40 Best Christmas Dessert Recipes

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The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family, be merry, and — of course — eat and drink. Food takes center stage at so many gatherings, from Passover to Diwali to Thanksgiving, and it's certainly one of the main events at Christmas celebrations, too. Whether your family table groans with glazed ham, succulent beef tenderloin, or a classic roast turkey, we're willing to bet everyone eating is saving room for dessert.

Christmas tends to be a blitz of butter and sugar, with holiday cookies, fruitcakes, and rum balls crowding the table to accompany your post-dinner coffee, hot toddy, or glass of eggnog. These rich, warming confections are just the ticket to staving off the winter chill and darkness, though, truth be told, we'd happily munch them all year long. From festive red velvet cupcakes to spiced gingerbread cheesecake to decadent chocolate trifle, these are 40 of our very favorite Christmas desserts.

Reindeer Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are a true Christmas classic, their sturdy dough ideal for cutting into winter-themed shapes, and their neutral buttery flavor an excellent base for all manner of pretty themed icings, sprinkles, and candies. You may have cut and decorated your fair share of Christmas trees, wreaths, candy canes, and snowflakes in your day, but these slightly more challenging (and incredibly adorable) reindeer cookies are a departure from the same old, same old.

First, a basic sugar cookie dough is rolled out and cut into reindeer shapes with a cookie cutter, such as this one from Amazon. Once the reindeer are baked and cooled, a shiny chocolate glaze of powdered sugar, cocoa powder, meringue powder, and water is stirred together, into which each cookie gets dipped. Finally, after the chocolate glaze has set, melted white chocolate is piped onto each to create a simple set of antlers.

Recipe: Reindeer Sugar Cookies

Classic Raspberry Blancmange

Kind of like a fancy Jell-O mold, blancmange is a European gelatin-based dessert that often features the flavors of almond and vanilla. This raspberry version is a beautiful way to showcase the sweet, tart fruit, turning out pale pink and impressive in its height and shape.

To make our raspberry blancmange, raspberries are puréed until smooth and then strained in order to remove the seeds. The liquid raspberries are then blended into the blancmange base, consisting of heavy cream, milk, flour, sugar, almond meal, and vanilla extract, and then combined with gelatin. Once poured into a large mold, the dessert is chilled in the fridge overnight, after which it emerges tender and jiggly, perfect for serving with additional fresh raspberries.

Recipe: Classic Raspberry Blancmange

Fruitcake with Rum and Ginger

Christmas fruitcake is pretty much a punchline at this point, with conventional preparations' poor-quality green- and red-dyed candied fruit and leaden texture earning the classic treat derision. But the truth is a quality homemade fruitcake can be an absolutely delicious Christmas dessert with the right recipe.

This fruitcake recipe from chef Ned Baldwin is at the top of its class, featuring rum-soaked dried cherries, walnuts, candied ginger, and candied orange peel all suspended in a spiced, molasses-laced batter. The baked cake, brushed with a simple rum syrup, is moist but not dense and can be served immediately or stored for up to two weeks.

Recipe: Fruitcake with Rum and Ginger

German Spice Cookies (Pfeffernüsse)

Pfeffernüsse! What a delightful name — and what a delightful cookie.

"Classic German Baking" author Luisa Weiss explained to Tasting Table pfeffernüsse are a holiday staple in Germany, with different regions having their own take on the traditional treat. Our recipe is based on Offenbacher pfeffernüsse and calls for a spice blend — or lebkuchengewürz – made with cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cardamom, ginger, mace, and star anise. The lebkuchengewürz flavors the cocoa-laced dough, which is rolled into balls and baked. The spiced cookies emerge from the oven dome-shaped and are glazed with lemon icing.

Recipe: German Spice Cookies (Pfeffernüsse)

Peppermint Ice Cream

A frozen dessert that's delicious no matter how low the mercury drops, ice cream is always welcome on any table — and this peppermint version features plenty of Christmas flair.

A simple vanilla ice cream base is spiked with a teaspoon of peppermint extract before being added to an ice cream maker. We suggest serving the creamy, minty result with a sprinkle of crushed candy canes for the perfect complement to a variety of holiday cookies and cakes.

Recipe: Peppermint Ice Cream

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes are one of those childhood favorites that never seem to become any less appealing, even well into adulthood. Boasting a moist, lightly cocoa-flavored cake that's reddened with food coloring and topped with a dramatic swirl of rich cream cheese frosting, red velvet cupcakes also happen to sport the Christmas colors of red and white, making them a perfect choice for the holiday table.

