photo of hand pulling hot cocoa cookie open

About These Gooey Hot Cocoa Cookies With Marshmallow

These hot cocoa cookies are the perfect cookie recipe for Santa! They are basically the classic cold weather beverage, but in cookie form.

These hot cocoa cookies are made with melted chocolate, flavored with instant hot cocoa mix, and studded with mini marshmallows in the dough and on top of each cookie.

They are crispy on the outside, but soft, chewy, and gooey in the middle thanks to the mini marshmallows. If you love hot cocoa, you’ll love this sticky, gooey chocolate marshmallow cookie!

@hummingbirdhigh #recipes #baking #cookies ♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) – Danilo Stankovic

Looking for more fun holiday baking recipes? Check out Hummingbird High’s holiday baking archive!

photo of hot cocoa cookies with marshmallow on gold sheet pan

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make these hot cocoa cookies, here’s everything you need to make the recipe:

Shopping List For Hot Cocoa Cookies Recipe

  • dark chocolate (between 60% to 70% cacao), from whole fèves or a high-quality chocolate bar
  • all-purpose flour
  • instant hot cocoa mix
  • baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • unsalted butter
  • granulated sugar
  • pure vanilla extract
  • large eggs
  • mini marshmallows

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and potential substitutions:

Dark Chocolate

You need 10 ounces (284 grams) dark chocolate (between 60% to 70% cacao), from whole fèves or a high-quality chocolate bar to make these hot cocoa cookies.

Dark Chocolate versus Bittersweet and Semisweet Chocolate

In the United States, there’s no official benchmark for the “bittersweet” and “semisweet” chocolate designations. It’s up to manufacturers to determine how much cocoa to use, and percentages will vary greatly from brand to brand. Technically, both bittersweet and semisweet chocolate are considered dark chocolate… but you never know. Because of this, I advise you to ignore these bars and stick with a dark chocolate that lists its cocoa percentage.

Wait, what are chocolate fèves? Are they the same thing as chocolate baking discs and wafers?

Chocolate fèves are a fancy pastry school term for a flat, bean-shaped disc of chocolate. They’re basically made with the same kind of chocolate that baking bars are made of. However, they’re already shaped into easily meltable pieces (saving you from needing to chop up the chocolate yourself!).

The most prominent maker of chocolate fèves is one of my favorite chocolate makers, Valrhona Chocolate. Unfortunately, as much as I love Valrhona chocolate, their chocolate fèves can be hard to find at your average grocery store. I typically buy Valrhona products online at AmazonKing Arthur Baking Company, or Valrhona’s online store. But if you don’t want to buy online, rest assured that other chocolate makers make similar products. Notably, Guittard Chocolate Company makes chocolate wafers. These wafers are similar to fèves, but more circular in shape. I’ve seen Guittard chocolate wafers at select SafewayTarget, and Whole Foods stores.

Do I really need to use fèves? Can I just use chocolate chips?

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from my blog, it’s this: don’t skimp on chocolate! Most grocery store brands—even the ones that offer products specifically made for baking—contain all sorts of additives like paraffin wax and palm oil. These ingredients compromise the flavor and texture of your results. I’ve stopped using chocolate chips in 90 percent of my recipes, and my baked goods have tasted so much better as a result. 

What other chocolate do you recommend besides fèves?

If you can’t find fèves, I also recommend Guittard Chocolate Wafers (which are more readily available in most major supermarkets). If you’re on a budget, I recommend chopping up a Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bar or Ghirradelli baking chocolate bars instead of chocolate chips. Chop up the chocolate into fairly large ½- to 1-inch chunks. Doing so helps give you big chocolate puddles throughout the cookie!

What dark chocolate did you use to make these hot cocoa cookies?

For these cookies, I used Valrhona Caraïbe fèves, which 66% cacao. In general, for this recipe, I recommend using a dark chocolate that is between 62% and 73% cacao (though I simplified that to 60% and 70% in the ingredients list).

Instant Hot Cocoa Mix

You need 1 ½ Tablespoons instant hot cocoa mix to make these hot cocoa cookies.

The Best Instant Hot Cocoa Mix For This Recipe

Look for an instant hot cocoa mix that is made with hot water (as opposed to hot milk). I recommend using either Land O’Lakes Chocolate Supreme Cocoa Mix or Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Flavor Hot Cocoa Mix. These are the brands I used to make my cookies!

I don’t have instant hot cocoa mix. What can I use instead?

You can also substitute the instant hot cocoa mix with the same amount of natural unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Doing so will make equally tasty cookies that are less sweet than the original recipe!

