20 Christmas Desserts to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Desserts are my specialty in the kitchen, and I always volunteer to bring sweets to parties and gatherings. Taking my mind off stressors to bake and produce something to share with my loved ones is relaxing, and we could all use a bit of that right now! My dessert board on Pinterest is full of desserts of all kinds, and I found the 20 I thought would be perfect for all the events you'll be going to this season. ***NOTE: All the credit for these recipes, directions and pictures go to the lovely people from these websites, all the links will be below for you to reference and enjoy!***

 

Honeyed Pears in Puff Pastry

This dessert from Inspired Dreamer may seem complicated, but look at the finished product! These beautiful pears will be flaky and sweet, but light enough to indulge in right after stuffing your face at dinner. 

Ingredients

4 small pears; 4 cups water; 2 cups sugar; 1 cup honey; 1 small lemon, halved; 3 cinnamon sticks (3 inches); 6 to 8 whole cloves; 1 vanilla bean; 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Directions

Core pears from bottom, leaving stems intact. Peel pears; cut 1/4 inches from the bottom of each to level if necessary. In a large saucepan, combine the water, sugar, honey, lemon halves, cinnamon and cloves. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds; add bean and seeds to sugar mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; place pears on their sides in saucepan and poach, uncovered, for 18-22 minutes or until pears are almost tender, basting occasionally with poaching liquid. Remove pears with a slotted spoon; cool slightly. Strain and reserve 1-1/2 cups poaching liquid; set aside. Unfold puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Starting at the bottom of a pear, wrap a pastry strip around pear, adding additional strips until pear is completely wrapped in pastry. Repeat with remaining pears and puff pastry. Transfer to a parchment-lined 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile bring reserved poaching liquid to a boil; cook until liquid is thick and syrupy, about 10-15 minutes. Place pears on dessert plates and drizzle with syrup. Serve warm.

 

Brownie Brittle Peppermint Bark

Peppermint bark is a holiday staple, even for someone who doesn't like white chocolate (AKA me). It's crunchy and delicious, while also being easy to eat in small portions. This version from The Domestic Rebel involves BROWNIES which immediately takes it up a notch!

Ingredients

1 (10 ounce) package Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers (if you cannot find these, substitute with a package of candy coating); 1 package Brownie Brittle; 1 (10 ounce) package Ghirardelli vanilla melting wafers; 2 cups candy cane pieces

Directions

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In two medium bowls, melt the melting wafers separately according to package directions or until smooth and melted. Pour the dark chocolate in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Immediately top with pieces of the Brownie Brittle. Pour the white chocolate over the Brownie Brittle chocolate layer and spread out to the edges to coat the brittle completely. Immediately top with a liberal amount of candy cane pieces. Allow the bark to set at room temperature for about 30 minutes or in the fridge for about 15 minutes before cutting into pieces.

 

Mom's Best Peanut Brittle

While I wouldn't say peanut brittle is the dessert I'm searching for at my holiday parties, whenever it shows up I'm excited. I'm not sure I've ever had a homemade version, which makes this recipe from Real Life Dinner so tempting. Impress your family by bringing in a classic dessert no one will expect!

Ingredients

2 cups sugar; 1 cup Karo Syrup (light); 1 cup water; 2 cups raw peanuts; 1/4 cup butter; 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda; 1 teaspoon vanilla; extra butter for greasing cookie sheet

Instructions

Grease a cookie sheet with butter and set it aside. Combine butter, baking soda and vanilla in a bowl and set aside. Combine sugar, Karo and water in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until mixture spins a thread when drizzled from your spoon (sounds crazy but you'll know what I am talking about when it happens). Add peanuts and stir while cooking until mixture turns light brown (approx same color as a paper bag). Add the bowl of butter, baking soda and vanilla that you prepared and set aside earlier. Mix until butter is melted and mixture is foam-y from the baking soda, Pour out onto your prepared cookie sheet and use to forks to spread it out as thinly as you can (approx 1/4 inch). Let cool completely and use a butter knife to break it into pieces.

 

Homemade Lollipops

Making your own candy can be tricky, and you do need a candy thermometer, which makes this a bit more advanced for casual dessert-makers. But your loved ones probably won't judge you too hard if you mess them up a bit at first! These simple ones from Just a Taste are great for beginners to learn!

