I find that almost no one – myself included – can resist a big mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter evening, particularly if that hot chocolate is topped off with a handful of marshmallows. It was a favorite treat of mine growing up and it still is today. There are very few hot chocolate or hot cocoa-flavored goodies out there, largely because it is difficult to capture the flavor of the beverage in baked good form without turning it into an ordinary chocolate cookie/cake/brownie recipe. With a little creativity, I managed to capture the essence of a classic mug of cocoa in these homemade Hot Cocoa Cookies.
The secret to these cookies is that they use hot cocoa mix in the cookie dough. Most hot cocoa mixes use a combination of cocoa powder, sugar and dry milk powder, along with some vanilla or other flavor enhancers. The dry milk powder is included to make the drinks extra creamy when combined with hot milk, as well as to allow you to make a mug of hot cocoa when all you have available is water. The powdered hot cocoa mix doesn’t deliver the intense chocolate flavor that comes from using cocoa powder alone (or from using melted chocolate), but it perfectly transfers the flavor of hot cocoa into your cookies.
I used inexpensive Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix for these cookies. Any similar mix will do. A premium hot chocolate made with shaved chocolate (as opposed to cocoa powder) can be used, but will not give you the same flavor in these cookies. This is one case where the less expensive option seems to work a bit better. That said, you can use any chocolate you like for the chocolate chunks, so feel free to splurge on a premium brand for that mix-in!
The cookies are thin and chewy, with a great milk chocolate flavor. They’re studded with chocolate chunks and mini marshmallows. The marshmallows will partially melt and partially brown in the oven – not unlike how they respond to being added to a mug of steaming cocoa – so don’t expect them to look as perfect coming out of the oven as they do going into it. They’re a delicious addition and add a great pop of sweetness to the cookies. Since they’re thin, allow the cookies to partially set on the baking sheet before sliding them onto a cooling rack so that they don’t break. The cookies are, of course, excellent when paired with hot cocoa, but are also delicious with milk.
Hot Cocoa Cookies with Mini Marshmallows
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup powdered hot cocoa mix
1/2 cup chocolate chunks
2/3 cup mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in egg, followed by hot cocoa mix. Gradually blend in the flour mixture, mixing until no streaks of dry ingredients remain, then stir in the chocolate chunks and mini marshmallows.
Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 3-inches between the balls to allow the cookies to spread.
Bake for 10-13 minutes, until cookies are set and lightly browned at the outer edges. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4-5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.