Black cocoa gives these thick bakery style chocolate M&M cookies a dark and intensely chocolatey flavor.
This is a small batch chocolate cookie recipe — it makes just 9 giant M&M cookies — and can be done in about 30 minutes with no chill time needed!
About This Recipe
When you want thick, chewy bakery style chocolate cookies and you don't have a lot of time, this no-chill chocolate M&M drop cookie recipe is exactly what you're looking for.
It is a combination of so many of my favorite things: lots of texturally satisfying mix-ins, a chewy texture that melts in your mouth, and three different types of chocolate.
With the shiny rainbow sweet milk chocolate M&Ms contrasting against the slightly bitter and intensely dark black cocoa cookie base, these chocolate M&M cookies are fun to look at, fun to make, and fun to eat.
Thanks to a small batch, no-chill cookie dough, this is a fast cookie recipe that makes 9 cookies in about 30 minutes (as long as you've remembered to soften your butter first!). And yes, that includes bake time.
Black cocoa powder might seem like a bit of a strange ingredient, but I promise it's worth it. The chocolate flavor here is so unique and more complex than you expect from a bakery style cookie.
Use the left over black cocoa to make my dramatic black cocoa crinkle cookies!
Here's what you'll need to make these giant bakery-style chewy chocolate M&M cookies! Most of the ingredients are easy to find, and I've linked places online to pick up anything you might have trouble finding in stores. See recipe card for quantities.
- Flour - Regular all purpose flour is fine here, but if you have store-brand/generic brand bread flour you could use that too. I use King Arthur Baking's all-purpose flour which has a slightly higher protein content (closer to bread flour) than most all-purpose flours. This helps give these bakery style cookies their super chewy cookie texture.
- Brown Sugar - Light or brown sugar will work here. Both types of brown sugar have molasses in them which adds flavor but also helps keep moisture inside the cookies and reduces the amount they will spread in the oven.
- Sugar - Plain granulated sugar. This helps the cookies spread and makes it easier to incorporate air into the butter.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - Sometimes called "Natural" cocoa powder. The box of Hershey's cocoa powder is just fine.
- Black Cocoa Powder - While you can use other cocoa powders here, if you want to achieve the dramatic deep dark chocolate color and flavor that makes these cookies so great, you'll want to get a true black cocoa powder. Not "dark" cocoa powder. Black cocoa powder. It's unlikely you'll find it in your grocery store, I recommend King Arthur Baking's Black Cocoa Powder which you can order online.
- Unsalted Butter - Salted butter will also work, though you may want to reduce the added salt in the recipe by half. You need it to be at room temperature but still slightly cool to the touch — not greasy or melty.
- Egg - As always, I use large eggs in all my recipes unless otherwise stated.
- Vanilla Bean Paste - Vanilla extract will also work here. Vanilla bean paste (I like Heilala's) has a slightly more intense flavor.
- Salt - I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt which half as salty as other brands. If measuring by weight, it doesn't matter what brand or type of salt you use. But if you're measuring by volume and using a different brand of salt, even a different brand of kosher salt, cut the amount of salt in half.
- Baking Soda - The chemical leavener for this cookie recipe. Make sure your baking soda is fresh!
- Mini M&Ms - You can usually find a "sharing size" bag of Mini M&Ms in the baking aisle, otherwise they are sometimes in the candy aisle with the rest of the M&M varieties. Using Mini M&Ms also does a fun optical illusion thing of making these already giant cookies look even bigger.
🍽 Mise en Place (aka "The Setup")
Mise en place is a French culinary term which literally translates to "putting in place."
It basically means: Measure all your ingredients and make sure you have all the right tools and equipment ready to go when you need them before you start working.
This can make a huge difference in how enjoyable you find the baking and cooking process and the success of your recipe!
