There's a lot to love about Christmas, including the fact that it's socially acceptable to eat desserts all day every day in the weeks leading up to the holiday. But what to make? With this list of 30 easy Christmas desserts, you can try something new for nearly every day in December. From an elegant strawberry rosé cake to ugly sweater "Star Wars" cookies, there's truly something for everyone. Go ahead and dig out your stretchy pants now.
1. Homemade Holiday Crock-Pot Candy
Is it a bedtime snack? A delicious host gift to take to a holiday party? An easy last-minute Christmas dessert? This homemade holiday Crock-Pot candy is all of the above. It contains just chocolate, peanuts and a little coconut oil, and making the candy in your slow cooker means you can walk away while your chocolate melts instead of being stuck stirring a pot. Top the finished chocolates with crushed candy, Christmas sprinkles or a little sea salt.
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2. One-Bowl Peppermint Brownies
Eleven months of the year, peanut butter is the perfect complement for chocolate. During December, it's peppermint's chance to shine. These one-bowl peppermint brownies deliver a double punch of minty flavor with the addition of peppermint extract to the batter and a generous sprinkle of crushed peppermint candy on top. A thin layer of melted chocolate helps the candy stick to the fudgy brownies.
3. Eggnog White Chocolate Fudge
Do you love fudge but hate how fussy it is to make? You need this recipe for eggnog white chocolate fudge. Made with only six ingredients – including eggnog, of course – they come together in just minutes. You don't even need a candy thermometer. Make a big batch to give as gifts and a second batch to keep for yourself.
There's nothing like decorating sugar cookies at Christmas to remind you of your artistic shortcomings. These candy cane sugar cookies are basically foolproof, even if you have no natural talent with an icing bag. Simple stripes of red and white icing give your holiday cookies plenty of sweet and festive cheer.
Everyone should get to indulge in Christmas dessert, including those with dietary restrictions. Almond and coconut flour are the base for these gluten-free, low-carb gingerbread cookies, while a combination of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and molasses pack each bite with flavor. Dust the finished cookies with powdered sugar or make your own simple icing from powdered sugar, meringue powder and water.
Eating holiday desserts is all about indulging your cravings, so why choose between buttery sugar cookies and tart hard candies when you can have both at once? These DIY stained glass cookies are miniature works of art and are surprisingly simple to make considering how impressive they look. The key is to crush your hard candies into powder, which makes it easy to sprinkle the candy into the openings you create with small cookie cutters.
7. Chocolate Candy Cane Shot Glasses
With the help of silicone shot glass molds, making chocolate candy cane shot glasses takes no time at all. Melt chocolate, stir in some peppermint extract, pour the mixture into the molds and let the chocolate set until hard – that's all there is to it. Fill them with liquor for an adult Christmas party or with chocolate milk for a kid-friendly treat. The best part? Serving edible shot glasses means fewer dishes to clean up at the end of the party.
8. Cute Reindeer Cake Pops
Cake pops are all the rage, and reindeer pops are guaranteed to delight any crowd at Christmas. This cute reindeer cake pop tutorial takes all the guesswork out of creating this dessert at home. Black licorice may be controversial, but it makes perfect antlers.
9. Eggnog Bundt Cake
This fluffy eggnog Bundt cake works just as well as a brunch dish as it does a dessert. It's flavored with real eggnog and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. This is the dream Christmas cake for anyone who loves to bake cakes but doesn't want to deal with frosting or decorating them. Serve the Bundt cake plain or make a simple glaze to drizzle over it.
10. DIY Snow Globe Cupcakes
We're not going to lie: These DIY snow globe cupcakes are a little labor intensive. They're also so cute that every minute of effort is totally worthwhile for the finished product. The process starts with making your own edible snow globes from gelatin using blown-up water balloons as molds. If you're looking for a Christmas dessert that's sure to wow on Instagram, this is the one.
11. Gluten-Free, Low-Carb Maple Pecan Scones
Not everyone enjoys Christmas desserts that are packed with sugar and carbs. Make gluten-free, low-carb maple pecan scones for a Christmas brunch or for the Christmas dinner table. Maple syrup gives them just enough sweetness that you won't miss the extra sugar that most scone recipes call for.
12. Santa Hat Strawberry Cupcakes
When people think "Christmas desserts," they don't usually think strawberries, which makes these Santa hat strawberry cupcakes such an unexpected treat for a holiday gathering. They're also incredibly easy to put together if you use cake mix and store-bought frosting. Top each frosted cupcake with a plump, juicy berry and a dollop of extra frosting to look like the white pompom on the tip of Santa's hat.
Girl Scout cookie season is months away, but you don't have to wait that long to satisfy your craving for buttery chocolate wafers with a hint of mint. The key to making these Thin Mint cookies is to roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Not letting the dough stick to your rolling pin will help you roll it out into a thin sheet no more than 1/4 inch thick.
14. Spiced Pear Cobbler
A warm bowl of spiced pears and buttery biscuit topping tastes like Christmas in a bowl. This spiced pear cobbler is an ideal make-ahead dish for your holiday gathering. Using ripe pears gives this dessert so much sweetness that the recipe calls for just 1/2 cup of added sugar in total.
