These chewy chocolate brownie cookies are rolled in crushed candy canes for festive crunch. Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies are the perfect treat to make for your winter celebrations.
All credit for the title of these sweet cookies goes to one of my test kitchen volunteers (hi, Nicole!). I originally called them Chocolate Peppermint Cookies which was far less original and less accurate, because Nicole nailed it. These cookies are like a cozy mug of hot cocoa topped with crushed peppermint, and they are about as festive a dessert as you’ll find this time of year.
And because this time of year is also just notoriously busy, let’s jump right in!
How to Make Hot Cocoa Cookies
- Soften butter. Be sure the butter is very soft before using it so that it will properly cream with the sugars.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients - flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. (Use a kitchen scale for the flour if you have one or gently scoop it out of the bag into a measuring cup so that it doesn't compress.)
- In a standing mixer, combine the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Don't skimp on this step. It should take about 3 minutes for the butter and sugars to be light, fluffy, and very pale in color.
- Add the peppermint extract and eggs.
- Add the dry ingredients a little at a time and then mix on low until combined.
- Add white chocolate chips.
- Roll the cookie dough into balls and press the tops into crushed candy canes.
- Place the cookie dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet with the crushed candy canes facing up.
- Bake at 350°F for 9 to 10 minutes.
- All-Purpose Flour - I tested this recipe with Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour. It gives me reliable results every time.
- Cocoa Powder - I use Hershey’s Special Dark but any cocoa powder will work.
- Baking Soda - These provide the dough with just a bit of lift, giving the cookies that soft and tender texture. Be sure to replace your baking soda every few months (yes - every few months!). Old baking soda won’t give you the same results as a fresh box.
- Light Brown Sugar and White Sugar - These cookies use a combination of light brown sugar and white sugar.
- Unsalted Butter - It is important to use unsalted butter to get the measurement for salt (see below) right. If using salted butter, it’s a good idea to skip the added kosher salt in the dough so that the cookies don’t become too salty. Don’t forget to take the butter out of the fridge in advance. It needs to be softened while still feeling slightly cool to the touch.
- Egg, Peppermint Extract, Kosher Salt - Standard cookie ingredients. The eggs add texture, the vanilla and salt add flavor.
- White Chocolate Chips - These are beautiful and give a nice flavor contrast to the chocolate cookies, but you can absolutely use regular chocolate chips instead.
- Crushed Candy Canes - These will melt in the oven but still retain some crunch. In November and December, you can sometimes find pre-crushed candy cane topping in the baking section in places like Target and Walmart or at well-stocked grocery stores. Otherwise, you can put candy canes in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to smash them. (I also tested them with starlight mints which were harder to crush, but worked well.)
No. You really need something under the cookies as they bake. The peppermints will melt and will stick to your baking sheet.
Absolutely! These are great with chocolate chips in place of the white chocolate for a double chocolate cookie.
Yes. For best results, freeze the dough before you roll it in crushed candy canes. Add the candy cane topping right before baking.
Store the cookies in a well-sealed container at room temperature for up to a week, but they will taste the best if eaten within 2-3 days of baking.
More Holiday Cookie Ideas
- Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
- Candy Cane Meringues
- Christmas Tree Meringues
- Peppermint Brownie Bites
- Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms
- 15 Freezer-Friendly Christmas Cookies
- Glass Mixing Bowls
- Half Sheet Pans
- OXO Silicon Spatula Set
- Parchment Paper
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer
- Wire Cooling Rack
- Set of Cookie Scoops (1 Tbsp, 2 Tbsp, 3 Tbsp)
Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies
- Mixing Bowls
- Half Sheet Pans
- Stand or Handheld Mixer
- Parchment Paper or Baking Mat
- Cooling Rack
- 2 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour (280 grams)
- ⅓ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature (½ cup or 1 stick)
- ¾ cup White Sugar (150 grams)
- ¾ cup packed Light Brown Sugar (150 grams)
- ½ teaspoon Peppermint Extract
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 cup White Chocolate Chips
- ¾ cup crushed Candy Canes (see note)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 177°C.
- Line sheet pans with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat. (Note: Don’t bake these cookies directly on the sheet pan because the crushed candy canes will melt and stick to the pan.)
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add both sugars and continue to mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add peppermint extract and eggs and mix on low until eggs are fully incorporated, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Add the dry ingredients to the mixer a little at a time. Mix on low just until everything is combined.
- Add white chocolate chips and mix just until they are evenly distributed in the cookie dough.
- Pour crushed candy canes out into a shallow bowl.
- Use a Tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop up the cookie dough, rolling each portion into a ball. Press the top of each ball of dough into the crushed candy canes.
- Place the cookie dough onto prepared sheet pans with the crushed candy canes facing up, leaving a few inches between the cookies. Bake until the cookies just barely set in the middle, 9-10 minutes.
- Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.