Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups

This easy cookie recipe for Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups is made with Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough. They’re filled with chocolate ganache and have a pretzel handle!

Hot Chocolate Cookie CupsI checked the weather and read that there are multiple Alberta Clippers on the way. I’m not even sure how that is possible but it looks like several of the northern states could have blizzards. For those of you who don’t live in a northern state, Canada or the North Pole, the definition of a blizzard is: A severe snowstorm caused by strong, sustained winds of at least 56 km/h (35 mph) and lasting for a prolonged period of time – typically three hours or more. Sound like fun? Not so much!

What do we do during a blizzard or severely cold weather? We stay home and keep warm, of course. We also bake, play board games, drink hot chocolate and get cabin fever. Once again, for those of you who live in warm climates, cabin fever is: irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter.

But it’s not all bad, definitely not! I love living in Minnesota. On the days that are warmer, we enjoy our time outdoors. We go sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. We build snowmen, have snowball fights and go for walks in the snow. If the weather gets really warm, like 38 degrees last Sunday, a good percentage of native Minnesotans walk around without their winter coats! Sounds crazy but 38 degrees feels warm when you compare it to -21!

Pillsbury Test Kitchens BakingThese Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups are perfect for cold winter days. I made them for the first time in the Pillsbury Test Kitchens! I first imagined making these cookies at the beginning of December. I was doing a little brainstorming about recipes to make in January and February. What came to mind was cold weather and hot chocolate. I wanted to try making a hot chocolate cake, hot chocolate cheesecake and hot chocolate cookie cups so I made a list on my iPhone. Then, when I was at the Pillsbury Test Kitchens and was given the challenge of making my own cookie, I remembered my list and decided to give these a try. These 4 pictures are from my day in the test kitchens.

Here are more of my pictures from my day with the Pillsbury Holiday Bloggers.  While in the test kitchens, we made appetizers and then cookies. You can view the pictures in the slideshow above (if it doesn’t show up right away, refresh the page), or go directly to the album to see my photo captions and to leave comments by going here: Pillsbury Test Kitchens

Chocolate GanacheTo make the hot chocolate cookie cups, I started by putting 1 tablespoon of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough into greased mini muffin tins. (Update – an optional step would be to roll the sugar cookie dough balls in granulated sugar before putting them into the mini muffin tins to help prevent sticking.) I baked them for 12-14 minutes at 375 degrees. Allow the cookies to cool completely in the pan before gently removing them. Next, I made chocolate ganache by bringing the whipping cream to a boil. After quickly stirring in hot chocolate mix, I poured the hot cream over semi-sweet chocolate chips and let it sit for 3 minutes. Then, I stirred the mixture until the chocolate chips were melted and the ganache was smooth.

Hot Cocoa Cookies Pretzel HandleI broke off the loops on some mini pretzels to use as handles. I melted a little white chocolate and used it to attach the pretzel handles to the cookie cups.

Cup of Hot Chocolate CookiesSpoon the chocolate ganache into the cookie cups and top with mini marshmallows. Enjoy the Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups with a cup of real hot chocolate!

4.5 from 17 reviews
Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24
  • 1 package Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons hot cocoa mix
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • 12 mini pretzels
  • 1 cup Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits
  • *optional - granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put 1 tablespoon of the sugar cookie dough into 24 greased mini muffin tins.
  3. *Update - an optional step would be to roll the sugar cookie dough balls in granulated sugar before putting them into the mini muffin tins to help prevent sticking.
  4. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 375 degrees. Allow the cookies to cool completely in the pan before gently removing them.
  5. Make the chocolate ganache by bringing the whipping cream to a boil.
  6. Stir in the hot cocoa mix.
  7. Pour the hot cream over the semi-sweet chocolate chips and let it sit for 3 minutes. Then, stir until the chocolate chips are melted and the ganache is smooth.
  8. Break off the loops on some mini pretzels to use as handles.
  9. Melt the white chocolate and use it to attach the pretzel handles to the cookie cups.
  10. Spoon the chocolate ganache into the cookie cups and top with mini marshmallows.
  11. For best results, store the hot chocolate cookie cups in the refrigerator.

