The holiday season has passed. Lights and trees have come down (maybe? hopefully?), the sweaters have been put away, real life is starting to kick in again, and you probably still have some candy canes sitting out just begging to be eaten. But don't worry, I got you. These peppermint mocha cookies are the answer.

cake, candy, ice, chocolate, peppermint, cream
Kathryn Stouffer

Let's face it: candy canes are the true Ghost of Christmas Past. They come in boxes of twelve, and you've probably only gone through three candy canes. There are too many left to eat in a reasonable amount of time, but you spent money on those things, so you don't want to throw them away! In the event that none of these other uses suit your fancy, I challenge you to channel your inner coffee-lover with these awesome cookies.

Before you get kickin' on these peppermint mocha cookies, here's a quick note about cocoa powder. I have found that using cocoa powder containing Dutch process cocoa keeps the dough more firm (Hershey's Special Dark works great). You can surely use regular cocoa, but the dough will be softer and the cookies will come out of the oven flatter. I learned this the hard way. Here's a great article on why there's a difference. If you don't have Dutch process cocoa but don't want flat cookies, you can add a collective 1/4 cup of cocoa and flour to counteract it.

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

  • Prep Time:2 hrs 20 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Total Time:2 hrs 30 mins
  • Servings:30
  • Medium


  • 2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder Hershey's Special Dark works best
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely-crushed candy canes; about 5 regular-sized
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar to coat
  • Marshmallows to fill the cookies; slightly stale works best
  • Crushed candy canes as desired to coat
  • Instant coffee or espresso powder as desired to coat
Jayne Siudzinski
  • Step 1

    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, instant coffee, and salt. Set aside for later.

    Jayne Siudzinski
  • Step 2

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the oil, sugar, and crushed candy canes. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy (don't stress about candy cane pieces, they're part of the fun). This can also be done with an electric hand mixer or by hand if your kitchen isn't totally stocked.

    Jayne Siudzinski
  • Step 3

    Add eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed until combined. Do the same with the vanilla. Again, this can be done by hand.

    Jayne Siudzinski
  • Step 4

    Gradually fold in the flour mixture. Beat on medium-low or mix by hand to combine. The dough will not be as stiff as regular cookie dough, so don't be alarmed if it seems a bit too wet.

    Jayne Siudzinski
  • Step 5

    Cover the dough and chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge, up to 24 hours. If using marshmallows, put them in the freezer. Sounds weird, but this makes them easier to handle and less likely to dissolve into the cookie when baking (in my experience, marshmallows that aren't stale tend to dissolve more). Mini marshmallows will be usable as-is, but large marshmallows will need to be cut into eighths.

    Jayne Siudzinski
  • Step 6

    When the dough is thoroughly chilled, remove it from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add powdered sugar (mixed with crushed candy canes and/or instant coffee, if you so choose) into a shallow bowl or onto a plate.

    Jayne Siudzinski
  • Step 7

    Roll the dough into 1-inch balls with lightly-oiled hands. If using marshmallows, press one into the middle of the ball and close the dough around it. Roll each ball in powdered sugar and completely coat on all sides (this step can get messy; just embrace it). Place 2 inches apart on your prepared baking sheet.

    Jayne Siudzinski
  • Step 8

    Bake for 10 minutes, then let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Jayne Siudzinski

Voilà! You can keep these cute peppermint mocha cookies stored in an air-tight container for up to five days. You can also freeze them, or the dough, for three months.

Jayne Siudzinski

Recipe adapted from What's Gaby Cooking.