While not essential to the recipe, we love to shower the frosted cupcakes with festive sprinkles to up the Christmas ante even further.

Recipe: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Classic Snowball Cookies

Buttery, crumbly snowball cookies are a Christmas classic, not only for their deliciousness but for their adorable likeness to — of course — snowballs.

Made from a simple, butter-rich dough laced with chopped pecans and vanilla extract, the finished cookies are rolled in powdered sugar for that snowy effect. If you can manage to serve them warm they're doubly delicious, but we'd be shocked to see someone turn up their nose at a plate of snowball cookies served room temp.

Recipe: Classic Snowball Cookies

British Christmas Pudding

If you've never tried British Christmas pudding, you might be somewhat perplexed by this large, flaming dessert, but trust us, the result is delicious.

Resembling a fruit cake, the pudding is created by mixing brandy-soaked dried fruit, candied citrus peel, and chopped apple into a rich batter sweetened with brown sugar. After being piled into a greased bowl, the pudding is wrapped up in tin foil and then steamed for about eight hours. When it's done, the pudding will be moist and luxurious.

To serve, gather your guests around, because you're about to pour brandy over it and light the dessert on fire. After that dramatic display, you'll slice the warm pudding and serve it with yummy sweetened brandy butter.

Recipe: British Christmas Pudding

Blum's Coffee Crunch Cake

Folks who lived in the Bay Area in the '60s and '70s might remember a now-shuttered small chain of pastry shops called Blum's, where, according to SFGATE, a standout dessert called Coffee Crunch Cake stole customers' hearts. A lemon-and-vanilla-scented sponge cake layered and frosted with whipped cream, Blum's Coffee Crunch Cake was covered with crushed honeycomb-like candy, creating a spongy, silky, and crunchy treat.

This adaptation from pastry chef Valerie Gordon is a loyal re-creation of the original, featuring a simple chiffon cake, homemade honeycomb candy, and plenty of fluffy, coffee-laced whipped cream.

Recipe: Blum's Coffee Crunch Cake

Classic Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is a holiday dessert staple for a reason: It's sweet, indulgent, and appeals to a wide range of palates. Fairly simple to make, the comforting treat calls for baking a pie crust, filling it with a buttery, sugary, eggy custard laced with pecan halves, and then baking it some more.

To make things quicker and easier during the holiday rush to get everything done, this recipe uses pre-made crust (though you could, of course, make your own pie crust if you have the time and interest). Normally heavy on corn syrup, which adds a lot of sweetness but not a ton of flavor, our pecan pie incorporates some maple syrup in its place. When it's baked, you'll have a dense, gooey filling capped by perfectly crispy pecans — ideal for serving with a mound of fluffy whipped cream or cold vanilla ice cream.

Recipe: Classic Pecan Pie

Homemade Marshmallows

Fluffy, puffy marshmallows are the perfect thing to have on hand during the holiday season, when there's almost certainly going to be some hot cocoa hanging around just begging for a 'mallow topper. Although you might not know it if you've only purchased the plastic-bagged kind, marshmallows are fairly easy to make at home and taste way better than their supermarket counterparts.

With the aid of a candy thermometer, you'll create a hot sugar syrup, then whip the syrup into some bloomed gelatin until it fluffs up and becomes glossy — about 10 minutes. At this stage, you can add vanilla bean paste to make vanilla marshmallows or other flavorings such as peppermint or chocolate extracts. Once the marshmallow is whipped, you'll pour it into a greased pan that's prepared with a fine sprinkle of powdered sugar. Let the mixture set for about four hours, then cut it into individual marshmallows and enjoy.

Not only are homemade marshmallows great to have on hand all winter, but they make amazing gifts as they can be stored at room temperature for up to three weeks.

Recipe: Homemade Marshmallows

Italian Biscotti

Crisp, crunchy biscotti are a great treat for the adults at any Christmas gathering. They're only modestly sweet, aren't adorned with frostings, sprinkles, or the like, and go perfectly with a cup of coffee or after-dinner liqueur.

This family recipe passed down from Tasting Table recipe developer Miriam Hahn's Italian grandmother certainly doesn't disappoint, studded with sliced almonds and chocolate chips and scented with cinnamon, orange juice and zest, and vanilla and almond extracts. Once the biscotti dough is formed, it's patted out into a log, baked, sliced, and then baked again to get that delightful crunchy texture.

