11 Almond Desserts To Whip Up This Winter

Although almonds do have a distinct place in the baking world, predominantly in marzipan and frangipane, they may not be the first type of nut that you'd think to incorporate into a dessert. Almonds often go overlooked in favor of nutty counterparts like peanuts, pecans, or walnuts, but they nevertheless do upgrade any dessert that they grace. Whole almonds may not be the best choice, with their hard crunch and overbearing nature, but sliced or chopped almonds make for a much better pastry complement. Thin, subtly crunchy, and mildly nutty in flavor, sliced and chopped almonds really do jazz up desserts without taking the spotlight away from the star of the show, be it a donut, pie, or tart.

In case you're looking to incorporate more almonds into your treat routine, our best almond dessert recipes will surely steer you in the right direction. Whether you want to add a nutty flair to cookies or try your hand at making a French-style tart, almonds are the secret weapon to enhancing your dessert and possibly even making it look more elegant, too. Thanks to the fact that almonds are often toasted in desserts, they provide an inherently warming effect that makes any almond dessert extra appealing during the wintertime, though you can of course enjoy these desserts year-round.

1. Almond Brittle

You don't need to go all out on a dessert for it to really shine, and classic recipes like this one for almond brittle really prove that to be true. Brittle may not be the most popular dessert out there, but it sure does taste good, and for those party guests who love a crispy-crunchy treat, this almond brittle will be a hit. 

One of the biggest perks to simple recipes is that they require very few ingredients. You'll only need six ingredients to make this almond brittle, or five if you don't care for the flaky sea salt garnish. The cooking part of the recipe also happens to be a breeze; you'll start by melting down the brittle ingredients on the stovetop, then you'll stir in the sliced almonds and spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet. The oven takes over from there, and after just 20 minutes of baking, your brittle will nearly be ready to go.

If you do want that extra salty flair on your brittle, be sure to sprinkle it on when the baked good is fresh out of the oven. Then it's just a matter of cooling and breaking it up (the more imperfect the chunks, the better) and serving it. As with any treat that keeps well at room temperature, you could even package up pieces of almond brittle and hand it out as a treat.

Recipe: Almond Brittle

2. Salted Caramel Almond Pecan Pralines

We won't try to convince you that pralines are the most desirable dessert out there, but we will try to convince you that they deserve a place in your holiday dessert spread. Are you making a cookie basket to hand out to friends and family? Include these salted caramel almond pecan pralines — they provide a nice contrast to classic cookies, and their rich caramel flavor is pretty irresistible.

If you're still not sold on pralines, then perhaps the fact that they require minimal ingredients and just 30 minutes to whip up will change your mind. For this recipe, you'll start by toasting the nuts — a combination of almonds and pecans — for an extra-warm touch, then you'll stir them into a homemade sugar syrup before dolloping cookie-sized globs out onto a baking sheet. From there, you don't even need to bake the pralines; all you have to do is wait for them to harden, then you'll have a perfectly crunchy sweet treat that is far more exciting than your average caramel candy. To really hone in on the salted aspect of this salted caramel (which we recommend doing), be sure to sprinkle flaky salt onto the pralines before they harden.

Recipe: Salted Caramel Almond Pecan Pralines

3. Vegan Gluten-Free Almond Crinkle Cookies

These almond crinkle cookies somehow manage to defy all odds — not only are they vegan, but they also check the gluten-free box, making them the absolute perfect treat to bring to a large gathering. You never know who might be silently avoiding the dessert table for fear of nothing meeting their dietary requirements, but thanks to this recipe, you can proudly boast that just about anyone can enjoy your cookies. Well, maybe not the folks with nut allergies, but we're sure that they'll find plenty of solace in the chocolate chip cookies.

There are a few important ingredient swaps that help ensure these cookies check two big dietary boxes. One, you won't be using all-purpose flour to meet the gluten-free standard, and that's where almond flour comes in handy. Secondly, you want to avoid eggs and dairy to check the vegan box, and almond butter steps in the provide enough liquid contrast to hold up against the dry ingredients (not to mention the extra nutty flavor that it provides). To get that chocolatey goodness without including any dairy, cacao powder steps in and adds that rich flavor, making it visibly apparent that these cookies contain chocolate.

