Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies Recipe (2024)

By Vaughn Vreeland

Updated Dec. 22, 2023

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies Recipe (1)

Total Time
1½ hours, plus 2 hours chilling
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour, plus 2 hours chilling
Read community notes

These spiced and spicy cookies, chocolaty and brimming with molten marshmallow, are a terrific treat to keep you warm in the colder months. The dough itself is imbued with cinnamon and a bit of ground cayenne, a combination commonly found in Mexican hot chocolate that also gives these cookies a flavor reminiscent of the holidays — and a slight kick when you least expect it. The marshmallowy interior provides a wonderful chew and maintains a pillowy soft texture, even after a few days in an airtight container. Make sure to freeze the marshmallows fully to give the cookies their hallmark ripple of white peeking through their sparkly chocolate exterior. (Otherwise, the marshmallows will dissolve into the cookies as they bake.)

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Yield:20 to 24 cookies

  • cups/192 grams all-purpose flour
  • ½cup/51 grams cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 1teaspoon baking soda
  • 1teaspoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
  • ½teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 3teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½cup/113 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • cups/305 grams light brown sugar
  • 1large egg, at room temperature
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Mini marshmallows, frozen solid
  • ¼cup/50 grams granulated sugar

Ingredient Substitution Guide


Make the recipe with us

  1. Step


    In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cayenne and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.

  2. Step


    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla. Beat until creamy, 2 more minutes. Add flour mixture. Beat on low until no dry spots remain, about 1 minute.

  3. Step


    With a 2-tablespoon (1-ounce) cookie scoop or tablespoon measure, scoop dough into mounds on a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight. Freeze marshmallows, if you haven’t already.

  4. Step


    When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Add granulated sugar and remaining teaspoon cinnamon to a small bowl.

  5. Step


    Remove half of the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes if the dough is very stiff. Take a mound of dough and flatten slightly in the palm of your hand. Pile 5 frozen mini marshmallows on top of the flattened dough, then bring the outer edges over the marshmallows to envelop them. Roll into a ball and then roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Place on the baking sheet, 3 inches apart.

  6. Step


    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating halfway through, until cookies puff slightly and bits of molten marshmallow peek through the surface. Cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough and marshmallows. Cookies will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.


  • Balls of dough (not coated in cinnamon sugar) can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container. To bake, thaw for 5 minutes at room temperature, roll in cinnamon sugar and bake for 13 to 15 minutes.



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Cooking Notes

Jess Bee

Holiday cookie baking pals, please note the 3 teaspoons of cinnamon in the recipe are *divided* - 2 teaspoons for the cookie dough, and 1 teaspoon for the cinnamon sugar rolling mixture. I’m not sure why the NYT Cooking house style doesn’t always indicate dividing within their lists of ingredients, but I wouldn’t want anyone feeling Scrooge-y over cinnamon confusion!


Better assembly approach: portion out the just-mixed dough and form it around the frozen marshmallows. Bake directly from the freezer, adding 1-2 minutes to the baking time. Easier, simpler, & better shaped cookie. As others said, the cold dough is frustrating to work. It cracks, and if you don't seal the cracks over the marshmallows, the cookie unravels and becomes a blob shape (instead of roughly circular) and the marshmallows end up on top as they bake.


I've made this recipe twice now and the dough always gets too hard when I put it in the fridge. Then it just gets crumbly and breaks apart when I try to put the marshmellows in. Tried a third time, skipped the fridge step and voila.


I divided the room-temperature dough into 35-gram round portions, flattened them to fill with the room temperature marshmallows, then chilled them in the fridge, before rolling them in the cinnamon sugar and putting them into the oven. They came out looking identical to the recipe photo. I just didn’t want to frustrate myself with attempting to wrap cold dough around quick thawing mini marshmallows. I’m loving all of these unique cookie recipes that add some variety to the usual cookie lineup.


I prepped the whole cookie - with room temp dough, and room temp marshmallows, and then froze overnight. They were easy to assemble. Pulled them out first thing in AM, left them out for about 15 rolled in sugar and baked. They turned out beautifully.I decided to go for 1/4 tsp cayenne since I was giving them to a family with small children. The first bite - I was “not too much heat”, second bite I realized it was there. I was happy with the 1/4 tsp, it was just enough.

Elise Mugabo

Super delicious, but way to spicy for my weak children! Next time, I'd do it with half (or less) of the pepper. Otherwise, a huge hit.


Cookies will keep about 10 minutes unguarded.


These are fairly fiddly to make. Frozen marshmallows thaw way before tray of cookies are filled. I'd try standard-sized marshmallows cut in half next time instead of minis; would be easier to insert. Flatten dough balls before refrigerating and only take out 2-3 at a time. The heat of your hand will allow them to form a cup to deposit marshmallows (5 was 1 too many to envelop). I'd also mix in a little sea salt into cinnamon sugar before rolling and stick in fridge for 20 mins before baking.


Mexican hot chocolate, like Abuelita, has its own sugar content not to mention cinnamon. You'd be altering the balance of ingredients. If you're just experimenting have at. When I bake I try to follow what's written the first go at a recipe (though there is no way I'm putting a half teaspoon of cayenne into a cookie dough!).


