The final recipe in my healthier holiday baking series! And I hope you’re not sick of cookies yet because I saved the best for last! These simple but unique cookies are basically like biting into a cookie version of a Mexican Hot Chocolate. A soft and fudgy chocolate cookie with all the flavors of a Mexican Hot Chocolate: cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a hint of cayenne for a touch of heat. But then stuffed with melty chocolate and an ooey gooey marshmallow to really bring home the hot cocoa effect. These are pretty easy to make, but with their surprise hot cocoa inspired filling, sure to wow anyone lucky enough to try them. And while they may look and taste sinfully delicious, they are actually still on the healthier side!
What Is A Mexican Hot Chocolate?
These cookies are inspired by a Mexican Hot Chocolate. A “Mexican Hot Chocolate” is a basically like a hot chocolate inspired by the traditional beverage that communities like Mayans and Aztecs would drink, typically made from cacao and spiced with flowers and chilies. Later, as cinnamon became available through trade, it was added to the concoction. Chocolate and chile are two great ingredients that Mexico has given the world. The modern iteration of this hot drink though is basically a hot cocoa with vanilla, cinnamon, and chile powder, usually with lots of sugar and dairy. For more information on Mexican Chocolate, check out this post. These cookies take the flavors common to a Mexican Hot Chocolate and the popular additions of marshmallow and more melty chocolate, but with a healthier twist.
What Do These Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies Taste Like?
These cookies are inspired by the flavors of a typical Mexican Hot Chocolate, sweet and chocolatey but with a note of spicy heat at the end. The base cookie is a double chocolate cookie that has crisp edges and a soft and chewy interior. Basically like a delicious brownie in cookie form. The cookie is made with hefty dose of cocoa powder to make it deeply chocolatey and spiked with cinnamon and cayenne powder. The addition of cayenne creates a wonderful warming effect and is a delicious complement to the sweetened chocolate. And to give these cookies that classic hot chocolate effect, they are stuffed with cubes of dark chocolate and marshmallow to create a ooey gooey filling. These cookies are so fun and unique and sure to induce huge smiles to anyone who has the pleasure of biting into one. And if you don’t like a little spice with your chocolate, feel free to ditch the cayenne powder and make these Hot Chocolate Cookies! They will still be absolutely incredible.
What Ingredients Are Used to Make These Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies ?
These Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies are made healthier as they contained no refined flours or oils. They are paleo-ish because they are grain free, gluten free, and dairy free but because of the marshmallow they are not refined sugar free and therefore not strictly paleo. However, because the cookie dough is sweetened with coconut sugar, they can be made strictly paleo. See how below.
Here’s a look at the ingredients used to make these cookies and some ingredient subs/variations:
- Coconut Sugar – The best refined sugar free sweetener for baking. It adds the perfect amount of sweetness without feeling overbearing and is healthier than processed white or brown sugars found in most conventional baking recipes. I use and love the coconut sugar by Nutiva, it’s reasonably priced and excellent quality.
- Cashew Butter – To make these cookies dairy free but still super fudgy, I use cashew butter and avocado oil. Cashew butter has a neutral flavor which lets the cocoa and spices really shine. Feel free to sub, in equal amounts, for any other nut/seed butter you like, that preferably contains only one ingredients (no added sugars or oils). Other good options are sunflower seed butter (to make these nut free) or almond butter.
- Avocado Oil – To help crisp the cookies and give them extra moisture. Feel free to sub for olive oil or melted and cooled coconut oil. I buy the Chosen Foods Avocado Oil from Costco for the best pricing.
- Egg – To help puff the cookies. As there is only 1 egg, I feel confident in saying that these could be made vegan using a egg replacer, although I have not tested this.
- Vanilla – For delicious flavor.
- Cocoa Powder – The cocoa powder gives these cookies that deeply chocolatey flavor, so I highly recommend using a good quality cocoa. Be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder, not cacao powder or cocoa mix. Some brands that I love are Equal Exchange’s Baking Cocoa, Guittard’s Cocoa Powder, or Whole Food’s 365 Brand (what I used here).
- Cassava – To make these cookies grain and gluten free! Otto’s brand is best.