Recipe: Vegan Gluten-Free Almond Crinkle Cookies

4. Bite-Sized Cinnamon Almond Scones

We've always said that bite-sized scones are better than regular-sized ones — okay, maybe we haven't always said that, but this recipe proves it to be quite true. These lovely little cinnamon almond scones come in bite-sized form, which is sure to thrill your kids during their next tea party. Or, you can reserve these pastries for adults only, and we're sure that the same logic will apply. There's just something intrinsically better about a mini dessert as opposed to a full-sized one, and considering the dense nature of scones, your guests might be grateful for the bite-sized nature.

Despite looking a little smaller than your average scone, these cinnamon almond variations ultimately taste the same and follow the same baking process as any scone would. The only difference is that you'll cut the dough into smaller-than-normal triangles, but you'll use all the same ingredients and bake them up in a similar fashion. 

Naturally, these scones pair well with a cup of tea or are well-suited to a platter fully of pastries. When it comes time to serving, you can enjoy the spiced scones as-is, or you can double-down on the almond flavor by drizzling on a little bit of almond butter. 

Recipe: Bite-Sized Cinnamon Almond Scones

5. Pear Almond Tart

If you're looking for a dessert that's just about guaranteed to garner "oohs" and "ahhs" from your dinner guests, then you can't go wrong with the pear almond tart. Everything about this tart is impressive, from the way it looks to the way it tastes — and no one has to know that you used a pre-made pie crust as the base.

Pears and almonds are relatively neutral foods, especially among the categories that they fit into; pears are a mild fruit and almonds don't have flavors quite as overt as peanuts or pecans. It only makes sense that these two underdogs might pair up to make a delicious dessert, and though it is a mild one, it doesn't skimp on flavor or sweetness. The base of the tart doubles down on almond flavor thanks to the addition of almond meal, whereas the pears come into play in sliced form, delicately adoring the top of your tart. 

Deceivingly simple to make and breathtaking to look at, this tart is an ideal party dessert, especially for smaller and more intimate affairs. This is also an ideal dessert for those who really want to highlight almonds and don't want the nutty flavor to be an afterthought.

Recipe: Pear Almond Tart Recipe

6. Ricciarelli (Tuscan Almond Cookies)

There are many types of Italian cookies out there, and ricciarelli are one of the many varieties that more specifically hails from Tuscany. Also known simply as Tuscan almond cookies, these little treats pack in the — you guessed it — almond flavor, though they also incorporate orange zest for an unexpected brightness and welcome zing on the palate. Citrus and almonds may not be the most obvious flavor combination, but if ricciarelli prove anything, it's that the combo works really well in cookie form, especially when the cookie is coated in a healthy layer of powdered sugar.

Another distinct feature about these cookies is the fact that they use egg whites, which gives them a light texture and a cracked surface (which is ideal for ensuring that extra powdered sugar finds its way into every nook and cranny that the cookie offers). The almond flavor comes into play thanks to an almond flour base and a bit of almond extract, which adds the slightest bitterness that contrasts beautifully with the sweet elements of the cookies. These perfect little bites are delicious on their own, though you'd be remiss to not enjoy one alongside a cup of black coffee or perhaps with an after-dinner espresso martini.

Recipe: Ricciarelli (Tuscan Almond Cookies) Recipe

7. Almond Sugar Cookies (With The Ultimate Frosting)

Anyone who has made from-scratch sugar cookies before knows that the formula is pretty simple — you need flour as the base, eggs, sugar, butter, baking powder, and perhaps a flavor boost from vanilla extract. If you want to get creative in the kitchen and make more complex sugar cookies, the secret lies in almond extract, which you can use instead of (or in addition to) vanilla extract. 

These almond sugar cookies prove just how much almond extract can enhance a baked good; one bite into these sweet treats will provide a slight nutty flavor that isn't overpowering by any means. Unlike some recipes that only include almond extract in the cookies themselves, this recipe takes things a step further by including it in the buttery icing, too. Topped off with a few sliced almonds for good measure, these delightfully chewy cookies provide all of the sweetness that you'd hope for from a sugar cookie, but they really do have a flavor complexity that is often lacking from such simple confections. 

Since the flavor of almond extract is somewhat similar to amaretto, you can't go wrong with pairing these cookies with a mixed drink that features the liqueur. Of course, coffee or tea would also pair well with these treats and help contrast against all of the sweetness.

