They're sure to land you on the "nice" list for Christmas and beyond.

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three hot chocolate cookie cups topped with mini marshmallows and sprinkles
Credit: Jessica Furniss

When you think of winter treats, hot chocolate and sugar cookies are top of mind. That's why you're going to love these hot chocolate cookie cups! This holiday snack has the best of both combined into one bite-sized treat. Decorated to look like a mug of hot chocolate, they're sure to impress your friends and loved ones this holiday season.

I'll show you step by step how to make these adorable hot chocolate cookie cups using premade refrigerated sugar cookie dough filled with homemade chocolate ganache, and an even easier version using premade sugar cookie dough and a tub of frosting off the grocery shelf.

Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups

Makes 24 mini cookie cups

Ingredients and Tools

  • 1 packet Pillsbury Ready-to-Bake Sugar Cookie Dough (or you could use homemade sugar cookie dough)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bag mini pretzels (you'll need around 25-30 pretzels)
  • 3 tablespoons Nutella spread
  • 1 small bag mini marshmallows 
  • Sprinkles of your choosing
  • Baking spray (the type with flour in it)
  • 1 microwave-safe measuring cup 
  • 1 medium-sized mixing bowl and lid (a plate that fits the top of the bowl can be used in place of a lid)
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 mini muffin tin (this recipe makes a total of 24 cookie cups, so if your mini muffin tin is small you may do a few batches)
  • 1 icing spreader

Directions

First, you'll make the chocolate filling, then you'll make the sugar cookie pretzel cup to pour it in.

Chocolate Ganache Filling

pouring hot cream into chocolate chips to make chocolate ganache
Credit: Jessica Furniss
  1. Add chocolate chips to medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Pour heavy whipping cream into microwave-safe measuring cup. Heat cream slowly in microwave, in 10-second increments, until it's warm to the touch, but still cool enough to not scald you.
  3. Once the heavy whipping cream is warm, pour it over the chocolate chips. DO NOT STIR YET. It's important to allow the chocolate chips to melt before stirring.
  4. Cover the bowl that contains the heavy whipping cream and chocolate chips and allow it to sit covered for about 30 minutes. You want the chocolate chips completely melted before whisking.
  5. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and whisk together the chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream. If some of the chocolate chips aren't melted all the way, you may return the bowl to the microwave and heat at 5-second intervals. It's very easy to get the mixture too hot and scorch it, which will ruin the taste, so 5-second intervals is the longest you'll want to do at a time.
  6. Set aside the ganache and allow to cool while you move on to making the cookie cups.

Making Cookie Cups

Quick note: these cookies will rise and then immediately sink in the middle. Even though you're baking them in muffin tins, because of their higher fat content and lack of raising agents, you don't have to worry about them puffing up into muffin-shaped cookies.

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
  2. Spray the mini muffin tin thoroughly with the baking spray.
  3. Place one cookie dough piece into the center of each muffin cup. (If you're using homemade sugar cookie dough, use a mini cookie scooper or melon baller to scoop out about a teaspoon and a half of dough.) Be sure to keep the cookie dough chilled until the moment you start placing them in the baking pan.
  4. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until the edges of the cookie cups are golden brown.
  5. Being very careful, immediately turn the cookie cups out onto a cooling rack. 
  6. After they have cooled for about a minute, gently turn them right side up. The cookie cups will be delicate and easily broken, so be gentle on this step.
  7. During the baking process, the center of the cookie cups should have dipped, leaving a small indentation in the center of the cookies, which turns them into cups. If they didn't dip, you can grab a mini cookie scooper, melon baller, or even your thumb will work in a pinch, and very gently press down the center of the cookie cup until an indentation is formed. Do this while the cookies are still warm.
  8. Allow the cookies to cool completely, then move on to the next step.
using a small scoop to create an indentation in homemade hot chocolate cookie cups
Credit: Jessica Furniss

Filling the Cookie Cups

Now that the cookie cups and ganache have cooled, let's put them together!

filling hot chocolate cookie cups with chocolate ganache
Credit: Jessica Furniss
  1. Using an icing spreader, scoop out a small amount of the ganache and spread it gently into the center of the cookie cups to fill them.
  2. Next, add three marshmallows on top of the ganache, pressing them slightly into the ganache to make them look like they're floating on hot chocolate.
  3. Top with holiday sprinkles if you choose.

Adding Pretzel Handles

attaching pretzel handle to homemade hot chocolate cookie cup
Credit: Jessica Furniss
  1. Gently break the two longer round sections of each pretzel off until you have 24 pretzel mug handles for your 24 cookie cups.
  2. Dip the two ends of the little pretzel handles into the Nutella to act as glue.
  3. Gently press the pretzel handle to the cookie cup and set on a serving plate.
  4. The Nutella should be sticky enough to hold the pretzel handles in place, but if they fall off of the cookie cups, gently place them back on. 

You can serve your hot chocolate cookie cups immediately or store them in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve them. 

Shortcut Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups

For a quick and easy shortcut option you'll need:

Ingredients and Tools

  • 1 packet Pillsbury Ready-to-Bake Sugar Cookie Dough
  • 1 tub chocolate frosting
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows
  • 1 mini muffin tin
  • 1 icing spreader

Directions

  1. Bake and cool the cookie cups as instructed above. 
  2. Using the icing spreader, scoop out a small amount of the prepared chocolate icing and spread it gently into the center of the cookie cups to fill them up. 
  3. Next, add three marshmallows on top of the prepared icing submerging them slightly into the icing to give a more authentic look. 

These adorable hot chocolate cookie cups would be great as a snack as you enjoy time with your family decorating the Christmas tree and watching your favorite Christmas movies, as well as a treat on Santa's Christmas Eve plate!

You can also make them without the pretzel cup handles and holiday sprinkles, and serve them throughout the winter long after Christmas is over

homemade hot chocolate cookie cups topped with mini marshmallows
Credit: Jessica Furniss