Mini Marshmallows

You need 1 cup mini marshmallows to make this recipe, plus another ⅓ cup for garnish.

Can I use regular-sized marshmallows instead?

In a pinch, you can use regular-sized marshmallows.

That being said, I recommend using a pair of kitchen shears to cut them into mini marshmallows before mixing them into the dough. Regular-sized marshmallows don’t mix evenly into the dough! However, regular-sized marshmallows work just fine when topping the cookies.

close up photo of hot cocoa cookies with marshmallows

How To Make Hot Cocoa Cookies

Here are the basic steps to make these hot cocoa cookies from scratch:

  1. Prep the ingredients for the recipe. (Prep Time: 5 minutes)
    If using chocolate fèves or wafers, prep time will take less than 5 minutes. However, if using chocolate bars and chopping them for the recipe, Prep Time will take an additional 5 minutes.

  2. Melt the chocolate. (Work Time: 5 to 10 minutes)
    I like to melt the chocolate first, then pour it into a liquid measuring cup. Doing so helps it cool quickly and will prevent you from accidentally cooking the eggs when pouring it into the dough. After this step, I also like to prep and measure out the other ingredients (like the flour, cocoa mix, baking powder, salt, and sugar) to give the chocolate a little extra time to cool.

  3. Make the cookie dough. (Work Time: 10 minutes)

  4. Scoop the cookie dough. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
    At first, the dough will seem too soft to scoop at first. But it will firm up VERY quickly and get too hard to scoop. So work quickly and efficiently while the dough is still soft!

    In general, I use a 3-Tablespoon or 4-Tablespoon sized cookie dough scoops to make my cookie recipes. Doing so makes perfect 3- to 3.5-inch wide cookies.

  5. Bake the cookies. (Bake Time: 12 minutes per batch)

  6. Finish assembling the cookies. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
    To finish the cookies, press 3 to 5 mini marshmallows on top of each cookie immediately after pulling them from the oven. At that point, the cookies will still be soft and malleable. Again, work quickly! The cookies will harden as they cool.
photo of hands pulling apart a single hot cocoa cookie showing marshmallow strands

Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ

Help! The cookie dough firmed up a LOT. It was really hard to scoop. What did I do wrong?

Absolutely nothing! After making the dough, it firms up really quickly (to a texture similar to chocolate ganache or even fudge).

So to make your life easier, immediately scoop the cookies and shape them into individual cookie dough balls after making the dough. It will seem like it’s too soft to scoop at first, but I promise the balls will hold their shape. I recommend buying a 3-Tablespoon sized cookie dough scoop to help you do the job quickly and efficiently.

But if you find that the dough firmed up, no worries! You can use a regular ice cream scoop to portion out the dough instead. Then, use your hands to roll them into cookie dough balls like you would truffles!

How To Store The Hot Cocoa Cookies

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Can you freeze hot cocoa cookies?

Yes! You can freeze the cookies in the following ways:

  1. Freeze the UNBAKED cookie dough.
    Follow the recipe instructions to make the cookie dough and scoop and roll them into cookie dough balls. Place the cookie dough balls in a small sheet pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour, or until the cookie dough balls are frozen solid. Transfer the cookie dough balls to a zip-top bag and freeze for up to 1 year.

    To bake the frozen cookie dough balls, line sheet pans with parchment paper and position the cookie dough balls at least 3 inches apart on the sheet pans. Then, follow the recipe instructions to preheat the oven. Bake for 14 minutes, or until the edges have set but the centers are still gooey, and follow the recipe instructions to top them with marshmallows.

  2. Freeze the BAKED hot cocoa cookies.
    Individually wrap any leftover chocolate chip cookies in two layers of plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. The aluminum foil will prevent the cookies from absorbing any other flavors or odors in the freezer. When ready to serve, transfer to the refrigerator to chill overnight. Rewarm in the microwave or in the oven at 350°F for 5 minutes before serving.
photo of hot cocoa cookies with one broken on bottom right corner showing marshmallow strands

Best Recipe Tips

Tip About Baking Equipment For The Recipe

  • The recipe instructs you to use 1 ½ Tablespoons of instant hot cocoa mix. Although you can buy individual 1 ½ Tablespoon measures, most teaspoon measuring sets don’t come with one. So if your set doesn’t come with one, go ahead and use 4 ½ teaspoons (which is equivalent to 1 ½ Tablespoons).