Ingredients

2 cups sugar; 2/3 cup light corn syrup; 2 teaspoons flavored extract, such as mint or vanilla; Assorted sprinkles or candy; Lollipop sticks; Candy thermometer

Directions

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat baking mats. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set it aside. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Attach the candy thermometer to the interior of the saucepan. Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the mix to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Using a small pastry brush dipped in water, wash down the sides of the saucepan to prevent crystals from forming. Boil the mixture for 5 to 7 minutes until it reaches 310°F (hard-crack stage) on the candy thermometer. Immediately transfer the saucepan to the bowl of ice water, carefully submerging the sides but ensuring no water seeps into it. Swirl the pan for 10 to 15 seconds to help the mixture cool then remove the saucepan from the bowl of ice water. If you're using an extract, carefully swirl it into the mixture immediately after you remove the saucepan from the ice bath. Working quickly, pour the syrup onto the baking sheets to form circles that are 2 to 3 inches in diameter (space the lollipops 3 to 4 inches apart to guarantee they don't run into each other). Immediately press in the lollipop sticks and sprinkle the lollipops with your sprinkles or candy, lightly pressing the garnishes into the syrup. Let cool completely until fully hardened then carefully peel the lollipops off the baking sheet.

 

Candied Orange Slices

Orange and chocolate is a combination you can't go wrong with. These candied oranges from Tastemade are so pretty you can pass them off as gifts for those people you aren't sure what to buy (if you don't eat them all first)!

Ingredients

1 navel oranges; 1 1/2 cups water; 1 cup granulated sugar; 4 ounces dark chocolate

Directions

Thoroughly wash the orange to get rid of any waxy residue. Slice off and discard the ends, and slice the rest of the fruit into 1/4 inch slices. In a wide pot, heat and stir water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Avoid stirring after this point to prevent crystallization. Bring to a gentle boil and add the orange slices. After 15 minutes, lower the heat to medium-low. Flip over the slices and continue cooking on low for another 15-20 minutes, until the peel becomes translucent and the syrup has thickened. Place a wire rack on top of a lined baking sheet, and transfer the candied slices on top to cool. Reserve orange syrup for other uses. Melt chocolate and dip slices halfway. Place slices on a parchment-lined tray and chill.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Lasagna

This is actually a recipe I've made several batches of, my family adores it! Don't let the word "lasagna" throw you off, this creamy and caramel-y layered treat from Delish is great for pumpkin lovers. 

Ingredients

2 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened; 1/2 cup sugar; 1 cup heavy cream; 2 cups whole milk; 3 (3.4 ounce) packages vanilla pudding mix; 1 cup pumpkin puree; 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; 12 graham cracker sheets; 1/2 cup caramel; Chopped pecans, for garnish

Directions

In a large bowl using a hand mixer or in the bowl of stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add heavy cream and beat until stiff peaks form. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, pudding mix, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice until smooth and thick. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese mixture in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with a layer of six graham crackers. Add half of pudding mixture and top with half of cream cheese mixture. Drizzle with half of caramel and repeat, ending with cream cheese layer (reserve remaining caramel until ready to serve). Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Drizzle with remaining caramel and garnish with pecans before serving.

 

Nutella-Raspberry Crescent Snowflake

Another winning combination: Nutella and ANYTHING. This pastry looks so intricate and professional, you might have trouble convincing people it's homemade! This Pillsbury recipe will have everyone happy and wanting a second piece.

Ingredients

3/4 cup Nutella hazelnut spread with cocoa; 2 ounce cream cheese, softened; 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream; 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam; 4 cans (8 ounce each) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dough sheet; 2 tablespoons powdered sugar; All-purpose flour