Here's the mise en place you'll need for this recipe:
- Soften the butter. To quickly bring butter to a cool room temperature, microwave the wrapped stick of butter for 4 seconds per side then let sit out for 10 minutes while you measure the remaining ingredients. You want the butter to be soft but still slightly cool to the touch, not melted or greasy.
- Bring the egg to room temperature. Submerge the egg in hot tap water for 5-10 minutes.
- Mix the dry ingredients together. I know, it's annoying, but it will save you time later if you measure the dry ingredients together before you start mixing.
We're following our standard cookie making process here: cream the butter and sugars together, then add eggs and vanilla, followed by the dry ingredients.
The Mini M&Ms get stirred in last, always by hand; make sure you save a few to put on top of the cookies before baking.
Cream the soft butter and sugars together until lightened in color, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Then, add the egg and vanilla.
Continue mixing on medium-high speed until the egg and vanilla are completely combined and very fluffy. This should take about a minute — don't rush it!
One of the biggest baking mistakes people make is rushing these first two steps. Be patient here — this is your only chance to incorporate air into the cookie dough.
If you don't mix the butter and sugars long enough, your cookies won't spread as much as you want them to. Set a timer if you, like me, are bad at judging how much time has passed.
Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed — you want it to be smooth and fluffy without any streaks. (Pausing to scrape down the bowl has been factored into the mixing times.)
Don't worry so much about over mixing, it's pretty hard to do that at this stage. Once you add the flour you want to be much more cautious with your mixing.
Sift in the dry ingredients — flour, salt, baking soda, and both cocoa powders. Cocoa powder tends to clump, so don't skip sifting!
Mix on low speed with a hand mixer until you have a crumbly, dry looking mixture. Don't panic, it will combine when you add the mini M&Ms.
I wouldn't tell you to bother sifting your dry ingredients if it wasn't important. As much as I'd love to tell you it's an optional step, no one likes biting into a sneaky clump of dry cocoa powder.
Cocoa powder is less absorbent than flour, which is why the chocolate cookie dough will look super dry and dusty at first.
You don't want to over mix the dough, so stop the mixer when it still looks like a bunch of dry pebbles or big crumbs.
The cocoa powder will continue absorbing the moisture in the dough as you mix in the M&Ms with a spatula.
Save ⅛ cup of Mini M&Ms for later, and add the rest of the Mini M&Ms all at once. Fold the dough over itself to mix in the M&Ms.
Mix just until the Mini M&Ms are evenly distributed in the dough, but do try to avoid over mixing! Over mixing leads to tough cookies, and we don't want that.
Shaping and Baking Giant Bakery Cookies
The way you shape your cookies can have a big effect on how they bake up. I tested several different cookie shaping methods for these giant bakery style cookies.
This is the method that works best for getting chewy chocolate cookies that are evenly thick throughout.
Use a #20 (3 tablespoon) scoop to portion out 9 cookies. Roll them into balls. This compacts the dough for denser, chewier cookies.
Before baking, smush each cookie dough ball down to about half an inch thick. This will help them spread evenly as they bake.
Arrange the cookies on a lined sheet pan so they have plenty of room to spread out.
You want at least 2 inches of room between them, but you should be able to fit all 9 cookies on one sheet pan.
Top each cookie with more mini M&Ms. Then bake for 10-11 minutes at 350°F. They will be domed and look a little puffy and underdone.
Immediately after removing from the oven, use a round cookie cutter to scoot the cookies into shape.
PS - In most recipes I will tell you that scooting the cookies is optional or for aesthetic reasons only. For these giant bakery style chocolate cookies, scooting is not optional.
Just like in my chewy buttercrunch cookie recipe, scooting the cookies pushes the tapered edges in, giving the cookies an even thickness so they're chewy throughout!
How to Tell When They're Done
Don't worry if these chocolate M&M cookies look underbaked when they first come out of the oven. They will be domed and slightly puffy with smooth tops and tapered edges.
The cookies will continue baking while they rest on the hot sheet pan, and will settle down as you scoot them and then let them cool completely.