Recipe: Italian Biscotti

Jamaican Rum Cake

Although it does, indeed, utilize Jamaican rum, this cake is a far cry from the dark, sticky Jamaican rum cake you may have sampled in the past. Instead, it's a fluffy coffee-style cake flavored with chopped pecans and vanilla extract that's baked in a Bundt pan until it rises up tall, elegant, and golden brown. 

When the cake has cooled, it's poked all over with a long skewer, and then a buttery, sugary rum syrup is poured atop it, soaking in overnight to create a super-moist, rum-infused delight.

Recipe: Jamaican Rum Cake

Christmas Gingerbread House

If you ever made a gingerbread house as a kid, then you probably still remember how fun and magical the process is, a cross between baking and a construction project that results in an adorably decorated — and delightfully edible — house. Well, we're here to tell you that making a gingerbread house is just as entertaining as an adult — and even more delicious when utilizing this sweet, richly spiced gingerbread recipe from Tasting Table recipe developer Kit Hondrum. 

The house is made by beating together a buttery, molasses-sweetened dough, pressing it into silicone gingerbread house molds, baking it, and cooling it. Once the parts of the house are peeled from their molds, you whip together an egg white and powdered sugar icing/glue with which to assemble it, then decorate it with the candies of your choice. It's a fun project that will fill your house with the irresistible scent of Christmastime.

Recipe: Christmas Gingerbread House

Sweet And Sticky Baklava

Common in both Greece and Turkey, baklava is an irresistible sticky treat made by layering prepared phyllo dough with plenty of melted butter as well as chopped spiced nuts. After stacking the dessert, in this case with 26 layers, you use a sharp knife to precut the baklava into pieces, both to make it easier to serve once baked, and also to allow the cooled sugar-and-honey syrup you'll pour all over the baked dessert to penetrate each and every piece. 

The finished baklava are crispy, sweet, and rich, the perfect thing to serve with a cup of strong coffee after the Christmas meal.

Recipe: Sweet And Sticky Baklava

Best Eggnog Cake

Everyone knows that no Christmas celebration is complete without eggnog, that rich cream, milk, and egg drink that's pretty much like an unchurned ice cream base. If you love eggnog but find it a bit too rich to sip all on its own, then check out this eggnog cake from Tasting Table recipe developer Catherine Brookes, which works all the flavors of 'nog into a tall, golden Bundt cake dripping with eggnog icing. 

Prepared eggnog goes into the batter as well as the icing, in addition to classic 'nog spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Enjoy a slice all on its own, or pair it with a glass of Christmas eggnog if you want to kick your 'nog experience up a few notches.

Recipe: Best Eggnog Cake

Easy Christmas Shortbread Cookies

Crisp, buttery shortbread cookies are a must for the holiday season, their neutral flavor and moderate level of sweetness the perfect palate break from the iced, frosted, dunked, and decorated treats that tend to populate the Christmas table. Plus, they're quick and easy to make, consisting of a thick dough that's pressed into a baking pan, baked until golden brown, cooled, and cut into squares. 

This almond extract-scented version piles on the Christmas charm in the form of red and green sprinkles, which are worked into the cookies and provide a pop of color, Funfetti-style.

Recipe: Easy Christmas Shortbread Cookies

White Christmas Pie

This vanilla custard pie crowned with a generous drift of sweetened shredded coconut looks like a dessert that's weathered a blizzard, making it the perfect holiday-themed pie to serve at your Christmas party — or tote to someone else's. 

Thankfully, it's also quick to make, since the crust is made using a mix. After baking the crust, it's filled with a simple homemade vanilla custard, sprinkled generously with coconut, and chilled for a few hours to set to cool, jiggly perfection.

Recipe: White Christmas Pie

Best Gingerbread Cheesecake

Cheesecake is a beloved dessert at any occasion, its dense, creamy sweetness an indulgence that's enjoyed by pretty much anyone. And one of the dessert's most lovable qualities is its adaptability: As restaurant chain The Cheesecake Factory ably demonstrates, cheesecake can be made in so many variations and flavors, from a classic topped with glazed strawberries to a citrusy key lime version. 

For Christmas, we can't think of a better adaptation than this gingerbread-flavored cheesecake, which features a gingerbread crust and a filling laced with brown sugar, molasses, ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Once baked, cooled, and fully chilled, the cheesecake is decorated with stars of whipped cream and whole gingerbread cookies, certain to please any crowd.

Recipe: Best Gingerbread Cheesecake

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Classic chocolate chip cookies are pretty hard to improve upon, but this creation from Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Bryant does so pretty handily. 