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Line large cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. In small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the Nutella, the cream cheese and whipping cream; stir until smooth. In another small bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup Nutella and the jam; stir until smooth. On parchment-lined cookie sheet sprinkled lightly with flour, unroll first can of crescent dough. Press or roll dough into 12x11-inch rectangle. Place 10-inch round dinner plate or cardboard circle on top of dough rectangle. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut away excess dough, and reserve for another use. Carefully spread half of the Nutella cream cheese mixture on top of the dough circle. Lightly sprinkle work surface with flour, and unroll second can of crescent dough. Repeat steps to cut out another 10-inch circle, and quickly transfer on top of Nutella cream cheese layer. Carefully spread Nutella jam mixture on top of the second dough circle. Lightly flour work surface, and unroll third can of crescent dough. Repeat steps to cut out another 10-inch circle, and quickly transfer on top of Nutella jam layer. Carefully spread remaining Nutella cream cheese mixture on top of third dough circle. Lightly flour work surface, and unroll fourth can of crescent dough. Repeat steps to cut out another 10-inch circle, and quickly transfer on top of Nutella cream cheese layer. Place a glass or small jar with 2 1/2- to 3-inch opening in center of dough circle stack. Leaving center intact, use sharp knife to cut layered dough into quarters. Divide each quarter into 4 equal parts, creating 16 total sections. Remove glass from center of dough. To twist, take two sections of dough (side-by-side), and slightly pull and twist each section in the opposite direction of each other. Repeat for all 16 sections of dough. Bake 27 to 30 minutes or until deep golden brown and baked through. Cool 5 minutes; sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

 

Christmas Crack

I've already told family I'm bringing this dessert to a party because it caught my eye as being salty and sweet, so there's something for everyone. Even though you are essentially making your own caramel, this Simply Recipes dessert is just that: simple!

Ingredients

28 to 35 saltine crackers (about one sleeve, enough to line your tray); 1 cup packed dark brown sugar; 1 cup unsalted butter; 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan with nonstick aluminum foil (preferred) or regular heavy duty foil, making sure that the foil completely covers the bottom and sides of the pan. If using regular foil, spray lightly with baking spray. Line the saltine crackers in a single layer on the bottom. Make the caramel sauce: Place the brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium sized saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the butter melts. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3 to 5 minutes, just until the mixture comes to a boil and starts to darken. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the hot brown sugar mixture over the saltine crackers. Spread to evenly coat the crackers. Move the pan to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. The caramel will be hot and bubbly. Melt the chocolate: Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook it in the microwave in 30-second intervals at full power, stirring between each cook time, until the chocolate has melted. Pour the chocolate over the baked crackers: Once the crackers are done baking, remove from oven and allow to cool for 1 minute, until the caramel is no longer bubbling. Then pour the melted chocolate over the crackers. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the top. Cool the crackers overnight: Let the crackers cool to room temperature then move to the refrigerator and cool overnight. "Crack" the crackers: The crackers will form a single sheet once cool. Remove from pan and gently peel the foil away, being careful not to tear the foil. (If any bits of foil tear and get stuck in the caramel, break those bits away and discard.) Cut the candy into snack-sized pieces using a chefs knife (you can use your hands, too, but I find it easier with a knife).

 

Eggnog Cheesecake Trifle

Trifles may have gotten a bad rep (thanks, Rachel from Friends), they're beautifully-layered masterpieces. This eggnog version is perfect for those who chug eggnog like it's water this time of the year. Inside Bru Crew Life has my heart with this recipe!

Ingredients

1 (16 ounce) package gingersnaps, chopped; 1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding; 1 1/4 cups eggnog; 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream; 1/3 cup powdered sugar; 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened; 1/2 teaspoon rum extract; 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg + extra for garnish; 6 cups fresh raspberries + 6 for garnish; 10 gingerbread boy cookies; mint leaves, optional

Instructions

Place a metal bowl and mixer blades in the freezer for 10-20 minutes. Whisk together the pudding mix and eggnog in a bowl. Place in the refrigerator. Pour the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar into the frozen bowl. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream into another bowl and place in the refrigerator. Drop the cream cheese into the mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Slowly add the chilled pudding to the cream cheese and beat again. Stir in the extract and nutmeg. Fold in half of the prepared whipped cream gently. Layer half the chopped cookies in the bottom of a trifle bowl. Top with half the raspberries. Place 8 gingerbread boy cookies standing up around the outside of the bowl. Gently spoon in half the eggnog mixture. Use a spoon to spread it out evenly. Repeat with the remaining cookies, berries, and eggnog cheesecake. Add the remaining whipped cream to the top of the layers. Top with raspberries, mint leaves, and gingerbread boy cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

English Christmas Trifle

Here's another trifle that's honestly more beautiful than me, courtesy of What a Girl Eats. She even puts in her notes that you can buy pound cake, canned pears and custard powder from the store to make it easier! 