Made as directed minus cayenne. Cinnamon adds nice enough kick. Used Vegan frozen mini marshmallows from Whole Foods. Cookies look like picture and taste great. I portioned dough into scoops night before, refrigerated and took out 6 at a time. Smushed flat with palm of hand. Pressed 4 marshmallows in middle and then rounded into ball with the MMLows inside.


Would it be possible to freeze globs of marshmallow fluff instead of using marshmallows in this recipe? I'm vegetarian and veg marshmallows are hard to come by/expensive. Fluffernutter is vegetarian!

Wendy P

I accidentally added all the cinnamon into the recipe. They still tasted delicious! I appreciate a recipe where it still is fabulous even if you read the recipe wrong. Haha!


When does the other half of the dough come out of the fridge? Not mentioned in the recipe!


These are outstanding. I agree with an earlier poster. Assemble the cookies at room temp and then freeze. When I made a couple using the method in the recipe everything warmed up to quickly, so had to pop into the freezer for an hour or so. The other thing discovered is to not roll the entire ball in the cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon sugar on the bottom caramelized, which made it difficult to off the baking sheet even with using a silicone.

re: veggie cookie swap

Does this recipe work with vegan marshmallows instead? thanks.


These were delicious--however, the stated baking time was far too long. I made 24 cookies (the high end of the suggestion) and froze the unbaked cookies. The low end of the suggested time for baking from frozen of 13 minutes resulted in absolutely hammered cookies, with the marshmallows completely melted and unseen. Even baking directly from frozen, 10 minutes (or even less) was the correct baking time to get those bits of marshmallow peeking through and visible.


I have now made these quite a few times with several variations. 1/4 tsp of cayenne seems perfect. King Arthur Measure For Measure gluten free flour subs in perfectly. I've found vegan marshmallows don't melt even without freezing but are a little less gooey. I do refrigerate the dough balls to "hydrate" per the video instructions, but use half vegan and half frozen regular marshmallows, four mini mallows total. I put the former dough balls in the fridge for ten minutes before baking.

Coffee grinder

Best cookies I've ever made. I followed the advice of most comments & rolled the cookies into balls w/unfrozen marshmallows then refrigerated for 2 hours & baked.


I cut the cayenne in half because I am sensitive to it. I still get the heat. Cooked perfectly in 10 min. Turned the tray at 5 min.


Chilled dough is difficult to work with. Stuff them, shape them, then freeze. If I’m baking a casserole, I pop 6 cookies on a qtr sheet pan at the end. Delicious. For the cayenne, 1/8 tsp was perfect for our taste.


Really delicious cookies, absolutely recommend making these! I followed user comments and didn't chill the dough or freeze the marshmallows which worked really well. If the dough gets too sticky, just pop it in the fridge for a couple of minutes


I had so much fun making these cookies. Took me back to my first experience with an easy bake oven watching with excitement as the cookies bloomed with creamy, gooey marshmallow lava. The flavor combination is perfection. This recipe is a KEEPER! 5*****

jk note

It’s delicious but the marshmallows melted in my cookies

J Lin

These cookies were a hit at holiday parties! I skipped the marshmallows; they made the cookies spread unevenly and look misshapen. Without em, they make excellent chocolate crinkle cookie and are super pretty. Chill the dough, covered, to allow everything to hydrate. Scoop and freeze—bake from frozen and add 2-3 min baking time. And measure the cayenne with your heart.


I would agree with a lot of the others that the cold dough did become very crumbly and difficult to wrap around the marshmallows. Next time I make them the plan is to make the dough and freeze the marshmallows. Add the frozen marshmallows to the warm dough and bake immediately. I also found they needed about 2 minutes longer than it said. I made these for a party and they were incredibly popular!! I will say a handful of people thought they were too spicy so maybe keep that in mind.

Cookie Baker

These turned out a bit dry and hard to work with, so when reattempting, I would consider having a bit of milk on hand if the dough proves difficult.

Corin B.

Use brown sugar!


I think the half teaspoon of cayenne is just nuts. I used 1/4 teaspoon or ground chipotle pepper instead. It lends a slightly smoky taste to the chocolate and the heat is just a mild hint at the end. I also substituted turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw) for the 50g of granulated sugar that is mixed with cinnamon which the dough is rolled in prior to baking. It makes for an attractive and tasty adjustment.


I wish NY Times allowed 1/2 start. I thought this was better than a 4 (99% of Times recipes seem to be 4 star), but not quite a a 4.5 for me!I assembled 100%, then put all 24 balls on a baking sheet and covered. Popped in the fridge for a few hrs. took out 8 at a time and placed on parchment covered baking sheet. at 11 minutes they looked exactly like the picture. I agree that refrigerating the dough first would have made assembly nearly impossible.

Ellen R.