December 2014 Update with Additional Notes, Photos & a Video:

Cookie Cups Indentations

Question #1 How To Form Cookie Cups - This recipe can be made with or without forming the sugar cookie dough in the pan.

  • Leave the dough as a ball and it will puff up while baking and sink when removed from the oven, leaving a “dip” for the ganache. This is the EASIEST method and it is how I made my Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups.
  • If you make an indentation in the sugar cookie dough ball before baking, it will still puff up while baking and sink when removed from the oven, leaving a “dip” for the ganache.
  • The straighter the sides of the mini muffin pan, the straighter the side of the cookie cups will be.

Sugar cookie cups

  • To make a bigger “cup” to fill with ganache, you can use a small cup (like a medicine cup) to make an indentation in each cookie, after removing them from the oven. WARNING – when you press the cup into the soft cookie dough it can pull away or tear the cookie dough on the sides of the cup leaving small gaps.
  • You may need to make additional ganache if using the method.

Cookie Cup Cut Out

Question #2 Cookies Overflow & Spread – Use a small cookie cutter (mine is 2 inches in diameter) to cut away the extra cookie immediately after taking them out of the oven.

Question #3: Cookies Stick In Pans -I’ve made sugar cookie cups using Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough many, many times using different pans, from different brands, in different kitchens and have not had issues with them sticking, but several of you have. So, I wanted to offer some suggestions and share this video I made while making Eggnog Cookie Cups.

  • When I made the Eggnog Cookie Cups, I rolled the sugar cookie dough in a granulated sugar and cinnamon mixture before placing it in the cups. As a test, I did some with the sugar and some without. The ones with the sugar came out of the pan easier than with ones without the sugar.
  • If the cookie cups are only a little bit stuck, try using a thin knife to gently pry up the edges.
  • Remember, mini muffin pans vary by brand, materials used to make the pans and the age of the pan. If determined to make this recipe, but have issues with the cookies sticking, you could try a silicone mini muffin pan or even try mini cupcake liners.
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  1. I made these and found that using Crisco was probably best to grease the mini muffins pan with. Also coating the dough with sugar helped.They popped out of the pan with ease. I have gotten so many compliments on how delicious they really are. These will be my Christmas cookies that I will be making every year.

  2. Hi, thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. Im planning to make these for Christmas but I’m not sure if i have time to make these the night before. If i make them tonight on the 23rd and keep them in the fridge (covered of course) will they be alright for Christmas?

  3. What kinda of hot cocoa must be lidquick or dry?

    • I used the powdered kind but you can also make these and leave the hot chocolate mix out. Just use the chocolate chips and cream.

  4. I can’t get my cookies tall. Mini muffin pans just make a disc. Help!

  5. Belle recette mais je suis en france et quelle recette je peux adapter pour la pâte à biscuit car je n’ai pas vos ingrédients, merci

  6. Mary McShea says:

    Just finished making these and they are adorable. I need them for tomorrow – should I wait to put the mini marshmallows on top until then?

    • The marshmallows stick better if you add them before the ganache before completely. Enjoy! ~Tonia

    • I enjoyed making these cuties!! I used lots of Crisco to coat my pans and rolled my dough in sugar and cinnamon. They just about fell out of the pan! I used “dipping chocolate for the “handles” which worked fine, it does work much better once it has cooled. I found that adding the marshmallows right after pouring in the ganache makes them stick better!!!

  7. I made these today for a cookie exchange and they were a hit. It did take a little time to get my handles, but it was overall easy. I did use the tips suggested by author and people in comments which made the cups pop out of the pans with no problem. They looked good and tasted better.
    1. I used precut cookie dough
    1b. I used crisco as demonstrated in video
    2 I placed the squares in a ziplock bag of sugar and cinnamon
    3. Used a TBS to make an indention before I baked
    4. Once I dipped the pretzels in chocolate and attached I briefly placed them in the freezer for the chocolate to harden to hold the handles. You could actually pick it up by the handle

  8. These are yummy. Have made them twice and have had rave reviews both times.

  9. These look so adorable…. Im surely going to try them his Christmas!!

  10. Used Pillsbury cookie dough (preformed squares), sprayed sheet with Pam, rolled in sugar, pushed center down with handle of ice cream scoop. Baked 9 minutes. Came out perfect. I do need to practice with the handles a bit but these were a lot easier than I thought.