Ingredients

1 vanilla bean split lengthwise; 4 cups heavy cream, divided; 6 egg yolks; 1/2 cup granulated sugar; Prepared pound cake about 12 ounces, crusts trimmed; 1/2 cup Marsala wine, or sherry; 1/2 cup Amaretto; 4 cups fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries; 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar; Fresh raspberries and mint leaves for decoration

Directions

To make the creme anglaise, in a small saucepan, bring 2 cups cream to a bare boil with vanilla bean, and scraped seeds over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until ribbons form. Gradually add 1 cup of the warm cream, and mix well. Add back to the pot with the remaining cream and stirring constantly cook over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the vanilla bean. Press a piece of plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool slightly. In a medium bowl, whip the remaining 2 cups cream with the confectioner's sugar. To assemble the trifle cut the cake into 1/2-inch thick slices to fit tightly into the bottom of a trifle bowl (or a 1 1/2-quart decorative glass bowl), and slightly up the sides about 1-inch. Drizzle or sprinkle the cake with Marsala and Amaretto. In a mixing bowl toss the berries with 2 tablespoons Marsala, stirring to bruise the berries slightly. Layer 1/3 of the pears over the top of the cake, then top with 1/3 of the creme anglaise, followed by 1/3 of the raspberries. Repeat the process, layering the remaining ingredients, finishing with the freshly whipped cream on top.

 

Hot Chocolate Cheesecake Dip

Another yummy dessert from Inside Bru Crew Life! This one is even easier since it's a dip that hardly requires any cooking. It's great for an appetizer, or just to have for yourself on a Tuesday night!

Ingredients

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened; 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt; 1/2 cup marshmallow cream; 1 cup powdered Swiss Miss Dark Sensation hot chocolate mix; 3/4 cup Cool Whip, divided; mini marshmallows, for garnish; crushed candy cane, for garnish; animal crackers, chocolate graham crackers, mini cookies, pretzels

Directions

Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the yogurt, marshmallow cream, and hot chocolate mix and beat again until light and fluffy. Fold in 1/2 cup Cool Whip gently until completely mixed in. Top with remaining Cool Whip, mini marshmallows, and crushed candy canes. Serve with cookies and pretzels. Keep refrigerated in a covered container. Makes about 2 cups.

 

Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip

Dessert dips are getting more popular, and it's recipes like this one that do it! Food, Folks and Fun has created one that tastes like gingerbread, AKA the best holiday cookie ever. Catch me dipping more gingerbread into this dip!

Ingredients

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened; 1/4 cup brown sugar; 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted; 3 tablespoons molasses; 1 teaspoon ground ginger; 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; dash nutmeg; 4 ounce Cool Whip (or 1 1/2 cups freshly whipped cream); Graham crackers for serving

Directions

Beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour in the sugars and molasses and beat on medium speed until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. Next add the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix until combined. Finally, add the Cool Whip and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer dip to a serving bowl and chill until ready to serve. Serve with graham crackers.

 

Rose Champagne Macarons

This is a super advanced recipe, even for those who enjoy baking difficult macarons! With so many steps and details, this is a recipe from Tastemade that you may need to practice, or at least give yourself lots of time to work on. But hey, it'll be so worth it in the end!

Ingredients

For the macaron shells: 300 grams ground almonds; 300 grams pure icing sugar (without corn flour added to it); 110 grams liquefied egg whites + 300 grams caster sugar; 75 grams water; 110 grams liquefied egg whites; Pearl Color mist (Wilton); Red color mist (Wilton); 2 drops deep pink Americolor food gel

For the frosting: 1 batch fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting; 2 teaspoons rose essence

For the rose champagne jelly: 400 milliliters rose champagne; 5 tablespoons powdered gelatin + 5 tablespoons cold water

Directions

For the rose champagne jelly: Add the gelatin and water to a mixing bowl and mix together until well combined. Allow to sit for 5 min. Microwave for 15 seconds to melt and set aside. Add the champagne to a large microwave safe bowl and microwave for 5 min. Add melted gelatin and mix until completely dissolved. If it doesn't dissolve completely, add to microwave for another minute and mix again. Transfer to a large baking tray and refrigerate for 4 hours (at least) Once the jelly is set, use a small piping tip to cut out circles of jelly. Set aside in the fridge.

