Chocolate Marshmallow Surprise Cookies

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Surprise your friends and family this holiday season with homemade Chocolate Marshmallow Surprise Cookies! -soft and fluffy chocolate cookies with gooey marshmallows baked on top and then hidden under a layer of rich chocolate glaze.

surprise cookies

For the annual “12 Weeks of Christmas Treats,” I love looking through cookbooks and the Internet for holiday cookies inspo. I stumbled upon Martha Stewart’s Surprise Cookies and decided to give the recipe a shot. They were amazing. My family thinks these may be the best Christmas cookie I have ever made, and I’ve made A LOT of Christmas cookies.

These quick and easy surprise cookies are a great addition to any holiday cookie tin. The chocolate cookie base is rich, tender and chewy on the inside and lightly crisped on the outside, which is fantastic on its own. However, when you bite into a chocolate surprise cookie, you’ll find an ooey-gooey marshmallow center hidden by a delicious chocolate frosting. I’m confident this is going to be your new favorite cookie recipe. Enjoy!

ingredients for surprise cookies



  • Flour: acts as the structure of the cookie and helps make a soft and chewy texture.
  • Cocoa: gives these cookies all of their indulgent chocolate flavors. For an even deeper, chocolatey taste, you can use dark chocolate cocoa powder.
  • Baking Soda: acts as a leavening agent and helps create a light, fluffy cookie.
  • Salt: helps make sturdy and stable cookie dough and enhances the pleasantly sweet flavors.
  • Butter (room temperature): adds flavor, density and structure. Softened butter will give you a soft, chewy cookie, while melted butter will give you a more cakey texture.
  • Sugar: makes the cookies sweet and encourages the cookie batter to spread as it melts during baking.
  • Egg: adds moisture, richness and flavor. Egg also adds structure, creating a cohesive cookie with a lightly crisped surface.
  • Milk: adds moisture and flavor.
  • Vanilla: enhances all of the flavors from the rest of the ingredients. Use a high-quality vanilla extract for the best flavor.
  • Marshmallows (cut in half): aka the SURPRISE! Halved marshmallows are tucked into each cookie and hidden by a layer of frosting. Instead of regular marshmallows, you can use 3 to 4 mini marshmallows for each cookie


  • Confectioners’ Sugar: is finer ground than granulated sugar, so it dissolves quickly and makes a smooth, creamy frosting. I don’t recommend using a different kind of sugar here, as you may end up with glaze with a gritty texture.
  • Melted Butter: helps create a rich, velvety frosting that spreads easily over the cookies.
  • Cocoa: gives the frosting its decadent chocolate flavor.
  • Milk: dampens the dry ingredients to create a creamy frosting.
  • Vanilla: adds flavor.


  • Baking Sheets
  • Parchment Paper
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Standing Mixer
  • Ice Cream Scoop
  • Whisk

How to Make – The Steps

ingredients for surprise cookies in a mixing bowl

Step 1: Preheat oven and prepare baking sheet.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Step 2: Mix dry ingredients.

In a medium-size bowl, add cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix well to combine.

Step 3 Cream butter and sugar.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, add butter and sugar. Cream together until light and creamy.

Step 4: Combine dry and wet ingredients.

To the same bowl, add egg, milk and vanilla as well as the dry ingredient mixture. Mix well to combine, but do not overmix the batter!

Step 5: Drop batter.

Using an ice cream scoop, drop batter about 2″ apart on the parchment-lined baking sheets.

Step 6: Bake.

Transfer baking sheets to the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes (or until they spread and begin to rise but are still soft).

Step 7: Press in marshmallow.

Remove the cookies from the oven and press a marshmallow half into the top of each.

Step 8: Return to oven.

Place the cookies back in the oven for 2 more minutes to gently set the marshmallow into the cookie.

Step 9: Let cool.

Transfer baking sheets to a cooling rack while you make the frosting.

Step 10: Make the chocolate frosting.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, butter, cocoa, milk and vanilla until smooth.

Step 11: Frost cookies.

Once the cookies have cooled, spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each cookie to hide the marshmallow surprise, enjoy!

ingredients for surprise cookies in a mixing bowl

Tips & Tricks

  • Using room-temperature butter is essential to achieving a soft and chewy cookie.
  • Do your best not to overmix the batter. As soon as it’s combined and cohesive, it’s mixed.
  • Keep an eye on your cookies, especially during the last 2 minutes while the marshmallow is melting. The cookies and the marshmallow can overcook very quickly.
  • Make sure the cookies cool down before adding the frosting. If the cookies are too warm, the frosting may not stick as well to the top of the cookie.
surprise cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet

Why are Surprise Cookies So Good?

  • Quick and easy. These step-by-step instructions will show you how to bake perfect cookies.
  • These cookies are melt-in-your delicious.
  • Get the kids involved. They can press the marshmallow into the top of the cookie, but be careful -as they will be hot!
  • Customizable. You can hide so much more than just marshmallows in surprise cookies.
surprise cookies with marshmallows on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet

More Surprises & Variations

Switch up the surprise! Instead of marshmallows, you can hide nuts, candies, fruit, etc. in your cookies. The options are endless! Check out some options below:

  • Hershey’s Kisses: Any flavor kiss would be excellent here -milk chocolate, candy cane, hugs & kisses, etc.).
  • Fun Sized Chocolate Bars (sliced in half vertically): Hershey’s, Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, etc.
  • Mini Candies: Andes Mints, Reese’s Miniatures, York Minis, Caramel Bits, etc.
  • Nuts: Use walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds for a crunchy surprise.

Store-Bought Icing: To save yourself a couple of steps, you can use a store-bought cookie icing (however, making it from scratch is well worth it).

surprise cookies cooling on a cookie sheet

How to Store

Storing: You can store these cookies in an airtight container on the counter for 4 to 5 days.

Make-Ahead and Freezer Options

Freezing: The best way to store them is in the freezer. If you’re planning on freezing them, hold off on the frosting. Let the cookies cool completely and then store them in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let them thaw at room temperature before frosting.


Do marshmallows burn in the oven?

Yes, the marshmallows can burn and will burn quickly, so keep an eye on them.

How do I know when surprise cookies are done?

Before adding the marshmallow, pull the cookies from the oven when they’re slightly under-baked. They’ll continue to firm up when they go back into the oven with the marshmallows and as they cool.

What should the texture of surprise cookies be?

Your cookies should be soft and chewy in the centers with a lightly crisped and crackly surface.

surprise cookies on a counter with a glass of milk

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surprise cookies on a counter with a glass of milk

Surprise Cookies

Surprise Cookies – these are a favorite. A chocolate cookie base with a marshmallow baked into the top. Coated with a chocolate glaze to hide the surprise.
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Course cookies
Cuisine American


  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 12 marshmallows cut in half


  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla


  • Mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop, drop batter about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Take the cookies out and press the marshmallow half into the cookie. Put the cookies back into the oven for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Make the frosting by whisking together sugar, butter, cocoa, milk, and vanilla. Top with frosting and cover the marshmallow.
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