uniformly sized treats, you can simply use a cookie scoop.
10. Once you have the properly sized mound of dough ready, place it onto the prepared cookie sheet. Then lightly press down on the dough. You simply want to remove the tall, rounded mound from the top, not flatten it completely. So, don’t go overboard.
11. Now repeat this process to create all 15 balls of cookie dough, placing each ball about 3 to 5 inches apart on the cookie sheets. This will allow for any spreading or expansion that may occur.
12. Then, bake the chocolate cookies in the preheated oven for about 9 – 12 minutes, or until the edges seem firm.
13. After baking, remove the treats from the oven and allow to cool. I recommend waiting at least 10 minutes before you begin adding the cookie decorations to these sweets.
While the cookies cool, use this time to make the additional ingredients, including the buttercream frosting and the chocolate ganache. You can also prepare the decorations, if desired, by removing them from the packaging and placing them into small bowls. I like this idea if you are having friends or other family members join in the decorating process.
Make Buttercream Frosting
As with the cookie dough, you will also use the stand mixer with a flat beater to make the buttercream frosting for your hot cocoa cookies.
14. Place the softened butter and the vanilla extract into the mixing bowl. Then use the stand mixer to cream the butter and vanilla together on medium speed.
15. Once the butter and vanilla are thoroughly combined, switch the speed to low. Then mix in two cups of powdered sugar. Once combined, the frosting should look like pebbles.
16. Now add the remaining powdered sugar, along with the cocoa powder. Slowly increase the speed on the stand mixer to medium speed.
17. After the cocoa powder and powdered sugar are incorporated into the frosting, mix in the heavy whipping cream. Continue to beat the frosting on medium speed until all the ingredients are evenly combined and it reaches a smooth consistency.
18. Finally, scoop the completed frosting into a large piping bag with a medium sized tip. Then set aside the icing aside until you have prepared the chocolate ganache.
Prepare Chocolate Ganache
Now prepare the chocolate ganache.
19. To do this, first empty the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
20. Then place the heavy whipping cream into a small pot on the stovetop over low heat. Bring it to a simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching.
21. Next, carefully pour over heated whipping cream over the chocolate chips into the prepared bowl.
22. Allow the chocolate ganache for the marshmallow cocoa cookies it to sit for 1 minute. Then, use a whisk to whisk the ganache by hand until smooth.
23. Finally, allow the mixture to cool for approximately ten minutes. Then scoop the ganache into a second piping bag.
NOTE: I used a disposable bag for this step, and therefore snipped the end off just before piping. I did not use an icing tip.
Add Cookie Decorations
Now that you have all the components necessary to create your hot cocoa cookies, you are ready to decorate them.
24. First, pipe frosting pipe swirls onto each cookie. Start at the center and then work your way out to the edge of the cookie.
25. After the frosting has been applied, cut the tip off of the piping bag filled with the chocolate ganache. Then pipe the ganache directly on top of the frosting in a flower-shape.
26. Next, place a Hershey nugget directly into the center of each cookie.
27. Then sprinkle these hot chocolate treats with mini marshmallows and mallow bits to cover as much surface area as you like.
28, Lastly, add a dash of holiday sprinkles to the tops of each. Your hot cocoa cookies are now ready to be served and enjoyed!
Cookies, cookies everywhere! If you’re looking for creative serving suggestions for your guests, here are some unique ways to really amp up their presentation:
- Pair these cookies with your favorite hot cocoa bombs for a rich combo that will delight your taste buds. Or serve them with a tall, cold glass of milk.
- Place a selection of 3-4 cookies on a plate along with a festive cup of hot cocoa or apple pomegranate cider.
- Create a cookie platter by arranging your cookies in a festive pattern with a few other treats like nuts, chocolate, and candy canes.
- Cut your cookies into festive shapes and use them to decorate a cake or cupcakes.
- If you prefer not to add the candy, marshmallows and other toppings to these treats, dip them in chocolate or a white chocolate-coconut mixture instead. Then roll it in nuts, sprinkles, or crushed candy canes.
- Layer your cookies with a thin layer of frosting and fruit preserves to create a delicious cookie sandwich.
- Include them on a Christmas dessert charcuterie board as a delectable option for party guests.
How to Store Hot Chocolate Cookies
The best way to store hot cocoa cookies is to place them in an airtight container or plastic bag. This will help to keep the cookies fresh and prevent them from going stale. You can also freeze the cookies if you want to store them for a longer period of time. To do this, simply wrap the cookies in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container. This will help to preserve the flavor and texture of the cookies.