For the macarons: Add the icing sugar and almond meal into a food processor and process until well combined. This will help get rid of any lumps in the sugar. Alternatively, you may sift the two together. This must be done at least 3 times. Empty the almond mixture into a large mixing bowl, add the first portion of egg whites and mix until it forms a paste. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Add the sugar and water into a small saucepan. Give them a very gentle stir to get them mixed together. Bring to a boil on medium high heat, then turn down to a simmer. Add a candy thermometer to the pot to help you measure the temp of the syrup. As the syrup bubbles away it will splatter small bubbles of sugared water on the sides of the pot. Use a pastry brush dabbed in a little water to brush those back into the syrup. This will help prevent the syrup from crystallizing. When the syrup reaches 115C, add the second portion of egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and start whisking them on medium/high speed to help break them apart and get them a little frothy. When the syrup reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites in a slow and steady stream. Whisk to stiff peaks for about 6 min. Add the COLOR and vanilla extract at about the 3 min point, whisk into the meringue for a couple of minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down, then whisk for an extra couple of minutes. When you can turn the bowl over and the meringue doesn't fall out, you know you've reached stiff peaks. Grab a spatula full of the meringue and fold it into the almond-sugar mixture, mix until well combined. This allows the mixture to thin out a little before you add the rest of the mixture. Fold everything together by going around the bowl with a spatula then through the middle (as demonstrated in the video). Continue folding until the batter gets thin enough that it drips off the spatula and falls in a ribbon. It should take about 10 seconds for the ribbon to disappear into the rest of the batter. That's when you know the batter is ready to pipe. Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a round tip. Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5 centimeters (1.38 inches) in diameter, spacing them 2 centimeters apart on (flat) baking trays lined with baking parchment. Sprinkle with sprinkles. Gently tap the tray on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes, until a skin forms on the shells. They shouldn't be sticky when you touch them. It's at this point that you can preheat a fan forced oven to 180C (360F) Bake for 12 minutes. If you feel your oven is causing the macarons to brown on one side (usually the side closest to the fan) turn the tray around about half way through baking. Once they're baked, let them cool completely. Spray the macaron shells with the pearl spray. Let them dry for 15 min before you spray one side with red mist.

To prepare frosting combine buttercream and rose essence and mix until well combined. Fit the end of a piping bag with a small French tip. Place a piece of jelly in the middle of one of the cookies. Frost a double swirl of frosting around it. And sandwich with the other cookies.

 

Terry's Chocolate Orange Cookies

Again, with the magically combination that is chocolate and orange. Terry's chocolate oranges are one of my favorite holiday candies, and Jane's Patisserie has made my dreams come true by putting them in cookies!

Ingredients

125 grams Unsalted Butter; 100 grams Granulated Sugar; 100 grams Light Brown Sugar; 1 Medium Egg; 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (optional); 25 grams Cocoa Powder; 175 grams Self Raising Flour; 1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda; 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder; 1/2 teaspoon Salt; Zest of 1 Large Orange (or 1 teaspoon orange extract); 250 grams Terry's Chocolate Orange (chopped); 16 Segments Terry's Chocolate Orange

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375F and line three baking trays with parchment paper. Mix together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy and thoroughly combined – I often use an electric mixer for this bit as it makes it so much easier and combines the ingredients very well – but good ol’ manpower will work too! Add the vanilla essence and the beaten egg, and mix again briefly. Add the cocoa powder, flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and orange and mix until a thick paste/cookie dough is formed (or add it all in together!). Chop the chocolate orange pieces and add to the mixture and fold through. Spoon the mixture onto the trays and make sure they are suitable spread out so they stay separate! (I usually fit 6 on each tray to be safe) I also use a cookie dropper/ice cream scoop to make them identical sizes. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes – remove quickly and add a segment to each cookie, and then bake for another 1-2 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before gobbling up otherwise you might burn yourself on molten chocolate!

