After a big holiday meal I want nothing more than to cozy up on a warm couch to enjoy a smooth cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket; and usually a cute movie. There’s something about a large hearty meal that puts you in blissful coma state for a while. This recipe is designed to supplement that euphoric state you’re in. I’m sharing these Spiced Hot Chocolate Peppermint Cookies to enjoy this holiday season with your warm cup of hot chocolate. These perfect Christmas cookies are exactly as they sound, a spicy cup of hot chocolate in a chewy cookie; and they’re super adorable looking when you serve them. I wanted to call these Spiced Hot Chocolate Peppermint Cookies with Marshmallow Topping. Even though the name is more accurate, it think it would be too much of a mouthful.
These cookies are topped with marshmallow cream and crushed bits of peppermint candy. For the base you have a rich cocoa powder flavored chocolate cookie with a surprise kick. Peppermint extract adds more holiday mint flavor and the real secret is cayenne pepper powder. Bite into one of these spiced cookies and you’re left with a lingering heat reminiscent of true spiced hot chocolate.
The first batch I made was a tad too spicy, but some may prefer that. I’m writing the recipe with a slightly reduced amount, but for a stronger kick go with the extra cayenne pepper. These cookies are fun with the family as well. The cookies are simply made of a handful of mixed ingredients. Spread marshmallow cream on top and sprinkle with crushed peppermint flakes. You’ll end up with a snow-topped look to these Christmas inspired Spiced Hot Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.
Check out our Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup: 19 Yummy Desserts and Sides for more Fall and holiday inspired recipes.
For more chocolate recipes, check out our Swirled Vanilla Cheesecake and Chocolate Brownie Bars | Black Forest Brownies with Toasted Almonds | Double Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge Cake
Food Science and Cooking Tips:
- Cookies crack (giving it that wonderful visual texture) due to the moisture in the recipe. By balancing the baking temperature and the moisture, the outside of the cookie hardens and sets first. As the inside continues to cook, it expands and cracks the hardened top.
- Use a mallet or heavy object to crush the peppermint candies into small flakes (inside a ziplock back for easy cleanup).
Food Photography Tips:
I shot this in natural light at 1/100 sec, f/ 3.5, ISO 800.
I wanted the photography to have an elegant whimsical quality, and immediately communicate Christmas. Sometimes ingredients are your best props. The round peppermint candies were critical for creating the right mood. I stuck with red and white to make the cookies almost appear as if they were sitting on top of snow (the background is simply a paper towel); and wanted to stay clear of any greens in the photography. A candy cane prop in the background add visual structure. The simple shot of the peppermint flakes in the bowl creates a beautifully artistic image, and shows the process for that step of the recipe.
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Spiced Hot Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup baking cocoa
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon crushed cayenne pepper, double at most for more heat
- 1 cup marshmallow cream
- ½ cup finely crushed peppermint candies
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg and peppermint extract until combined.
- In separate medium bowl combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and cayenne. Slowly add dry mixture to creamed mixture. Mix until just combined, scraping sides with a spatula between.
- Form dough into tablespoons size balls and place on greased baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375º for 10-12 minutes.
- Place cookies on cooling rack. While cookies are still slightly warm, top with thin layer of marshmallow cream. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint flakes (see cooking tips section above for tips on this).