15. DIY Snowman Cake Pops
These DIY snowman cake pops are almost too cute to eat – key word being "almost." Because they're made with a cake mix and canned frosting, the prep work isn't as complicated as you might think. Two cake pops are skewered on each stick, creating the snowman shape, while melted white chocolate creates the snowy coating. Red ring candies make adorable top hats for your family of snowmen.
16. Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
There are some people who think ice cream is only a summertime dessert. Those people are wrong, and you can prove it with a homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream. Add a few drops of green food coloring to give it a Christmaslike tint. This egg-free recipe calls for an ice cream maker but provides an alternative method for freezing your ice cream without one.
17. Pecan Pie Cheesecake
Some families swear by pecan pie as a traditional Christmas dessert. In other families, the holiday meal isn't complete without cheesecake. This pecan pie cheesecake combines the best of both worlds. Creamy cheesecake filling gets poured over a buttery vanilla wafer crust while a thick and sticky pecan topping is spooned on top. It's so rich that you might not be hungry again until the new year.
18. Donut Hole Christmas Tree
Listen, not everyone is a baker. There's no shame in serving a dessert that came from the grocery store's bakery aisle, especially when you can transform those store-bought goodies into a truly impressive work of art. This donut hole Christmas tree is the perfect Christmas dessert for anyone who's more into crafting than cooking.
19. Eggnog Cheesecake With Gingerbread Crust
Eggnog and gingerbread are two of the most iconic Christmas flavors on their own, but have you ever tried them together? This eggnog cheesecake with gingerbread crust will make you a believer. Best of all, it's a super-easy recipe to put together since the crust is made from store-bought gingerbread cookies.
20. Marshmallow Fudge
Some Christmas dessert recipes have to be followed to the letter, or they won't turn out right. With marshmallow fudge, you have some room to improvise. The basic fudge recipe is just six ingredients, including sweet and sticky marshmallow creme. Then, customize your fudge by adding nuts, chopped chocolate, mini marshmallows, peppermint or any other flavors that sound good to you.
21. Sweet and Easy Snow Cream
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, and when life gives you a blizzard at Christmastime, you make this sweet and easy snow cream. Adding a mixture of sugar, cream and vanilla to a bowl of freshly fallen snow makes a surprisingly good approximation of vanilla ice cream. Collect the snow carefully so it doesn't get packed and dense before you pour the sweet cream over it.
There's no better sweet treat for a "Star Wars" super fan than a dessert adorned with R2-D2s. This "Star Wars" Christmas cookie recipe tutorial walks you through the steps to make sugar cookies decorated like "ugly" sweaters featuring everyone's favorite droid. They're a little labor intensive but are guaranteed to wow everyone who sees them – no Force required.
23. Cinnamon Roll Wreath
There's no shame in eating Christmas dessert leftovers for breakfast the next day, especially when dessert is a cinnamon roll wreath. This recipe walks you through the steps to make cinnamon rolls from scratch, which isn't as hard as you might think. Arranging the sweet, sticky rolls in a round cake pan creates the wreath shape; adding a bow is totally optional.
24. Graham Cracker "Gingerbread" Houses
Snowshoeing, cutting down your own tree, making gingerbread houses from scratch ... there sure are a lot of quaint Christmas activities that are harder than they look. By the time your homemade gingerbread house pieces are baked and cooled, you may be totally over the entire project. Skip straight to the fun part – decorating – by making graham cracker "gingerbread" houses using canned frosting.
S'mores tend to be a summertime snack, but melted chocolate and marshmallows are delicious at any time of year. Warm s'mores cookies straight from the oven are the perfect complement to a cup of hot cocoa or hot buttered rum. Folding graham cracker pieces into the dough gives these cookies some delicious crunch.
A cast iron skillet red velvet cookie tastes familiar, but the presentation is unusual enough to make it seem like a special holiday treat. Baking this dense, rich cookie in a cast iron skillet gives it a soft center and crunchy crust. It's also a lot quicker than spooning out individual cookies onto sheet pans. Drizzle the finished cookie with milk or dark chocolate sauce and serve it warm so the white chocolate chunks are still melty.
27. Classic Homemade Pecan Pie
It's buttery, laden with nuts and so sticky sweet that your teeth might hurt the next day (not that you'll have any regrets). Classic homemade pecan pie is an indulgence befitting a special occasion like Christmas. Serve it warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
28. Homemade Gourmet Caramel Apples
These homemade gourmet caramel apples make perfect gifts for teachers or for a white elephant gift exchange. Made with just fresh apples, melted caramel candies and the toppings of your choice, they can also be a great dessert for anyone who is gluten-free or even vegan. Roll them in chopped, spiced nuts to create a Christmaslike flavor combination.
29. No-Churn Cranberry Ice Cream
When was the last time you had cranberry ice cream? For most people, the answer is probably "never." That's a shame, because tart cranberries and sweet vanilla cream are a match made in heaven. Try it yourself this year with a no-churn cranberry ice cream recipe that gets frozen in a loaf pan. No ice cream maker is required.
30. Sparkling Strawberry Rosé Cake
If you're looking for an adults-only Christmas dessert that's a little more upscale than basic sugar cookies or brownies, sparkling strawberry rosé cake is it. Rosé wine is added to the rich vanilla cake layers and the pink buttercream as well as the sweet syrup that's brushed over every layer. Make one cake for Christmas and another a week later for a festive New Year's dessert.