 

Frosted Cranberry Cookies

Cranberries really only get love at the holidays, so take advantage of this sweet and tart fruit this season! These cookies from The Novice Chef are soft (which is the best) and only take 10 minutes to bake, which is perfect for last minute baking.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour; 1/2 teaspoon baking powder; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature; 3/4 cup granulated sugar; 1/3 cup cranberry jelly/sauce; 1 large egg; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; 1/2 cup craisins, chopped; 1 tablespoon sugar; 1 cup powdered sugar; 1 tablespoon milk; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add cranberry jelly, egg and vanilla extract, mixing until combined. Add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until completely combined. Drop one tablespoon of rounded dough onto prepared pan and then lightly flatten with the bottom of a buttered and sugared glass. Bake for 10 minutes. The cookies will not look browned or cooked, but they are! Remove from oven and let cookies rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. To Ice: In a small bowl, toss together cranberries and sugar, set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract - until smooth. Using a spoon, smooth icing onto the top of each cookie. Sprinkle with sugared craisins and let set for 10 minutes, or until hardened. Enjoy!

 

Gingerbread Cream Pie

Pies can seem daunting (we don't want the soggy bottom Mary Berry mentions in Great British Baking Show), but the key is blind baking the crust. This recipe from Lauren's Latest mentions blind baking, which is a great sign for a great pie!

Ingredients

1 (5.1 ounce) instant vanilla pudding mix; 2 cups cold milk; 2 tablespoons molasses; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg; 1/4 teaspoon ginger; 1/8 teaspoon cloves; 1 1/2 cups heavy cream + 1/4 cup powdered sugar; 1 blind baked pie shell

Directions

In a large bowl, whip vanilla pudding with milk. Sit 3 minutes to thicken, then stir in molasses and spices. In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream with powdered sugar until stiff. Fold one third into pudding mixture and then pour into baked pie shell. Top with remaining cream, sprinkle with a little nutmeg for garnish. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Cranberry Custard Pie

Publix has great recipes, and though I've never tried one of their desserts, I'm sure it's just as yummy as the dinner ones! The sugared cranberries on top add that extra sweet touch, and it'll definitely impress your significant other's family if you showed up with this.

Ingredients

1 lemon, for zest/juice; 4 cups cranberries (thawed, if frozen), divided; 1 teaspoon corn syrup; 3 cups sugar, divided; 1 (14.1 ounce) ready-to-bake rolled piecrust; 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened; 4 eggs; 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened; 1/2 cup flour; 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; 1 tablespoon raw sugar

Directions

Zest/grate lemon peel (no white; 1 teaspoon); squeeze lemon for juice (2 tablespoons). Place 1 cup cranberries in bowl with corn syrup and toss to coat; add 1 cup sugar and stir to coat cranberries. Transfer cranberries and any sugar in bowl to airtight container; chill until ready to use. Unroll one piecrust and place in deep 9-inch pie dish; trim crust, leaving a 1/4-inch overhang. Chill until ready to use. Place in large bowl: cream cheese, eggs, remaining 2 cups sugar, and butter; beat with electric mixer 3 minutes or until smooth. Add flour, vanilla, lemon zest, juice, and salt; beat 2 minutes more. Gently stir remaining 3 cups cranberries into egg mixture. Pour filling into crust and unroll remaining dough for top crust; place over the filled pie. Trim dough to 1/4-inch beyond edge. Fold top crust under bottom crust and seal the edges by pinching or crimping with a fork; brush top crust lightly with water and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cut a few slits in top of crust to allow steam to escape; chill 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place pie dish on a baking sheet (for ease in handling); bake 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350°F. Bake 35–40 more minutes or until crust is firm and golden. Cool on a wire rack before serving; garnish with sugared cranberries. Serve.

 

Cinnamon Pie

The smell of cinnamon is so Christmas-y, of course you have to include it in something this season! This smooth and spicy pie from A Spicy Perspective is the perfect way to do that. Grab a glass of milk and enjoy how the cinnamon smell travels through the house!

