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Surprise Cookies

To stack cookies, wait until frosting dries, then place waxed paper in between the layers to keep the frosting from smearing.

  • Yield: Makes about 2 dozen
Surprise Cookies

Source: Martha Stewart Kids, Winter


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally
  • Chocolate Frosting for Surprise Cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.

  3. Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes.

  4. Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begin to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

  5. Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered.

Cook's Note

Putting two sheets in the oven at a time? Since hot air rises, switch top and bottom sheets halfway through for more even baking.

Reviews (57)

  • fotou_b 15 Apr, 2014

    These are my favorite cookies! And everyone who tasted them loved them too.
    I added a few chocolate chips in the cookies and have a soft and crunchy feel at the same time!
    It is the best recipie for the ones who love chocolate.

  • jenniferlynnarndt 17 Dec, 2013

    Yummy & rich! Tips based on my experience - 12 fit on a full size sheet pan, they don't melt down flat so don't worry about them sticking together. I baked for 9 minutes, put the marshmallow on each (press it in a little), then another 2-and-a-half minutes for the marshmallow to soften. To flatten it more, I pushed down on it a bit with my fingers, a spoon would work too! I used my hand mixer for the frosting, still has little tiny lumps so I topped with chocolate sprinkles. Cake-like & yummy!

  • aprilhinks 3 Dec, 2011

    The reviews were helpful and they came out delicious! Thank you!

  • Brendalouwho 16 Nov, 2011

    After reading problem others had with dry cookies, I underbaked to 9 minutes, put the marshmallow on and baked only another minute.

    For the frosting, I sifted the sugar and cocoa, added the vanilla and melted butter and beat with hand mixer. I added milk gradually, beating well and it was smooth and glossy.

    I made them for a bake sale, but I had to sample one. It was very cake-like, almost like a mini cupcake. Will definitely make these again.

  • grantbird 15 Nov, 2011

    I make these but I use Betty Crocker double choc. chunk cookies mix. Great! Everyone loves them and they do not last long enough to even put in the refrig.

  • ladychef818 15 Nov, 2011

    Great cookies but I tweaked a bit. I added 1 tsp. of instant coffee to the batter. Just makes it more chocolatey (doesn't taste like coffee) and I didn't make the icing. I made chocolate ganache (semi sweet chocolate with a bit of cream) and poured it over the cookies on a rack. They were like homemade Mallomars. Very decadent and EASY! Will make tons for Christmas.

  • wtfsara 17 Oct, 2011

    i absolutely LOVED this recipe! i did put them in the refrigerator right after drizzling the frosting on them so they would set. they came out wonderfully!

  • pclemson 20 Apr, 2011

    This cookie was easy to make, looked delicious, however I was a bit disappointed with the dryness of the cookie.

  • lichking 31 Mar, 2011

    I think these taste even better if you use salted butter, or add a pinch of salt!

  • mesadarcy 21 Mar, 2011

    Do these need to be refrigerated? I figure yes, since there is milk in the frosting.

  • SylviaSAS 20 Mar, 2011

    The Surprise Cookies are delicious. My grandson who loves marshmellows thought they were FAB. Easy to make! Frosting was OK, bu I made a frosting of ganache, it was fast, easy and better.

  • pwinterton 16 Mar, 2011

    Great recipe! Everyone loved these cookies, adults just as much as kids.

  • mom24 4evermom 1 Mar, 2011

    I'm really having a hard time figuring out what all the fuss is about. I did not find the recipe difficult at all, I used my milk and egg straight from the fridge, the butter was room temp as specified. I did not sift the powdered sugar or the cocoa in the frosting, and I had no lumps.

    I would not be scared off by the negative reviews. My family pronounced these absolutely wonderful and I'll be making another batch tomorrow for Cub Scouts. Definitely a keeper.

  • coffeegirtl088 28 Feb, 2011

    Everyone has loved these cookies. The frosting came out looking like chocolate cottage cheese. To remedy this I put it in a saucepan and gently heated it while constantly whisking. The frosting became smooth and glossy. Note: When the frosting cools in the pan it will become difficult to spread, just reheat.