Hot Cocoa Cookies Packaging Ideas
As mentioned previously, these delicious cookies make a wonderful gift for the winter season! Whether you’re baking these for a cookie exchange, a Christmas party or homemade food gifts, here are some easy ways to package these hot cocoa cookies to gift to friends and family:
- Gift Basket: Line a basket with festive holiday fabric and put your cookies inside. Then fill it with packaged cookies and an assortment of hot chocolate bombs for the ultimate holiday food gift. You can find recipes for cute hot chocolate bombs with marshmallows as well as mini hot cocoa bombs here. Or give these peppermint cocoa bombs a try.
- Gift Boxes: Put your cookies in a festive holiday gift box and tie it with a bright ribbon or bow.
- Holiday Tins: Package your cookies in a festive holiday tin with a personalized label.
- Cellophane Treat Bags: Place your cookies in clear cellophane treat bags with a decorative ribbon or bow.
- Personalized Bags: Create personalized holiday bags with your own designs or logos and fill them with cookies.
How to Make Delicious Hot Cocoa Cookies From Scratch
- 2 Cups cold unsalted sweet cream butter, cubed
- 2 Cups brown sugar
- 1 Cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons chocolate extract
- 1 Cup Hershey cocoa powder
- 2 Cups cake flour
- 3 Cups flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 Cups semi sweet chocolate chips
- 4 1⁄2 Cups powdered sugar
- 1 Cup unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
- 1 Tablespoon chocolate extract
- 4 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1⁄2 Cup hershey cocoa powder
- 1⁄2 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1⁄4 Cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 Cups mini marshmallows
- 2 Cups mallow bits
- Festive sprinkles, to suit
- 15 Hershey Chocolate Nuggets
Bake Hot Chocolate Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 410°F.
- Line two cookie sheets with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set the prepared pans aside.
- Combine the butter, brown sugar, and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Then, cream the ingredients together on a medium speed for about 2 minutes. You want the mixture to be light and fluffy.
- Add the the eggs and the chocolate extract to the mixing bowl. Beat the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Combine the flour, cake flour, cocoa, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Then whisk the dry ingredients together until evenly combined throughout the batter.
- Set the mixer to low speed. Then slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in the stand mixture. Mix on low, gradually adding more of the flour mixture until a soft dough has formed and all of the dry ingredients have been added.
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Use a large cookie scoop to scoop out a mound of hot cocoa cookie dough. Then place the dough onto a kitchen scale. You want the ball of dough to weigh approximately 3 to 3.5 oz.
- Place the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Then lightly press down on the dough.
- Now repeat this process to create all 15 balls of cookie dough, placing each ball about 3 to 5 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
- Bake the chocolate cookies in the preheated oven for about 9 – 12 minutes, or until the edges seem firm.
- Remove the treats from the oven and allow to cool.
Prepare Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Place the softened butter and the vanilla extract into the mixing bowl. Then use the stand mixer to cream the butter and vanilla together on medium speed.
- Once the butter and vanilla are thoroughly combined, switch the speed to low. Then mix in two cups of powdered sugar. Once combined, the frosting should look like pebbles.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar, along with the cocoa powder. Slowly increase the speed on the stand mixer to medium speed.
- Once incorporated into the frosting, mix in the heavy whipping cream. Continue to beat the frosting on medium speed until all the ingredients are evenly combined and it reaches a smooth consistency.
- Scoop the completed frosting into a large piping bag with a medium sized tip. Then set aside the icing aside.
Make Chocolate Ganache
- Empty the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
- Place the heavy whipping cream into a small pot on the stovetop over low heat. Bring it to a simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching.
- Carefully pour over heated whipping cream over the chocolate chips into the prepared bowl.
- Allow the chocolate ganache for the marshmallow cocoa cookies it to sit for 1 minute. Then, use a whisk to whisk the ganache by hand until smooth.
- Allow the mixture to cool for approximately ten minutes. Then scoop the ganache into a second piping bag.
Add Marshmallows and Candy Decorations
- Pipe frosting pipe swirls onto each cookie. Start at the center and then work your way out to the edge of the cookie.
- Cut the tip off of the piping bag filled with the chocolate ganache. Then pipe the ganache directly on top of the frosting.
- Place a Hershey nugget directly into the center of each cookie.
- Sprinkle these hot chocolate treats with mini marshmallows and mallow bits to cover as much surface area as you like.
- Add a dash of holiday sprinkles to the tops of each. Your hot cocoa cookies are now ready to be served and enjoyed!