The Best Tips For Making The Recipe Successfully and Efficiently

  • I like to melt the chocolate first, then pour it into a liquid measuring cup. Doing so helps it cool quickly and will prevent you from accidentally cooking the eggs when pouring it into the dough. After this step, I also like to prep and measure out the other ingredients (like the flour, cocoa mix, baking powder, salt, and sugar) to give the chocolate a little extra time to cool.

  • After making the cookie dough, it will seem too soft. But it will firm up VERY quickly and get too hard to scoop. So work quickly and efficiently while the dough is still soft! I recommend buying a 3-Tablespoon sized cookie dough scoop to help you do the job quickly and efficiently.

Tip About Baking The Cookies

  • I like to bake the cookies one pan at a time. I find that doing so makes the best cookies, ensuring that none of them have overly burnt bottoms or raw centers. However, to save time, you can bake two sheet pans at a time. Position a rack in the upper-third position of the oven, and a second one in the lower-third position of the oven. Bake a pan on each rack, swapping their positions half way through the Bake Time.

More Holiday Baking Recipes

Get the Recipe: Gooey Hot Cocoa Cookies With Marshmallow

These soft and gooey hot cocoa cookies are made with melted chocolate, instant hot cocoa mix, and studded with mini marshmallows—just like your favorite winter drink!
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Ingredients

For the Hot Cocoa Cookie Dough

  • 10 ounces (284 grams) dark chocolate (between 60% and 70% cacao), from whole fèves or a high-quality chocolate bar roughly chopped into 1- to 1 ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup (4.5 ounces or 128 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons instant hot cocoa mix
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (8.75 ounces or 248 grams) granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (1.75 ounces or 50 grams) mini marshmallows

Assembly

  • cup (2.35 ounces or 67 grams) mini marshmallows

Instructions
 

  • Prep the oven and baking pan. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line three half sheet pans with parchment paper.
  • Melt the chocolate. Place the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan filled with a few inches of simmering water (be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water).
    Cook over medium heat, using a heatproof rubber spatula to stir the mixture and scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally, until the chocolate is melted, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan or bowl from heat, set on a wire rack, and cool slightly while you prep the dry ingredients.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa mix, baking powder, and kosher salt.
  • Cream the sugar, butter, and the vanilla, then add the eggs. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, butter, and vanilla. Beat on medium until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume, 3 to 4 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. 
    Reduce the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time, adding the next egg only after the previous one has been fully incorporated, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.
  • Add the melted chocolate, dry ingredients, and mini marshmallows. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and beat until just combined.
    Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl once more, and beat on low for an additional 30 seconds.
    Add the marshmallows all at once and beat on medium-low until the marshmallows are evenly distributed throughout, about 1 minute.
  • Assemble the cookies. Use a 3-Tablespoon cookie dough scoop to portion the cookie dough into balls, placing them at least 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet pans.
  • Bake the cookies, then top them with the marshmallows for garnish. Bake one pan at a time for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the edges have set but the centers are still gooey.
    Place the pan on a wire rack and immediately place 3 to 5 marshmallows on top of each cookie, gently pressing each marshmallow into the cookies while they are still soft.
    Cool the cookies on the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, or until the edges and bottoms of the cookies have set and feel firm to the touch.
    Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
  • Serve and store. Serve warm or at room temperature. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Notes

  • The recipe instructs you to use 1 ½ Tablespoons of instant hot cocoa mix. Although you can buy individual 1 ½ Tablespoon measures, most teaspoon measuring sets don’t come with one. So if your set doesn’t come with one, go ahead and use 4 ½ teaspoons (which is equivalent to 1 ½ Tablespoons).
  • I like to melt the chocolate first, then pour it into a liquid measuring cup. Doing so helps it cool quickly and will prevent you from accidentally cooking the eggs when pouring it into the dough. After this step, I also like to prep and measure out the other ingredients (like the flour, cocoa mix, baking powder, salt, and sugar) to give the chocolate a little extra time to cool.
  • After making the cookie dough, it will seem too soft. But it will firm up VERY quickly and get too hard to scoop. So work quickly and efficiently while the dough is still soft! I recommend buying a 3-Tablespoon sized cookie dough scoop to help you do the job quickly and efficiently.
  • I like to bake the cookies one pan at a time. I find that doing so makes the best cookies, ensuring that none of them have overly burnt bottoms or raw centers. However, to save time, you can bake two sheet pans at a time. Position a rack in the upper-third position of the oven, and a second one in the lower-third position of the oven. Bake a pan on each rack, swapping their positions half way through the Bake Time.
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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.