  11. How much sugar and cinnamon did you mix together to roll the dough balls in? Thanks!

  12. These are adorable! And shockingly easy. I just whipped a batch out for a Christmas party tomorrow, and they’re AMAZING not only in presentation, but in taste as well. I’ve been beating people off them to have any for tomorrow. You’re genius!

  13. Thanks for the recipe They are so cute

  14. Today is Dec. 20th. Can I make them today and freeze them? IF not, how long will they last in the fridge?

    Thank you,


    • Hi Debra,
      Are you wanting them for Christmas Day? Yes, I would store them in the freezer because the sugar cookie part might start to dry out in the fridge. Happy Baking!


  16. I don’t have a mini muffin pan, I there an alternative something i can use instead?

  17. Hi! I am unable to find the Pillsbury sugar cookie dough in Canada, I was wondering if you had an alternative sugar cookie recipe? I have a recipe from my mother but I was wondering if you wanted the finished cups to be chewy or crumbly?

  18. Get the heck out of town, Tonia. These are the cutest things EVER! Your photos are beautiful too. Great job!!

  19. These would be perfect for next week. Such a cute idea!

  20. These are the most precious treats ever! I think the cuteness definitely makes them worthwhile!

  21. How adorable are these?! I love the little pretzel handle and mini marshmallows on top!

  22. I just made these and they turned out great! I actually used mini cupcake paper a,nd they came right out with no sticking (I did let them cool completely in the paper). Thank you for the great recipe!!

  23. I live in MN too!! These cookie cups are adorable and I bet they taste just as good as they look! Yum!

  24. I didn’t know you lived in Minnesota! My family lives near the Mall of America so I’ll be back visiting them next week! I hope there is NO snow :)

  25. Made these for my husband to take to work, they were easy and lots of fun. (Everyone at my husbands office loved them) Now my daughter wants some for her Christmas party and my son wants some to take to work. :)

  26. Hi, can’t wait to try these! Can I freeze them?

  27. What a great idea for a holiday cookie exchange – so clever, Tonia!

  28. what a CUTE idea!! I’m gonna try it and even if it doesn’t work, we are gonna have fun trying! Thanks for something new and Merry Christmas!!

  29. Doris Payne says:

    Why doesn’t the picture print when the recipe is printed?

    • Hi Doris,
      I set it up that way to help readers save on ink. Do you need a version with the picture? I can try to send one to you.

  30. Where did you purchase the mallow bits?

    • I bought them from Target.

    • Doris Payne, you can paste to MS Word and then save the image (picture) and add it to the MS Word Document.

    • I bought mine from 7-11 they carry them for their hot choc……I just bought a small coffee but instead of filling it with the coffee i filled it with the marshmallows …. the cashier didnt seem to mind so yay easy enough !

  31. I just tried making these. There is no way you used store bought cookie dough in the pictures you posted. Just no way. Store bought turns out either undercooked or a nasty brown. I understand you want to make the recipe accessible and you think it will see more so if you say you use store bought, but I just wasted my time and money on these when you could have just written the recipe the way you actually made it – with homemade cookie dough.

    • I just made them with the peppermint sugar cookie tube in a well sprayed pan, and they came out just great! Thanks for a cool recipe!

    • I beg to differ, D.j.
      I make sugar cookie fruit cups every summer using store bought cookie dough and they turn out wonderfully every time. Look at all of the successful comments. You seem to be the only one complaining. Don’t accuse the author of lying and then blame her for your own shortcomings.

  32. I see that you said they are best enjoyed fresh, however, do they have to be refrigerated? I would like to make them tonight and take them to a cookie exchange in the morning. Is leaving them out overnight not a good idea?