The recipe uses brown butter in place of plain softened butter, bringing a nuttiness and depth of flavor to the cookies. A hint of cornstarch added to the dry ingredients creates a treat that is soft on the inside, but crunchy on the outside. Leave some out for Santa, if you wish, but we can't guarantee that passing family members won't pilfer a few of the delightful treats from his plate.

Recipe: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baked Alaska

Few dessert recipes are as showstopping as baked Alaska, essentially an ice cream cake that's swaddled in meringue, blowtorched, and then flambéed tableside. Talk about a Christmas main event. This admittedly labor-intensive version is worth the approximate hour it will take to bake and assemble.

First, softened raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream are layered in a plastic wrap-lined mixing bowl, then placed back in the freezer to set. Then, a layer of banana-walnut cake is mixed together, baked, and cooled. After whipping together a Swiss meringue, the cake layer is set onto the top of the bowl of ice creams; once it's flipped, the cake becomes the bottom base layer. The whole is lavished with meringue, toasted with a blowtorch, and then drizzled with alcohol and set aflame in front of your wowed and spellbound guests.

Recipe: Baked Alaska

Chocolate Chess Pie

Have you ever sampled chess pie? A classically Southern dessert, it's basically a pie that's filled with an eggy custard that turns out luscious and gooey once baked. 

Made in flavors including vanilla and lemon, this chess pie is deeply chocolatey thanks to the addition of cocoa powder to the filling. Made using a refrigerated pie crust, the simple, homey dessert only takes about 40 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

Recipe: Chocolate Chess Pie

Christmas Wreath Cookies

If you grew up in a family that liked to pull out all the stops come Christmastime, then you might remember making Christmas wreath "cookies." This fun, food-dyed tradition consists of making puffed rice cereal or cornflake (in this case, the latter) treats, adding some green food coloring, and then shaping the treats into small doughnuts that look like wreaths. 

The final touch before refrigerating the wreaths is adding some red candies, such as M&Ms, to mimic little Christmas ornaments.

Recipe: Christmas Wreath Cookies

Classic Opera Cake

Tasting Table recipe developer Jessica Morone tells us that opera cake is a French dessert consisting of three layers of delicate coffee syrup-soaked almond sponge cake, alternated with layers of coffee-flavored buttercream, and topped with chocolate ganache. 

Aesthetically, it's a show-stopper, its three layers of sponge shining with ganache (and, in this case, gold leaf). Taste-wise, it can't be beat, the soft cake meshing with the creamy buttercream. A labor-intensive project that consists of making and baking cake, slicing it into three layers, creating an espresso syrup that will be brushed over the cake, whipping together an espresso buttercream, making a chocolate ganache, and assembling the whole shebang, the cake is undoubtedly worth every ounce of effort you'll put in.

Recipe: Classic Opera Cake

Mince Pies

A quintessential member of any Christmas spread in the U.K., mince pies deserve more widespread appreciation of their deliciousness. Little shortcrust pies filled with prepared (meatless) mince (typically a mix of dried currants and raisins, chopped apples, and candied orange peel, according to Walker's), the adorable treats are sweet and spiced on the inside, crumbly on the outside, and delicious when snowed in under a shower of powdered sugar. 

Because this recipe also utilizes prepared pastry crust, it only takes about 40 minutes start to finish — a welcome timesaver when you're in the holiday weeds.

Recipe: Mince Pies

Easy Fantasy Fudge

If you've ever made fudge at home, then you've probably noticed that there are two main ways to prepare this classic chocolate treat: old-fashioned, which is a bit more labor intensive and calls for sugar, butter, milk or cream, and cocoa and "fantasy" or easy fudge, which contains marshmallow fluff and streamlines the process to come together more quickly and easily (via Behind the Disarray). 

Quick and easy is something that's always appreciated during the holidays, which is where this fantasy fudge comes in. It's made by bringing milk, butter, and sugar to a boil, then adding chocolate chips, fluff, chopped walnuts, and vanilla and almond extracts. The fudge is spread into a parchment-lined pan, refrigerated for an hour, then cut into squares and served.

Recipe: Easy Fantasy Fudge

Mexican Sugar Cookies

Mexican sweets are known for their bright, not-quite-natural hues, as seen in candies such as Day of the Dead sugar skulls and shaved ice raspados (via Chef's Pencil). 