After about 5 minutes, carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely. I recommend using a thin, flexible fish turner spatula for this step.
If the cookies are still too delicate to move, leave them on the sheet pan until they're sturdy enough to lift.
Black Cocoa Powder and How to Substitute
Black cocoa is a type of Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder. Flavor-wise, think of Oreo cookies.
It's a strong flavor, a little more mellow than other cocoa powders, but distinctly chocolatey. Black cocoa powder is often used with other cocoa powders to add complexity and depth to the chocolate flavor.
As a Dutch-process cocoa powder, black cocoa has been treated (alkalized) to remove any acidity. Dutch-process cocoa powders exist on a spectrum based on how much acidity has been removed; black cocoa is the most alkalized and least acidic of the bunch.
In recipes that use baking soda, the acidity of natural unsweetened cocoa powder is often used to activate the baking soda. But black cocoa has been heavily alkalized and is not acidic.
In this cookie recipe, the baking soda is activated by the brown sugar and natural, unsweetened cocoa powder. Which means if you don't have black cocoa, you can substitute any other type of unsweetened cocoa powder you like, dutch process or otherwise.
NOTE: To get the closest approximation to black cocoa in flavor and color, you'll want an unsweetened dark Dutch-process cocoa powder.
You don't need a lot of fancy equipment to make these giant chocolate M&M cookies, but here's the tools and equipment I used and recommend:
- #20 Cookie Scoop - A #20 cookie scoop holds approximately 3 tablespoons of cookie dough. I recommend the cookie scoops with the thumb squeeze mechanism, rather than the type of scoop where you squeeze with your whole hand. The thumb squeeze cookie scoops are sturdier and less likely to break than the other ones, which are prone to misaligning.
- Wire Mesh Strainer - Cocoa powder is notoriously lumpy, and no one wants dry cocoa lumps in their cookies. You need to sift the cocoa powder. Hand crank or tin can sifters are archaic and painful to use. Wire mesh strainers are quick and easy and can be used for so much more than just sifting.
- Round Cookie Cutter Set - Perfect for scooting your cookies! Use a cutter that is just slightly bigger than the cookies. I like the set I've linked here because it's color coded and has the measurements for the rings listed on the lid.
- Kitchen Scale - You'll need a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients for this cookie recipe. It is the most accurate way to measure ingredients for baking, and will give you the best results. There is no standard weight measurement for "a cup" of flour, so online weight conversion calculators aren't necessarily accurate either. Using a kitchen scale will make you a much better and more successful baker.
- Cordless KitchenAid Hand Mixer - I used my trusty 7-speed cordless KitchenAid hand mixer for this cookie recipe. You can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, just be extra cautious not to over mix with the more powerful motor.
Storage Notes + How to Freeze
Store these chewy chocolate M&M cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. You can also freeze them after baking for up to 3 months.
To freeze raw cookie dough: Place flattened mini M&M-topped cookie dough discs on a lined sheet pan in the freezer for about an hour, then transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container or bag.
Chewy chocolate M&M cookies baked from frozen may not spread as much and will require an additional 5-7 minutes in the oven.
NOTE: For best results, defrost the dough balls overnight in the fridge, then let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
Practical Tips & Recipe Notes
- SALT: If using volume measurements for salt, 4 grams = approximately 1½ tablespoons of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt OR approximately ¾ teaspoons of table salt OR approximately ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt. Use weight measurements for best results.
- To help the cookie dough release cleanly from the cookie scoop, spritz it VERY LIGHTLY with non-stick spray before scooping. Repeat only as needed, not before every cookie.
- You can replace up to half of the mini M&Ms with mini chocolate chips if you prefer.
- If you don't have black cocoa, you can substitute natural unsweetened cocoa powder, but will get best results by using an unsweetened Dutch-process dark cocoa powder instead.
- These are great chewy cookies for making ice cream sandwiches!