Recipe: Almond Sugar Cookies (With The Ultimate Frosting)

8. Baked Chocolate Almond Donuts

There is quite a lot to love about these baked chocolate almond donuts, and perhaps the best aspect comes in the way you cook the confection. While donuts are typically deep-fried, this recipe calls for baking the donuts — which not only simplifies the cooking process, but it also lightens up your treat while still ensuring that they're, well, treats. Since you'll be baking the donuts, you will need a donut pan or silicone mold, so if you already have one sitting in your kitchen, then this recipe is calling your name loud and clear.

Another highlight of these donuts is the flavor combination of chocolate and almond. The rich sweetness of the chocolate pairs impeccably with the nutty, slightly creamy flavor of the sliced almonds on top — but you'll also find almond flavor inside the donuts, too. A touch of almond extract helps bring some unexpected flavor to these baked donuts, and trust us when we say that a little bit goes a long way. While the final garnish of sliced almonds is ultimately an optional one, we highly recommend adding them, not only because they look nice, but because they add a slight crunch to an otherwise soft baked good.

Recipe: Baked Chocolate Almond Donuts

9. Citrus-Almond Tart

This citrus-almond tart shines bright — literally, it's got a vibrant hue to it, and one bite will prove that the flavor shines in its own right. There's a lot going on with this tart, with three types of oranges, lemon extract, and grapefruit making up the citrus part of it. As if those flavors weren't enough, you'll also find cocoa powder and almond meal in the mix, resulting in a tart that can only be described as a dream for citrus lovers with a nutty sweet tooth.

To add to the complexity of this tart, you'll also top the whole thing off with a whipped cream comprised of honey, coriander, and orange blossom water. You'll also find an extra sprinkling of cocoa powder and some sliced almonds atop this masterpiece, and though the whole thing might sound a bit disjointed, the result is a dessert that truly dances on the palate. You've got the zingy citrus flavors, the deep richness of the cocoa powder, and the subtle nuttiness of the almond meal and sliced almonds. It's bright, it's bold, and it provides a take on a tart that you really don't see too often. If plain old fruit tarts just aren't cutting it for you anymore, then this citrus-almond tart will certainly keep things interesting in the kitchen — and surprisingly, it'll only set you back about an hour time-wise.

Recipe: Citrus-Almond Tart

10. Nutty Coffee Cake

It's no surprise to find warm, spiced flavors in a coffee cake, but less often will you find nutty flavors. It's a shame, really, as nutty flavors play well with spiced ones, but fortunately this nutty coffee cake recipe gives us the best of both worlds. And before you worry that the coffee cake will be absolutely overtaken by nuts, fear not — the nutty influence comes into play thanks to almond flour, so it's nice and subtle. 

Aside from the almond flour, the other ingredients in this coffee cake are pretty run-of-the-mill. You will use all-purpose flour in addition to the almond flour, so be wary before serving this to your gluten-free friends. Other inclusions include brown sugar, cinnamon, eggs, butter, maple syrup, and even some unsweetened applesauce to ensure your cake is nice and moist. 

We also have to highlight the streusel topping, one which is both layered into the cake and used as a final garnish on top. The streusel not only adds extra spiced, buttery goodness, but it also adds a crispy element that contrasts nicely with the moist and fluffy nature of the cake itself. Enjoy a slice of this nutty coffee cake for breakfast, aptly paired with a cup of black coffee, or even enjoy a slice at night after dinner. 

Recipe: Nutty Coffee Cake

11. Almond Spiced Cherry Cobbler

Cherry cobbler may be a common enough dessert, but if you're looking for a way to get creative with a classic, this almond-spiced version will definitely do the trick. For the almond aspect of the cobbler, we can thank both almond flour and almond extract for providing their respective nutty flavors; for the spiced aspect, which you'll find in the cherry filling itself, a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg pack in plenty of warmth.

One of the best things about this cobbler, aside from its almond-spiced nature, is the fact that it's pretty easy to make. You'll start by mixing up the cherry filling and scooping that right into your baking dish. Then, you'll mix up the cobbler topping separately before dolloping it onto the cherries in the dish. The hardest part of this recipe will be the test of your patience as the cobbler goes into the oven for an hour, though that timing will work out quite well for those who prep this cobbler to bake right as dinner is served at the table. 

While this cherry cobbler is delicious on its own, you'd be remiss to not add a creamy element to help balance the sweet and spiced flavors. Classic whipped cream or vanilla ice cream are great options to add a cooling element to your plate.

Recipe: Almond Spiced Cherry Cobbler