Those colors were the inspiration for recipe developer Catherine Brookes, who came up with these sugar cookies in shades of red, green, and yellow. Made from a rich dough of butter, sugar, and fragrant vanilla extract, they're tinted with food coloring and rolled in granulated sugar before baking to chewy, puffy perfection. For the Christmas colors of white, red, and green, you could opt for leaving a third of the dough undyed, utilizing only red and green food coloring.

Recipe: Mexican Sugar Cookies

Italian Panettone

Essentially a rich, sweetened brioche that's studded with dried fruit, panettone is a classic Christmas treat all across Italy. This at-home version developed by Stephanie Rapone calls for candied orange peels, candied cherries, dried currants, and golden raisins, which are soaked in Grand Marnier overnight before being folded into the rich dough, which contains plenty of eggs and milk and comes together in a stand mixer.

The prepared dough will need to rise inside a greased panettone mold, which you can grab off Amazon, then is baked, cooled upside-down to retain its impressive height, and served with dessert wine. It also makes fabulous French toast if you happen to have any left over post-Christmas.

Recipe: Italian Panettone

Chocolate Turtles

If you've got an old-fashioned candy shop near you, then you may have tried a chocolate turtle or two. These delicious stacks of pecans, chewy caramel, and rich chocolate are a hit with kids and adults alike, which makes them a great option for any Christmas gathering. Thankfully, they're super easy to make at home, as long as you've got a candy thermometer. 

All you have to do is lay out clusters of pecan halves on a piece of parchment paper, then make a simple caramel featuring butter, cream, and corn syrup. The caramel gets spooned over each cluster of nuts, then left to cool until partially set. Finally, chocolate chips are melted in the microwave, spooned over the candies, and left to set for a few hours before being devoured.

Recipe: Chocolate Turtles

Traditional Snickerdoodles

Soft, chewy cookies that sport a crackly top and a generous dusting of cinnamon sugar, snickerdoodles are the wholesome type of cookie that are just perfect for setting out for Santa. Just to be sure to save a dozen or so for yourself and your family, too!

The simple, butter-rich dough comes together in a mixer in just a couple minutes, is chilled for a couple hours to ensure the iconic chewy texture, then gets rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked. When still warm, the cookies get an additional sprinkle of cinnamon sugar — there's no reason, after all, to hold back at Christmas.

Recipe: Traditional Snickerdoodles

Classic New York-Style Cheesecake

Cheesecake might come in dozens of varieties, ranging from pumpkin to tiramisu, but sometimes a classically clean New York-style cheesecake is just the ticket. 

Featuring a dairy-rich cream cheese, heavy cream, and sour cream custard laced with vanilla and poured onto a homemade graham cracker crust pressed into a springform pan, the cheesecake bakes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour; then, the oven is shut off while the cake stays inside for an additional five hours, allowing the cheesecake to cook gently all the way through without having to fuss with a water bath. Once refrigerated until cool, the dense, creamy cheesecake is ready to be sliced and enjoyed.

Recipe: Classic New York-Style Cheesecake

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Bourbon balls are in the same category as rum balls: ground-up cookies or wafers that are stirred together with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, corn syrup, and, of course, liquor, then rolled into balls in coatings such as additional cocoa or sugar or chopped nuts. 

These balls feature plenty of chopped pecans, an important crop in Kentucky, as well as a nice amount of Kentucky bourbon. Once rolled in additional cocoa sugar and chilled, the balls come out a bit like boozy chocolate truffles and are the perfect treats to share with fellow adults.

Recipe: Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Eggnog Ice Cream

Eggnog — that classic Christmastime quaff of milk, cream, and eggs that's sweetened with sugar and dusted with nutmeg — is pretty much an unchurned ice cream base, before it's spiked with rum, at least. So, naturally, the combination lends itself extremely well to ice cream, an idea Tasting Table recipe developer Susan Olayinka runs with in her no-booze, no-churn version of the frozen dessert. 

Her recipe utilizes heavy cream, which is whipped until fluffy with ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract, then folded with a can of sweetened condensed milk. In order to set into ice cream, it simply needs to be smoothed into a loaf pan, covered, and frozen overnight before serving. Any post-Christmas leftovers can be turned into a delightful eggnog milkshake — spiked, or not.

Recipe: Eggnog Ice Cream

Chocolate Trifle

Trifles are a wonderful dessert for any festive gathering, their dramatic look and intriguing combination of flavors a sure win with any sweet-toothed guest. Traditionally, trifles are made by layering vanilla sponge cake with jam, fruit, vanilla custard, and whipped cream (via BBC), but they're easily adapted to a chocolate-lover's palate. 