Yes! Because they're a lot bigger, I recommend breaking them up a bit first. Save some whole to use on top of the cookies, but place the rest in a zip-top bag and whack them with a rolling pin or give them a rough chop with a knife. The cookies will spread a bit more with the bigger M&Ms and won't hold a round shape as well as they do with mini M&Ms, but you can always scoot them into shape when they come out of the oven.
Your butter was too warm! You want the butter to be at a cool room temperature (around 65F). Soft enough that you can make an indent with your finger, but not so soft that it feels greasy or slips out of your hands.
If your cookie dough is feeling very sticky and soft or greasy before baking, or is too soft and sticky to roll into balls, that's a sign that your butter is too warm. Pop the cookies in the fridge for 5 minutes before baking.
Yes! If you're using the smaller #40 cookie scoop (1.5-2 tablespoon) that I use for most of my drop cookie recipes, bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes instead. Follow the rest of the recipe exactly as it says. You will likely end up with 17-20 cookies.
Giant Chocolate M&M Cookies
- Hand Mixer (Or Stand Mixer with Paddle Attachment)
- #20 cookie scoop (3 tablespoons)
- 180 grams all-purpose flour
- 15 grams black cocoa powder
- 15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch cocoa powder)
- 5 grams diamond crystal kosher salt (see notes for volume measurements)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 113 grams unsalted butter (½ cup, at cool room temperature)
- 125 grams light brown sugar
- 50 grams sugar
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 1 cup Mini M&Ms (reserve ⅛ cup for topping the cookies)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Combine flour, cocoa powders, salt, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use mixer to beat cool room temperature butter until smooth and slightly aerated, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add both sugars, and beat again on medium to high speed until it is fully incorporated, lightened in color, and has about doubled in size. It might not quite smooth out, and will still be quite grainy. Be patient here — we need to incorporate quite a bit of air to help the cookies spread. This step can take 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl halfway through.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat again on medium to high speed light and fluffy, about 60-90 seconds. Scrape down the bowl.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Press any lumps of cocoa powder through the mesh to break them up. If any salt doesn't fit through the mesh at the end, that's fine, dump it into the bowl.
- Run the mixer on very low speed until the dry ingredients are hydrated but still fairly crumbly. There will still be some dry powdery bits in the bottom of the bowl. The remaining powdery bits will incorporate when you stir in the mini M&Ms so you don't overmix the dough.
- Add the mini M&Ms (reserve about ⅛ cup for topping the cookies) and switch to a spatula. Fold the cookie dough over itself to incorporate the M&Ms. It will seem like there are too many M&Ms at first, but I promise there is no such thing. Just keep folding and pressing the cookie dough over itself with the spatula until the mini M&Ms are evenly incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Use a #20 cookie scoop to scoop the dough, scraping any excess dough off on the edge of the bowl for precise measurements. Roll the dough into balls, then flatten them to about ½" thick. Arrange on a sheet pan about 3" apart. Press additional mini M&Ms into the tops of the cookies.
- Bake for 10-11 minutes. The cookies will look puffy and slightly underbaked when they're done. Let them rest on the sheet pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Optional: Use a 3" circle cookie cutter or ring to scoot the cookies into perfectly round shapes immediately after removing from the oven.
- SALT: If using volume measurements for salt, 4 grams = approximately 1½ tablespoons of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt OR approximately ¾ teaspoons of table salt OR approximately ½ teaspoon fine sea salt. Use weight measurements for best results.
- To help the cookie dough release cleanly from the cookie scoop, spritz it VERY LIGHTLY with non-stick spray before scooping. Repeat only as needed, not before every cookie.
- If using a smaller #40 (1.5-2 tablespoon) cookie scoop, bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes.
- If using regular sized M&Ms, chop them up a bit before mixing them in and use whole M&Ms to top the cookies.
- This recipe was loosely adapted from Handle the Heat's bakery style chocolate chip cookies.