    • There is cream in the ganache so it is up to you. When I made them in the Pillsbury kitchens, I brought them back to my hotel and they sat in my room overnight and we still ate them the next day. Enjoy! ~Tonia

  33. Has anyone tried to use instant chocolate pudding instead of the ganache? Would the pudding be too much?

    • I have not tried that, but I think they would be delicious! I would suggest adding the pudding right before serving so that the cookies don’t get soggy. ~Tonia

  34. I want to make these to take to my son’s school Christmas party. About how much does this recipe yield?

  35. How well do these hold up? Can they be stored or should they be consumed immediately? Thank you!

    • They hold up pretty well if stored in the fridge but, like most baked goods, they taste best when fresh. Enjoy! ~Tonia

  36. Has anyone tried to make these with gluten-free cookie dough?

  37. Do you shape the dough to the pan to get the ‘cup’ shape?

    • Hi Christine,
      No, I didn’t. I just put the dough balls in the greased mini muffin pan and baked them. The dough puffs up as it cooks and fills the cups. Happy Baking!

    • Watch the video—it explains exactly how to get the cup shape…

  38. I was so excited to make this but it didn’t work for me : ( The store was out of Pilsbury dough so I bought the generic kind… maybe that’s why it didn’t turn out. The sides of the cups were too thin and had holes in them after it set when I took it out of the oven. What do you think?

    • I think you didn’t use enough dough in each muffin tin. Try increasing the size of the ball you put in there and you should be alright

    • I also got a lot of holes in mine using Pillsbury dough. Sealing them with a bit of cooled white chocolate worked wonders and prevented the chocolate ganache from leaking out. Of course, if you used enough dough in the first place you should be fine :) good luck!

  39. Hello, I am interested in making these and I was wondering what brand of hot cocoa mix to use? Thank you in advance! :)

  40. I made these for a cookie exchange and they were a hit. I won most creative cookie. I did roll the doll in suger. I used the pampered chef 24 mini muffin tin and no problems with the cups sticking. I also agee with the other comments be very generous on the white chocolate so the handles stay on.

    Thank you for this cute recipe!

  41. I just made these this evening and thought they were a lot of fun to make. I made a double batch, sprayed the muffin pans with PAM, and also rolled the sugar cookie dough in sugar….It worked beautifully. They popped right out once they cooled and were ready for the ganache. I bought a white chocolate candy Santa, microwaved him til he melted, stirred it and waited for it to cool and get thicker then used that to stick the ears onto the cups…worked like a charm. I will definitely use this recipe again, and thank you!!

  42. These were such a great idea. Others have commented about issues with sticking and I did not have this issue at all. They popped right out after I let them cool a few minutes. I then moved them to the cooling rack to completely cool. I did make a small thumbprint indentation to make sure it would work…it did. Although they puffed up during baking, I used a small cup as suggested to make the indentation once baked. I found that using a medicine cup with a rounded edge worked best as it did not “cut” the warm cookie. The handles were tricky but we figured it out. We took the advise of another reader who recommended dipping chocolate. EXCELLENT RECOMMENDATION. The dipping chocolate does need to sit a bit so it’s “stickier.” Freshly warmed chocolate was too loose and we found ourselves holding the handles in place until the chocolate stiffend. As the chocolate cooled, it was much easier to work with. Also we took the bottom half of the pretzel off so we could break the top two halves in two and have more surface area to adhere the handle. Be generous with the chocolate or your hands will fail. I plan to try this again with my own sugar dough to see if my recipe can hold up to requirements. Thanks for the recipe. It was fun to do!

  43. OK, my “12 minute” initial prep time was really 60 but I did make a double batch. I used Wilton non-stick mini pans sprayed with butter Pam. I did roll one pan-full in sugar and that came out easier but not perfect. It’s been 3 hours now and I can’t stand on my feet anymore. These are cute, tasty, but not worth the time compared to other impressive and delicious cookie creations. Sorry… This one’s a thumbs down for me.

    • Maybe you just can’t bake D.J? I just wasted MY time reading a useless review. Hate when ppl blame their own shortcomings on ppl who are nice enough to share free recipes!

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