This version is just the chocolatey ticket, layering cubes of premade brownies with a homemade milk chocolate mousse and a homemade amaretto whipped cream. Finally, the trifle is festooned with flakes of white and dark chocolate and a drizzle of melted chocolate, if desired.

Recipe: Chocolate Trifle

Mini Christmas Cakes

There are all kinds of Christmas cakes out there, but these adorable, mini ones from Tasting Table recipe developer Stephanie Rapone consist of a vanilla cake enriched with butter, eggs, and sour cream, which has been studded with Grand Marnier-soaked chopped candied fruit. 

Baked in one layer on a rimmed sheet pan, the little cakes are stamped out using a cookie cutter, then stacked with cream cheese frosting to create a bi-level treat. Half of the layered cakelets are garnished with a swirl of additional cream cheese frosting, plus candied cherries rolled in granulated sugar and a sprig of fresh rosemary (the garnish thus resembling a sprig of holly); half of them are dusted with powdered sugar using a snowflake stencil cut out of parchment paper.

Recipe: Mini Christmas Cakes

Simple Candied Ginger

Christmastime treats are full of warming flavors such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Another familiar ingredient featured in many cold-weather desserts is ginger. Lots of winter cakes, cookies, and sweets boast candied ginger, to be specific, and if you've ever had a bag of this ingredient on hand for baking, then you know it's pretty delicious and snackable all on its own. We think it's a great idea to have homemade candied ginger on hand during the holidays, either offering the treat in a candy bowl alongside other desserts or gifting little baggies to guests at any parties you might host. 

To make it, all you have to do is peel fresh ginger, slice it into rounds, then boil it for an hour. After being drained, the cooked ginger is simmered in sugar syrup for another hour, then drained (save that syrup for cocktails, please!) and tossed with granulated sugar. After drying on a plate for an hour, these yummy, chewy ginger candies are ready to enjoy.

Recipe: Simple Candied Ginger

Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies

Anyone who's ever hosted or participated in a holiday cookie swap knows that the most well-known Christmas cookies — such as gingerbread cookies, pinwheels, and linzer tarts — all require creating a dough, rolling it out, and cutting it into (sometimes complicated) shapes. That can be really fun, but it can also be tiring, and that's where Tasting Table recipe developer Miriam Hahn's simple cream cheese cookies come in. 

Made from a biscuit-like cream cheese dough studded with red and green sprinkles, the cookies are shaped into 2-inch balls and baked. When still warm, they're spooned with a simple powdered sugar glaze, sprinkled with more red and green sprinkles, and are ready to enjoy once fully cooled.

Recipe: Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies

Stollen Bread With Marzipan

An iconic German Christmas bread stuffed with an impressive amount of marzipan, stollen is made from a rich, yeasted dough perfumed with plenty of dried spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cloves. Candied orange, candied lemon, and toasted almonds are mixed in, as well as dried raisins and cherries that have been soaked in apple cider overnight. 

After the dough has risen, it's divided in thirds, patted into three long ovals, and each one is folded over a log of homemade marzipan made from almond flour, powdered sugar, and egg whites. Finally, the three breads are baked, brushed with melted butter while still warm, dusted generously with powdered sugar, sliced, and served.

Recipe: Stollen Bread With Marzipan

Chocolate Cream Puffs

Although cream puffs might seem like a treat that's out of the reach of the average home baker, these decadent creations are not all that difficult to make at home. 

These chocolate versions start with a simple choux pastry that's stirred together on the stovetop, transferred to a piping bag, and then piped into mounds that are baked until airy and golden brown — these are the puffs. After they've cooled, the puffs are sliced in half, with the top half getting dipped in a homemade chocolate ganache and the bottom half getting topped with a simple homemade whipped cream flavored with cocoa. The top of the puff is set atop the bottom one, and these mouthwatering creations are ready to enjoy.

Recipe: Chocolate Cream Puffs

Eggnog Cheesecake

Yes, this is the third eggnog-flavored dessert on this list, and, no, we don't think it's one too many. In this case, prepared eggnog goes right into the cheesecake batter, along with cream cheese, rum, and nutmeg, perfectly amplifying the flavors of the beloved Christmas drink. 

That custard is poured into a homemade graham cracker crust scented with a hint of nutmeg and baked in a water bath until perfectly smooth and dense. Once thoroughly chilled in the refrigerator, it's topped with a luscious homemade whipped cream flavored with more eggnog, more nutmeg, and rum extract, topped with grated nutmeg, and served.

Recipe: Eggnog Cheesecake