Ingredients

8 ounces cream cheese softened; 1 cup brown sugar packed; 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk; 1 1/4 cups heavy cream; 1/4 cup all purpose flour; 3 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon; 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; 1 teaspoon salt; 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg; 1 pie crust homemade, or store-bought; Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll and fit a pie crust into a standard 9 inch pie dish. Crimp the edges and place the pie crust in the refrigerator. Place the cream cheese and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat of high until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape the bowl with a spatula, then beat in the eggs. Scrape the bowl again, then set the mixer on low and mix in cream, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and nutmeg until very smooth. Pour the cinnamon filling into the prepared pie pan. Bake for 35 minutes, until the center seems set when jiggled, but not totally firm. Bake another 5 minutes if needed. Cool completely. Cover and chill. Take out of the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Dust the top of the pie with powdered sugar. Cut and serve with whipped cream if desired.

 

Frozen Hot Chocolate Cheesecake

Hot chocolate by the fireplace is a great activity, but what if you added cheesecake? This cheesecake recipe from Delish brings that flavor to a new level... a creamy and Oreo-flavored level! 

Ingredients

For the crust: 24 Oreos​; 6 tablespoon melted butter; 1/4 cup sugar

For the cheesecake: 2 blocks cream cheese, softened; 1/2 cup powdered sugar; 1/4 cup chocolate sauce; 3 hot cocoa packs; pinch of salt; 2 cups heavy cream; 1 cup mini marshmallows

Directions

Make crust: In a food processor, pulse Oreos until they are fine crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a bowl, then add butter and sugar and stir until combined. The texture should be similar to wet sand. Grease a 9 inch pie plate and press in the crust mixture. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, chocolate sauce, cocoa packets and salt and mix until smooth. Add about half of the heavy cream and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the heavy cream and beat until very fluffy. Fold in mini marshmallows. Pour cheesecake mixture into the prepared crust. Freeze until solid, about 4 hours.

 

Pear and Walnut Cake with Honey Buttercream

I saved this giant masterpiece for last because of how amazing and detailed this recipe is! This cake from Liv for Cake is gorgeous to look at, and just image how delicious it tastes. This will be a hit at any party, but be warned: you may be asked to make it year-round!

Ingredients

Poached Pears (optional): 3 cups water; 1 cup honey; 2 tablespoons lemon juice; 1 cinnamon stick; 4 pears small, peeled

Pear & Walnut Cake: 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour; 2 teaspoons baking powder; 3/4 teaspoon salt; 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature; 3/4 cup granulated sugar; 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed; 3 large eggs room temperature; 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; 1 cup buttermilk room temperature; 1 cup chopped walnuts toasted; 2 cups shredded pears (approx. 2 pears, peeled, cored, and coarse shredded)

Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream: 4 large egg whites; 1 cups granulated sugar; 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter room temperature; 1/4 cup honey

Directions

Poached Pears (optional): **NOTE** Do a day in advance. Place honey, water, lemon juice, and cinnamon into a medium pot (big enough to hold the pears so they will be covered). Bring to a boil over med-high. Add pears and simmer over medium until tender, turning occasionally (approx 20-30 minutes depending on how firm your pears are -  insert a sharp knife to test). Do not overcook! Gently remove pears with a slotted spoon and place them into a medium bowl, cover with the honey syrup (so pears will be covered). Cool completely then place in the fridge to chill overnight. The next day, if desired, place the honey syrup into a medium pot and simmer over medium heat (10-15 minutes) to reduce. You can drizzle this over the pears or over the cut slices of cake.

Pear and Walnut Cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 8" cake rounds and line with parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until well combined. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on med-high until pale and fluffy (approx 3 minutes). Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition. Gently fold in walnuts and shredded pears. Spread evenly between the two pans. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes then turn out onto wire rack.

Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream: Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.Place bowl over a double boiler on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3 minutes). Or registers 160F on a candy thermometer. Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10 minutes). Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth. Add honey and whip until smooth.

Assembly: Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with approximately 1 cup of buttercream. Repeat with remaining layer and crumb coat the cake. Chill for 20 minutes. Frost the top and sides of the cake in a rustic manner. If desired, add toasted walnuts along the bottom and top, and place poached pears on top. Secure pears in place with toothpicks and drizzle with poaching syrup.