  • annie_cz 25 Feb, 2011


  • tmmolnar 24 Feb, 2011

    This can be a hard recipe to make. The milk needs to at room temp or warmer. I also find it super sweet. I like to dip them in coconut to add a little over the top touch

  • OT1Kanobi 21 Feb, 2011

    These were fantastic! I used chocolate marshmallows and chocolate cream cheese frosting. I found the marshmallows got softer the longer they sat. They remind me of the Pinwheel cookies that my grandmother used to buy.

  • mbelliveau 11 Feb, 2011

    I love these cookies. I make a small indentation in the cookie and put some seedless raspberry jam and place the marshmallow on top. I've also tried caramel, orange marmalade and strawberry jelly but I find that the raspberry goes best with the chocolate.

  • Jenhil 31 Dec, 2010

    These are a disaster. They are not attractive, the cookie is too dry and not tasty and they take too long to make.

  • starysky 24 Dec, 2010

    Complete success! The whole thing is amazing! FYI each batch only yields about 30 cookies or so... It is a little time consuming due to the different layers of the cookie, but totally worth it!

  • tiffany7781 17 Dec, 2010

    I would not make these again. Cookie is not very tasty or appealing to the eye. Rather embarrassed to even serve them.

  • tiffany7781 17 Dec, 2010

    I would not make these again. Cookie is not very tasty or appealing to the eye. Rather embarrassed to even serve them.

  • ejohnson 13 Dec, 2010

    I LOVE them! They're my new favorite Christmas cookie! The frosting did turn out lumpy; so, I'll know next time to sift all the dry ingredients. These cookies won't be making it through the week-I may have to make more soon!

  • pdx_kitchen 12 Dec, 2010

    I really like the concept of these cookies....I thought the frosting was way too sweet on top of a sugary marshmallow. If I were to make again, I would use a barely sweet chocolate cream cheese frosting instead, and reduce the cocoa in the cookie itself.

  • springbaby 7 Dec, 2010

    BelleD - I did sift both, several times, and the lumps were still there. Thanks for the suggestion, though. :)

  • BelleD 28 Nov, 2010

    to "Springbaby" - Try sifting both your cocoa and confectioners sugar. The is usually some small lumps in sugar, especially.

  • anniequinn 26 Nov, 2010

    I've made these several times and they are always a hit. My daughter doesn't like marshmallow so I leave a few without and just put icing on them. We make some as teachers' gifts for Xmas and they are always a hit. I like to make smaller ones using a small ice cream scoop and put 2 mini marshmallows on top. Bite size yummies... Very yummy!

  • springbaby 22 Nov, 2010

    No, no, no. The recipe was a disaster. I made the frosting twice and it was lumpy each time. Everything was at room temperature (and I'm not an amateur baker). Just the cookies with the marshmallows is NOT satisfying or delicious. Embarrassed to even serve these to my husband.

  • BTStars 6 Jan, 2010

    I LOVE this recipe!! I made 3 different types of cookies for Christmas and this cookie was the first one to run out!! I will definitely be keeping this recipe in my cookie book. Santa will be enjoying these cookies for years to come ;)

  • myke43 14 Nov, 2009

    If you use Dutch process cocoa powder the flavor
    will be much richer and more chocolately.Mykele

  • kristiew 14 Oct, 2009

    Does anyone know how long these will stay "fresh"? I want to make them for a cookie exchange. Thanks!

  • shalau 5 Oct, 2009

    I cut the large ones in half then put cut side down

  • myke43 4 Oct, 2009

    So like my Mom's special chocolate cake with big mashmellows and
    thick chocolate frosting.......I love these cookies......Mykele

  • sammy12384 4 Oct, 2009

    These cookies were so delicious! I used 3 miniature marshmallows instead of big ones.

  • therockchild 5 Jul, 2009

    These were super easy to make! They also tasted wonderful!

  • perkeyjm 7 Apr, 2009

    These cookies were amazing! One of my favorites! A Reese Cup is a great idea for an alternative to the marshmallow!

