Heavenly Holiday Desserts
No Southern table is complete without these holiday dessert recipes from our Test Kitchen. Of course when it comes to Christmas desserts, we’re known for our Big White Cakes, but we also have charming cheesecakes, crowd-pleasing pound cakes, and layer cakes from coconut to gingerbread with buttermilk frosting. If you’re looking for holiday desserts that stop the show, look no further than our Praline Cream-Beignet Tower or Mexican Hot Chocolate Trifle. We also have you covered on holiday desserts that we like to call “easy wows.” They're perfect for toting to a cookie swap or holiday party, from Ambrosia Streusel Bars to Layered Eggnog Blondies. These fabulous holiday dessert recipes taste divine and will absolutely dazzle on your Christmas dessert table. Prepare to impress!
Snowy Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream
Christmas Tree Brownies
Recipe: Christmas Tree Brownies
These brownies have the soft texture you crave, but the best part is decorating them with the family.
Recipe: Peppermint Truffles
When coating the truffles, the Southern Living Test Kitchen professionals recommend using Ghiradelli Chocolate White Melting Wafers—not only do they melt smoothly, but they have a very nice vanilla flavor.
Cream Cheese Cookie Wreaths
Recipe: Cream Cheese Cookie Wreaths
These adorable cookies are the best way to occupy the kids on a slow day off school during the holidays.
Chocolate Peppermint Cake
Recipe: Chocolate Peppermint Cake
Southerners know that mayonnaise is the secret to the best chocolate cake, and this layer cake starts with it.
Bourbon Ball Tart
Recipe: Bourbon Ball Tart
If you want to have the most fun dessert on the sideboard, bring this one that tops chocolate ganache with festive bourbon balls.
Recipe: Peppermint Divinity
Since the South’s hot, humid climate can extend well into winter, be sure to check the weather and pick a dry, sunny day as your “divinity day” to make this old-fashioned treat.
Peppermint Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting
Each element of this cake can be made ahead, so you can just decorate and serve the day of your gathering.
Red Velvet Crackle Sandwich Cookies
These red velvet delights belong in a vintage cookie tin for friends and family to enjoy.
Buche de Noel
Recipe: Buche de Noel
It’s a labor of love, but if you’ve never made a classic yule log cake for the holidays, this is the year to try.
Candy Cane Cake Bars
Recipe: Candy Cane Cake Bars
Who could guess these adorable little bars started with a box of cake mix?
Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies
Chocolate cookie dough rolled in sparkling sugar with peppermint filling makes for a Christmas treat that’s almost too pretty to eat.
Spiked Eggnog Bundt Cake
Recipe: Spiked Eggnog Bundt Cake
Calling all eggnog lovers! You’ve got to make this pretty Bundt. A tip from the Test Kitchen: For the most tender crumb, don’t overmix the wet and dry ingredients; stop stirring just after they are blended.
Brownie Baked Alaska
Recipe: Brownie Baked Alaska
Ditch the traditional sponge cake layer for a warm, classic brownie that kids and adults alike will love.
Eggnog Spice Cake with Bourbon Custard Filling and Eggnog Buttercream
Instead of drinking your eggnog this Christmas, serve it on a cake plate.
Red Velvet Santa Hat Meringues
Recipe: Red Velvet Santa Hat Meringues
A few tips from the Test Kitchen for these oh-so-fun meringues: Use a concentrated red food coloring gel (not liquid food coloring) for the brightest results. When baking the meringues, don't open the oven after turning it off; this will help them dry.
Rice Krispies Christmas Trees
Recipe: Rice Krispies Christmas Trees
Adorable as a cake topper or snack for the kids’ table at Christmas dinner, you just need a few store-bought ingredients to bring these trees to life.
Recipe: Christmas Fudge
Every Christmas gathering needs a cake plate stacked high with perfect pieces of fudge.
Gingerbread Cake with Buttermilk Frosting
Warm spices and molasses blend beautifully with tangy buttermilk frosting.
Gingerbread Latte Cake with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting
Each tender spice cake layer is brushed with espresso simple syrup and topped with dreamy vanilla frosting.
White Chocolate-Peppermint Blondies
Since this festive recipe makes four and a half dozen bars, you’ll have plenty to share with the neighbors.
Best White Cake
Recipe: Snowball Cake
Use your biscuit cutter to turn a tender sheet cake into sweet mini snowball cakes for each family member to enjoy themselves.
White Christmas Pavlovas
Recipe: White Christmas Pavlovas
There’s no prettier way to end a meal than with a fluffy pavlova. The mini portions are perfect for easy serving.
Recipe: Old-Fashioned Gingerbread
This year, we could use a little homemade comfort, and this old-school gingerbread recipe is like a hug in a pan.
Red Velvet Brownies
Recipe: Red Velvet Brownies
Brownies get dressed up for Christmas with red velvet and snowy cream cheese frosting.
Cherry-Spice Cake Trifle
Praline Cream-Beignet Tower
Recipe: Praline Cream-Beignet Tower
Make the praline filling and dough up to two days ahead.
Cranberry Dreamsicle Trifle
Recipe: Cranberry Dreamsicle Trifle
Effortless to pull off? Check. Tastes better the longer it sits? Check. Make this beauty up to one day before company arrives.
Recipe: Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake
Don't worry if your cheesecake cracks; the light and fluffy layer of whipped cream will cover it.
Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Creamy red velvet cheesecake, soft white cake, and layers of tangy cream cheese frosting? Somebody pinch us.