- Baking Soda – To make the cookies just a little fluffy but still fudgy.
- Cinnamon – A must addition to any good Mexican chocolate.
- Cayenne – Just a dash of cayenne for a bit of heat. I found that 1/8 tsp is the perfect amount to give a little note of heat at the end without feeling overwhelming. Feel free to use just a dash or omit completely if you are not a fan of chocolate and chile.
- Salt – To balance the sweetness.
- Dark Chocolate Cubes – Use your favorite chocolate for the filling. Some chocolate is formed in large cubes or rectangles, if that’s the case, cut them into (roughly) 1 inch cubes so they will fit well inside the cookie. I used Hu Simple Dark Chocolate with is sweetened with coconut sugar and so paleo-friendly. The bar comes is small cubes which I did not need to cut down.
- Marshmallows – The filling is stuffed with half a regular-sized marshmallow. I used a pre-made marshmallow from Whole Foods for convenience. Use any marshmallow that you like! Just be sure to slice it in half. Or, to really take these to the next level, make your own marshmallows! (See below for notes on this.)
How To Make These Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies Strictly Paleo:
To make these cookies strictly paleo, use your favorite paleo-friendly marshmallow recipe sliced into small squares, cubes of coconut or maple sugar sweetened chocolate (like Hu chocolate) for the filling, and additional chocolate chopped into chunks to use instead of chips for the top of the cookie dough. Or, skip the additional chunks entirely to lower the overall sugar content.
Using Homemade Marshmallows:
If I’m being honest, I have not found or created a paleo-friendly marshmallow recipe that I care for. I believe in balance, and for me, I rather enjoy the occasional good marshmallow than be disappointed by an unsuitable replacement. So, ideally, I would make a batch of my Healthier Homemade Marshmallows which are sweetened with cane sugar, to use as the filling for these. The recipe makes incredible fluffy and chewy marshmallows that taste better than your typical store bought variety and made with fewer, simple ingredients. If you want to really make these over the top, make your own marshmallows, cut into 1 inch squares and use those to fill these cookies.
How Do You Make These Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies ?
These Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies are so unique and fun because the filling creates a delicious surprise. The gooey surprise center makes these cookies seem incredibly impressive but they are actually super easy to make! The cookie dough comes together in a breeze and is easy to fill with the chocolate and marshmallow! There is some chilling involved, so be sure to plan ahead! Here’s a look at the steps.
- Whisk dry ingredients together in a small bowl, set aside.
- Mix the wet ingredients together.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet.
- Stir until just fully incorporated and a dough forms.
- Scoop dough balls onto a parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheet. The dough will be a little sticky, look a little rough (like this), and will spread a bit once placed on the baking sheet.
- Chill dough balls for at least 20 minutes. The longer the dough balls are chilled, the easier it is to add the filling.
- Fill the cookie dough. See step-by-step photos below. Flatten the dough out on the palm of your hand into a (roughly) 2 inch wide circle. Add a cube of chocolate, then half a marshmallow, in the center of the cookie dough round. Then close the edges around the chocolate and marshmallow.
- Place stuffed cookie dough back on baking sheet with the seam side down.
- Add additional chocolate chips to the tops of each cookie dough ball, if desired.
- Chill stuffed cookie dough for a minimum of 20 minutes, ideally 40 minutes or longer.
- Bake for just under 10 minutes. We bake these in a hotter-than-normal oven to give the cookies lift and limit spreading. This makes cookies with a crisp exterior while just melting the filling and keeping the interior fudgy.
- Enjoy! These are really best warm when the marshmallow is still gooey and the chocolate melty. These are also still incredibly delicious at room temperature when the flavors will be more noticeable.
These cookies will keep at room temperature, in an airtight container, for a day or so. Afterwards move to the freezer for longer storage. These are great at really any state, room temperature, straight out of the freezer, or pop in the toaster oven or microwave to enjoy them warm!
Make Ahead: As these are really at all their glory when eaten warm, just out of the oven, these can be assembled and stored in the freezer until ready to enjoy! If freezing the stuffed cookie dough for longer than 24 hours, just add another minute or so onto baking time, no need to defrost the cookie dough balls beforehand.
These Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies are so fun to eat and surprisingly simple to make! The added spicy heat creates a wonderful warming effect that is much welcome in these colder months. The ooey gooey, melty centers really make these feel like mug of rich hot chocolate we all crave come wintertime, but in cookie form! These cookies are seemingly indulgent but actually made better-for-you. They are the perfect cozy cookie for the holiday season and throughout winter. No matter when you eat them, they are sure to put instant smile on your face because they are pure joy.
paleo-ish (gluten/grain/dairy free)
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Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
Incredibly delicious, fudgy, chewy, and deeply chocolatey cookies spiced with Mexican chocolate flavors. Stuffed with gooey marshmallow and cubes of melty chocolate so it tastes like a sweet and a little spicy hot chocolate in cookie form. Omit the spice if you like to make these Hot Chocolate Cookies.
paleo-ish (gluten free, grain free, dairy free) & nut-free option
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (31 grams) not cacao powder or cocoa mix
- 1/4 cup cassava flour (36 grams)
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour (30 grams)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne powder optional
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar (114 grams)
- 1/4 cup cashew butter (63 grams) sub other thick & creamy nut/seed butter
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (61 grams) sub olive or melted and cooled coconut oil
- 1 egg large
- 1 tsp vanilla (4 grams)
- 9 1 inch cubes dark chocolate
- 5 regular marshmallows, cut in half widthwise
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips or chunks optional
Make sure there is room in your freezer for a baking sheet or plate. Line baking sheet or plate with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In a medium bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if mixing by hand, whisk together the wet ingredients until thick and creamy.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl once more during mixing to ensure ingredients are well distributed without overmixing.
Using a cookie scoop, ideally a 50 mm (about 3 tbsp), scoop 9 balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. The dough balls with look rough and spread out a little once scooped. Don't worry about shaping them into perfect balls.
Place scooped cookie dough in the freezer. Chill for at least 20 minutes. The longer the dough is chilled, the easier it will be to stuff.
Once chilled, fill the cookie dough by flattening a ball in the palm of your hand into a circle (approximately) 2 inches wide. Place a cube of chocolate in the center, followed by a marshmallow half, then fold the cookie dough edges over the filling to close the cookie. (See original post for step-by-step pictures.) Place the cookie dough, seam down, on the parchment paper.
Repeat above filling steps with remaining cookie dough balls.
Dot the tops of the cookie dough with additional chocolate chips if desired.
Place filled cookie dough balls back in the freezer, minimum of 20 more minutes, ideally 40 minutes or longer.
When ready to bake, heat oven to 400 degrees and prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes or until cookie edges are starting to turn a darker brown and the center has set.
Let cookies cool on baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.
Enjoy warm in all their melty gooey glory or at room temperature!
Storage: Store at room temperature in an airtight container for a day or so. Then move to freezer for longer storage. Enjoy as a frozen treat or reheat in the microwave or toaster oven to enjoy warm!
Make Ahead:These can be assembled and stored in the freezer until ready to enjoy! If freezing the stuffed cookie dough for longer than 24 hours, just add another minute or so onto baking time, no need to defrost the cookie dough balls beforehand.
Cashew Butter - Ideally use cashew butter in this recipe because of the neutral flavor. For best results, be sure to mix the nut/seed butter in the jar well before measuring. Do not use the compacted paste at the bottom of the jar. Other good options are sunflower seed butter or almond butter with no added sugars or oils.
To Make Nut Free - Sub cashew butter with sunflower seed butter. This may turn the cookies a slight green.
To Make Strictly Paleo - Use your favorite paleo-friendly marshmallow recipe sliced into small squares, cubes of coconut or maple sugar sweetened chocolate (like Hu chocolate) for the filling, and additional chocolate chopped into chunks to use instead of chips for the top of the cookie dough. Or, skip the additional chunks entirely to lower the overall sugar content.
Homemade Marshmallows - These would be amazing with homemade instead of bagged marshmallows. I love my Healthier Homemade Marshmallows for a cane sugar sweetened version. Cut homemade mallows into small cubes.
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