  • mattafer 22 Feb, 2009

    I bet you could use a peppermint patty or mini reese cup...any sort of smallish candy treat. I am not a marshmallow fan, but my son is, so I am going to try these!

  • maryjo martin 15 Feb, 2009

    I made these over the summer, and found them ok. I am not a huge marshmallow fan, and I know this is the reason why. I think I will try this again with some sort or carmel- my homemade version. Moulder2008- if you do not want to take the time to make carmels, what if you try a carmel piece of candy? I think I would place them on a plate and microwave them to get a little soft before the 2 min in the oven as store bought are typically pretty tough. I think it would be wonderful!

  • moulder2008 10 Feb, 2009

    Does anyone have an idea as to what I could subsitute for marshmallows? I really don't like them very much, but I love the idea of the "surprise."

  • emank27 9 Feb, 2009

    WOW, these cookies are sooo good! My family ate them up extremely fast. I should have made a double batch. These cookies came out so much better than I thought they would... I will definitely make these again soon. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • perkeyjm 3 Sep, 2008

    I made these for a Labor Day Party and everyone loved them! They were fairly easy to make too! Definitely one of my favorite cookies!

  • Balia 19 Aug, 2008

    I made these and at first I didn't think I'd like them but they are awesome! My husband even loves them

  • Cherylhar 14 Aug, 2008

    I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, and when I was young my mother made these exact cookies, but used evaporated milk in place of the regular milk for both the icing and the cookies--we called them "chocolate mountain cookies".

  • muggsysue 7 Aug, 2008

    I made these and they are delicious, easy and fun.

  • pottedpear 3 Aug, 2008

    I thought these cookies were easy to make. I would cut the first bake time down to 8 minutes and then add the marshmallows and bake for 1 1/2 more minutes. We like underbaked cookies! I don't think they are highly flavorful, but they look great and people like them. The frosting is good. You could add mini chocolate chips to the dough or cinnamon or chili pepper to perk them up abit.

  • deezblock 1 Aug, 2008

    suggestion for printing--highlight recipe- copy and paste into a word program and print .voila!!

  • winnie1 1 Aug, 2008

    I made these cookies for a lunch meeting for my husbands work place. They were a big hit ! I absolutely love the frosting on these cookies and plan on using it on some other cookies as well. They really were very easy and soo much better than using store bought !

  • jeweel5912 1 Aug, 2008

    An easier version of these is to use chocolate chip dough that you buy, bake then put a half marshmallow on top.....then melt some chocolate candy coating(in microwave) and then spoon on top of that. With the candy coating, they don't really stick to each other after setting up either!
    Just another, easier and MUCH faster version.......and my family loves them!

  • LeslieHall 1 Aug, 2008

    Please try these...they are our favorites out of the dozens of great kinds of cookies my husband makes (his hobby)! Several of us can't eat dairy, so he substitutes non-dairy and they are perfect!! We have a couple left in the kitchen right now!

  • mgiles 1 Aug, 2008

    These are a pain to make...and don't taste all that special. Not worth the trouble.

  • princessmaya 31 Jul, 2008

    very easy to cook, everyone love it

  • cmacosta 27 Jul, 2008

    Love these cookies!!! They are very easy to make and freeze well. The frosting is delicious!

  • briana101 12 Jun, 2008

    I made these for my Freshman Spanish class and every one loved them, they were the first to go! Honestly I didn't sty them but from what I can tell they were delicious!
    And they were super easy to make the hardest part would have been frosting at the end just wanting to get the perfect effect.

  • cgc1955 6 Apr, 2008

    I'm getting what "Gumshoe" is getting, nice picture with comments, but no recipe? What's up with that???

  • GUMSHOE 6 Apr, 2008

    Help. I can not get the recipe up. Nice picture but when I click on print, no recipe.

  • susiemarie23 31 Mar, 2008

    These were amazing - moist and chocolately! A sure fave for the men in your life!

  • trarur 21 Mar, 2008

    I will make these cookies this year so I can add to girls cook books

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