I was excited to try this new cookie with the 5 stars rating, I used Guittard cocoa and everything, followed directions to a T. I’m very underwhelmed and I don’t understand why anyone would give these 5 stars. I’m not throwing them out but I just don’t get it…

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Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies Recipe (2024)


What is different about Mexican hot chocolate? ›

Mexican hot chocolate contains spices like cinnamon and chili and chopped bittersweet chocolate to create a very rich but less sweet flavor. Whereas traditional American hot chocolate is usually made with a combination of cocoa powder and/or chocolate and tends to be more on the sweet side.

Why does Mexican hot chocolate taste better? ›

Mexican hot chocolate includes various spices, including cinnamon, cloves, and ancho chili pepper. These ingredients give it a unique flavor that is sweet and slightly spicy. The chocolate used in Mexican hot chocolate is typically dark chocolate, which has a higher cocoa content than milk chocolate or white chocolate.

Why is Mexican hot chocolate gritty? ›

It has a noticeably grainy texture because it's processed only to the “liquor” stage, before it's poured into the disk-shaped molds to cool and harden. Classically, it's flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. To make the drink, this solid chocolate is broken into pieces, then just melted into a pot of hot milk.

What is Snoop Dogg cookies? ›

Snoop Dogg's peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe - His original cookie features creamy peanut butter and semisweet chocolate morsels, making it the perfect indulgence this holiday season. #

Why does abuelita hot chocolate taste different? ›

Mexican hot chocolate has a different taste than other hot chocolates, as it has a bold chocolate taste and incorporates spices and flavors like cinnamon. Its unique tablet form creates a frothy and rich drinking experience.

Why is my abuelita hot chocolate grainy? ›

Mexican chocolate is sold in round disks (called tablets), with triangular markings (like pizza slices) to show where you can break it up. It has a noticeably grainy texture because it's processed only to the “liquor” stage before it's poured into the disk-shaped molds to cool and harden.

What do they call hot chocolate in Mexico? ›

It's champurrado season! Just in time to make for Christmas or New Years Eve. Champurrado is a warm, thick, and comforting drink during the fall and winter seasons. It's made with Mexican chocolate, milk, cinnamon, piloncillo (raw cane sugar), and corn flour.

What did the Aztecs call hot chocolate? ›

The Mayans called the drink “chocolhaa” (“bitter water”) and Aztecs called it “Xocolatl.” From those words eventually evolved the word “chocolate.” Cacao was used in special celebrations such as those for funeral rituals, war, or harvests.

What did the Mayans call hot chocolate? ›

Mayans worshipped xocolatl (or bitter water) made with crushed cocoa, cornmeal and chilli pepper. Their drinking chocolate cup of choice? Large vessels with spouts, coveted, yet not so practical.

Why is there white stuff in my hot chocolate? ›

It's called “bloom.” It's the fat or sugar that's separated from the rest of the chocolate. Temperature changes and humidity can cause it, as can the age of the chocolate.

What is the white stuff on my hot chocolate? ›

Sugar Bloom

“The moisture dissolves the sugar in the chocolate and when it evaporates, the sugar crystals re-solidify into those tell-tale spotty white dots and chalky appearance on the surface.”

What is a substitute for chocolate de Abuelita? ›

Replace the Mexican chocolate called for in your recipe with an equal amount of semisweet chocolate or cocoa powder. Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and, if you like, a drop of almond extract for every ounce of chocolate.

What are penguin cookies? ›

These adorable treats are enough to bring out the kid in anyone. The classic Oreo® is covered in rich white and milk chocolate and carefully decorated to look like an adorable penguin. Absolutely the cutest way to enjoy milk and cookies, and they make a memorable dessert or holiday gift for the kid in all of us.

What is a blondie vs cookie? ›

You can think of them as the cocoa-less cousin of brownies (which, I also have a best brownie bake off). Blondies characteristically include melted butter for chewiness (vs. creamed butter used in most traditional American cookies), which is the principal feature that sets them apart from say, a cookie cake.

What are disco cookies? ›

Disco biscuits, slang for several recreational drugs: Methaqualone or Quaalude, popularised in the 1960s. MDMA or ecstasy, popularised in the 1980s.

What makes Mexican chocolate different? ›

Mexican chocolate is made with cacao, sugar, and cinnamon. It boasts a grainier texture than other types of chocolate thanks to all of the extra added sugar. While cacao nibs, sugar, and cinnamon form the base of traditional Mexican chocolate, you may also see it made with almonds, vanilla, or even chiles.

Why does Mexican chocolate taste different? ›

Mexican chocolate should taste intense and have a rustic texture. Its flavor is due to the fact that the cacao beans are simply roasted and ground into a liquor, whereas a lot of European-style chocolate takes things a step further, using a conching machine to aerate the chocolate liquor and mellow out its flavor.

Why is it called Mexican hot chocolate? ›

It Started in Mexico

As early as 500 BC, the Mayans were drinking chocolate made from ground-up cocoa seeds mixed with water, cornmeal, and chili peppers (as well as other ingredients)—a much different version from the hot chocolate we know today.

Is Mexican chocolate different from American chocolate? ›

Mexican chocolate tends to have a more rustic presentation, its texture, unlike other chocolates, is more granulated thanks to the addition of sugar and spices which are not as fully refined as commercial chocolate. This chocolate is characterized by more explosive and strong flavors.

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