Holiday Dessert Roundup: Our Favorite Sweet Seasonal Recipes

You'll be the star of the holiday party with these seasonal sweets, which range from classic to deliciously creative.

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We believe that baked goods belong at the center of every holiday gathering. Forget about piles of presents, carefully placed seasonal decor and nosy relatives just waiting to grill us about our personal lives—we're making a beeline straight for the dessert table! And while there are so many classic treats to look forward to each year, there's joy to be found in trying something new (or just new to you)!

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In the spirit of celebrating all things sweet this season, we've created a roundup of our favorite holiday dessert recipes. You'll find creative twists on classics, several inventive treats and a few stalwart selections. So, whether you're hosting or attending gatherings this holiday season, your desserts will steal the show.

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We'll kick things off with one of those "creative twists on classics" we mentioned above. Sugar cookies are a staple of any holiday dessert table, but why not elevate them with a festive touch? These candy-cane-shaped sugar cookies require just a bit of extra effort to achieve a perfect candy cane outline and a beautiful frosting design. Our recipe even includes instructions for making the frosting yourself, so these cookies are a fully DIYed masterpiece.

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The name of these treats alone is enough to get anyone's taste buds tingling. Macarons are notoriously tough to make, but this step-by-step recipe offers thoughtful instructions for successfully producing macarons and bringing them to life with a decidedly adorable polar bear design. Plus, they're not just standard macarons; they're loaded with Oreo cheesecake filling. These might just be too cute to eat. (We said ‌might‌.)

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Who says the holiday color palette is limited to shades of green and red? These cookies are intricately crafted to give the appearance of stained glass—and because hard candies (like Jolly Ranchers) make up the "glass" element, you can choose any hues you like. Of course, you might want to tailor your cookies to match a traditional holiday decor scheme, but the possibilities are endless. These are sure to be a showstopper at the office Christmas party or family shindig.

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The cake pop trend has never really stopped trending, and we're glad. These blue and white cake pops pay fun and delicious homage to a classic Hanukkah tradition: spinning the dreidel. Even if you're a newbie to cake pops, this recipe is easy to follow and serves as a festive introduction to working with colorful candy melts. Oh, and did we mention that the pops are utterly delicious?

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Name something more fun than incorporating pop culture into delicious dessert recipes. We'll wait. These Star Wars cookies are sure to impress people of all ages and from all walks of (alien) life. We didn't realize that desserts and droids mixed so seamlessly, but the tiny R2-D2 design on these cookies is just about the sweetest thing on this side of the galaxy. You thought we were going to make Princess-Leia-inspired cinnamon buns, didn't you? (Maybe next year!)

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Here's where those "stalwart selections" we teased come into play. Whether you're a lifelong baker or a true beginner, you'll surely need to learn the art of making gingerbread cookies at some point in your culinary journey, so we've put together a classic, straightforward recipe that offers everything you'll need for perfect gingerbread cookies every time. We know, it's a bold assertion, but don't knock it 'til you taste it!

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And now for something totally different: eggnog white chocolate fudge! Eggnog is a divisive topic, but this easy-to-make fudge offers a unique way to appreciate the flavors of 'nog without chugging down a whole glass. You can add store-bought eggnog to bring out that creamy, slightly spiced taste, but baking with homemade eggnog makes for an even more impressive (and delicious) holiday treat.

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We can't forget the folks with dietary restrictions on our list of holiday desserts, and these vegan cinnamon sugar cookies are whipped up with nondairy milk and no eggs. They make for a delightful bake all year long, but their warm blend of cinnamon and sugar makes them well suited to winter gatherings. Just watch out, as the nonvegans might try to snag a few of these the second they're left unattended!

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This recipe combines gingersnap cookies and chocolates into one decadent dessert. Need we say more? Whether you're baking for your family or putting together a box of goodies to gift the neighbors, it's pretty tough to go wrong with these unexpected seasonal delights. The gingersnap flavor is delicious but not overpowering, and it's perfectly balanced by a chocolate coating and white chocolate drizzle. We might be drooling...

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The nostalgia of thumbprint cookies makes this recipe a fantastic one to try with young children or older loved ones who want to get involved in the seasonal baking process. The step-by-step instructions offer everything you'll need to craft the perfect thumbprint dough while leaving room for personalization with a filling (or fillings!) of your choice. They're flavorful, they're compact and they offer a ‌truly‌ hands-on approach to baking—how sweet!

Image Credit: Jackie Dodd

Who knew your slow cooker could double as a candy-maker? While most of us associate the Crock-Pot with savory recipes, this colorful homemade Crock-Pot candy offers a fun deviation from meat and potatoes. Get creative with your melted chocolate and peanut creations by adding crushed candy canes, sprinkles or whatever your sweet tooth desires.

Now that you're up to speed on some of our all-time favorite holiday dessert recipes, you have no excuse to show up to your next gathering empty-handed. No matter which recipes you opt for, don't forget to set aside a portion for yourself. These goodies will be devoured in a (ginger)snap!

Looking for another delicious twist on holiday treats? Try making our sweet holiday dips, which create a beautiful (and totally mouthwatering) centerpiece for any dessert table.

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