The month of December is exciting for so many reasons—Hallmark movie marathons, family time, and nights by the fire, for starters—but for us sugar enthusiasts, one reason stands out above the rest: the holiday baking opportunities it brings! Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up all of the best Christmas desserts out there. With recipes for beautifully-decorated Christmas cookies, Christmas cakes, and Christmas treats galore, these easy Christmas desserts will definitely make the next month feel like the most delicious time of the year.
Here, we’re kicking things up a notch with a ton of revamped classics that’ll make you want to edit your personal ranking of the best Christmas desserts. A classic cheesecake recipe, for instance, gets an instant makeover with ginger, nutmeg, and clove. Meanwhile, we’ve taken the time-honored gingerbread cookie recipe you know and love and turned it into—wait for it—ice cream! Of course, if you’re going to go through all the trouble of making all these mouthwatering recipes from scratch, you might as well have a few guests over for a Christmas party (check out our guides to amazing holiday appetizers, Christmas cocktails, and Christmas table decorations for the ultimate extravaganza). For any festive occasion, you can’t go wrong with one of these fantastic Christmas desserts.
White Chocolate Gingerbread Yule Log
for the gingerbread sponge cake
- 4 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark strap molasses
- 2 teaspoons Rodelle Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
for the whipped cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
for the white chocolate buttercream
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted and cooled
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1–2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
make the gingerbread sponge cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a jelly roll pan (preferable) or a half sheet baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites over high speed until soft peaks form. Turn mixer to low speed and slowly add in granulated sugar. Turn mixer back to high speed and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Remove from mixer and set aside.
- Clean your standing mixer bowl and place back on stand. Add in the egg yolks. Still using the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks until they begin to foam. Add in molasses and vanilla extract and continue to beat until mixture becomes a shade lighter in color, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from standing mixer and set aside.
- In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Fold your flour mixture into your yolk mixture. The batter will be thick, but this will change once you add in your egg whites.
- Using a spatula, gently fold your egg whites into your flour/yolk mixture until fully incorporated. Spread batter into prepared pan, using the spatula to smooth batter to the edges. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the cake is cooked through. Cool for 5 minutes before inverting cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioner’s sugar (and to note: I left my parchment paper on the underside of the cake to prevent it from sticking to the towel).
- Roll cake into a tight spiral, starting from the short side. Place in fridge to cool completely.
make your filling & frosting
- In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream your heavy cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Unroll cake (& carefully remove parchment paper if you kept it on) and spread the whipped cream evenly over the cake. Roll up cake.
- Cut cake about 4 inches from the edge on a diagonal to create the second part of your log. Place larger roll seam side down onto a platter. Place the smaller roll on the side of the first roll, with the diagonal side of the smaller roll touching the larger roll.
- In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter for 2 minutes, then add in melted and cooled white chocolate. Combine, then add in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, creaming for about 30 seconds.
- Spread white chocolate buttercream over the cake, leaving the edges of the logs bare. Use a fork to make soft waves throughout the buttercream. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Serve!
Peanut Butter Cookie Cup
How to make Peanut Butter Cup Cookies:
- Beat the peanut butter, shortening, and sugars until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again.
- Slowly mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Roll the dough into 24 even balls. Roll in the extra sugar and place in a greased mini muffin tin.
- When the cookies are done baking, let them cool in the pan for 2 minutes. Then press a chilled peanut butter cup into the top of each one.
- Run a butter knife around the edge of the cookies and lift them out gently. Place on a wire rack to cool.
- If you want to customize the cookies for a party or holiday, add sprinkles to the tops of the melted peanut butter cups.
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
-yield 9″ double crusted pie
Meet your new favorite apple pie! With its thick crust and juicy salted caramel apple filling, you’re sure to be hooked after one bite.
1 cup salted caramel sauce
3 pounds baking apples, peeled, cored, and thinly slice (I suggest using granny smith apples)
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg plus 1 teaspoon water, beaten
1 tablespoon Turbinado sugar, for the crust, optional
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, divided
For the Crust:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Lightly grease a 9″ pie plate with non-stick spray OR butter and evenly sprinkle with a little flour; set aside. Roll out one portion of the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface, rolling it to about a 12-inch round. Gently place the dough into the prepared pie dish and trim the edges so that only 1/2 an inch of pie dough is hanging around the side. Sprinkle the bottom of the pie shell with 1 teaspoon of flour and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar (this helps soak up excess moisture). Place pie shell in the fridge while you prepare your lattice topping.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the second disk of chilled dough, rolling it out into a 12-inch round. Slice the dough into 8 even sized strips. The best way to do this is by using a pizza/pastry wheel, but you can also use a ruler and knife. Carefully transfer the strips onto the prepared baking sheet (making sure they don’t touch) and place the pan in the fridge while you prepare the apple filling.
For the Apple Filling:
- In a large bowl combine the sliced apples and lemon juice, toss well to coat the apples in the lemon juice. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and set aside for 30 minutes.
- In a separate large bowl, combine the light brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, salt, and flour. Use a slotted spoon to add the sliced apples into the sugar-spice mixture, leaving excess liquid behind. Gently toss the apples in the sugar-spice mixture until they’re evenly coated.
Assembly and Baking:
- Tightly layer the apples into the prepared pie shell. Pour the salted caramel sauce on top of the apples, then sprinkle with a 1/2 teaspoon of flaky sea salt.
- Place 4 parallel strips of the pie dough on top of the filling, leaving about a 1/2 inch of space in between them. Gently fold back every other strip. Place one strip of pie dough perpendicular to the parallel strips, then unfold the folded strips over the perpendicular strip. Carefully take the parallel strips under the perpendicular strip and fold them black over the perpendicular strip. Now lay down a second perpendicular strip of dough a 1/2 inch next to the first strip; unfold the folded parallel strips over the second strip. Repeat this process until the lattice weave is complete on top of the pie. Trim the edges of the strips of pie dough, so that they’re only 1/2 an inch over the sides. Tightly fold the excess pie crust up and onto the rim of the pie dish, then gently crimp the crust using two of your fingers.
- Chill the pie in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, beat together the egg and water. Once pie has chilled, brush the pastry with the egg wash. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar (if using) and remaining sea salt.
- Loosely cover the crust with foil or a pie crust shield.
- Bake pie on the bottom rack of the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then carefully remove foil or pie crust shield, reduce the heat to 375 degrees, and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is aggressively bubbling. Allow pie to cool completely on a wire cooling rack; about 4 hours. Pie will keep, tightly covered in the fridge, for 3 days.