For many of our Thanksgiving breaks during my childhood, we loaded up our suitcases into the minivan, packed the backseat full of books, and drove 8 hours to my grandparents’ house in San Diego. We spent the majority of the week there, sometimes splashing in the waves on the beach, sometimes riding pedal cars on Coronado, and always playing a week-long game of Monopoly.
The day after watching the Macy’s parade and eating my weight in mashed potatoes (now replaced by these beauties), we popped on a holiday movie like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Around dinnertime, we drove around town looking at Christmas lights and singing carols along with the radio.
We usually wove around the neighborhood streets nearby, but one year, my grandparents suggested that we did something special and drove around the fairgrounds, where the city had set up an elaborate display of twinkling lights, including a long tunnel to start the racetrack. They choreographed all of the flashing lights to music that we could play through the car’s radio.
We tried to leave the house early, just as dusk began to set, but we still had to wait in a long line of cars at the fairgrounds. When we reached our turn and Dad started to hand over the money, the teenager accepting it asked if we’d like a sample.
“A sample of what?” Dad inquired.
“Starbucks peppermint hot chocolate!” the guy replied.
So we each took a condiment-sized cup filled with the drink and passed them around the car while we circled the track. With the light mint background and rich chocolate flavor, I think all of us agreed that we always wanted peppermint in our hot chocolate from then on! (And yes, I’ve never ordered plain hot chocolate since!)
These Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookies are that exact same drink turned into dessert! Sweet mint, rich chocolate chips, and itty bitty marshmallows all mixed into my favorite chocolate cookie dough. They’re so decadent that we just might leave them out for Santa this year!
The recipe is very easy and straightforward. No butter and sugar to cream, no chilling required. From the time you start until you take your first bite, barely half an hour will pass!
To make the cookie dough really rich, we’ll use a 2:1 ratio of flour to cocoa powder. With that much cocoa powder, you get an intense chocolaty flavor, and it always fools people into thinking that the cookies are regular indulgent treats, not healthy or low calorie! We’ll also add cornstarch, which absorbs moisture in the dough and helps keep the cookies soft. Don’t skip it! A mere ½ teaspoon is all you need.
To make the cookies extra special, we’ll add in both miniature chocolate chips and itty bitty marshmallows. I used Kraft’s mallow bits, which I found on the hot beverages aisle near the coffee and hot chocolate. Only mix in half! Save the rest for pressing into the tops of the cookie dough just before baking. It gives them a cute and inviting look!
Do NOT overbake these cookies! You want to pull them out of the oven just a tad bit early; then let them cool longer on the warm baking sheet. This is my #1 secret to soft & chewy cookies. If you underbake them ever so slightly, it keeps the cookies soft for an entire week—if they last that long!
I ate one of these Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookies as a pre-run snack a few nights ago before heading out around the neighborhood. The entire time I jogged, I could still taste a hint of that chocolate and peppermint flavor. I couldn’t wait to get home to eat more!
And now the whole batch is gone. Oops…