Get cozy with these decadent hot cocoa cookies, complete with mini-marshmallows and chocolate chunks

These cookies get some extra seasonal flavor from toasty brown sugar and a hit of espresso powder

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Food Editor

Published December 24, 2021 5:30PM (EST)

A plate of homemade double chocolate espresso cookies (Getty Images/George Crudo Photography)
A plate of homemade double chocolate espresso cookies (Getty Images/George Crudo Photography)

I make most of my coffee at home these days, but there is something undeniably cozy about popping into a coffee shop on a cool winter afternoon and ordering something seasonal, like a peppermint mocha or a hot cocoa — both preferably with an absurd amount of whipped cream. 

But there's something even cozier about taking inspiration from those beverages and whipping them into holiday cookies. The flavors of chocolate and coffee go together beautifully, and special bits like miniature marshmallows and crushed peppermint pieces add a nice whimsical touch. 

RELATED: A brief history of the Christmas cookie

The base for this recipe is actually hot cocoa mix, which you can find in packets or jars at most super markets this time of year. The cookies get some added depth of flavor from brown sugar and a touch of espresso powder. 

Be sure to let the dough chill for at least 30 minutes (though you can chill it for up to 24 hours, which is great for working ahead) before adding the miniature marshmallows, chocolate chips and, if you're using them, peppermint pieces. This allows the cookies to bake more evenly. 


RECIPE: Hot cocoa cookies with miniature marshmallows
Makes 36 cookies 


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 ⅔ cups brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 ¼  cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup hot cocoa mix
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks 
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows 
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons of crushed candy canes 


1. In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla and, using a hand mixer or large whisk, beat until completely combined. 

2. Add in the flour, espresso powder, hot cocoa mix, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix until a cohesive dough forms. 

3. Cover the bowl with plastic or a large dish towel and allow it to refrigerate for about a half hour. Remove and add the chocolate chips, miniature marshmallows and, if you're using them, peppermint pieces to the dough. 

4. Using an ice cream scoop or large tablespoon, place uniform balls of dough two inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. 

5. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for five minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. 

More Christmas cookie stories: 

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Ashlie D. Stevens is Salon's food editor. She is also an award-winning radio producer, editor and features writer — with a special emphasis on food, culture and subculture. Her writing has appeared in and on The Atlantic, National Geographic’s “The Plate,” Eater, VICE, Slate, Salon, The Bitter Southerner and Chicago Magazine, while her audio work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here & Now, as well as APM’s Marketplace. She is based in Chicago.

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