These festive favorites and elegant show-stoppers create holiday cheer with every bite
If you can manage to wait, chief baking officer Arnold Eric Wong of Raison d’Être bakery in South San Francisco recommends
serving his moist brownies a day after baking because they develop an even fudgier texture and mintier flavor.
Recipe: Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies
The party: The big Christmas feast
The appeal: With its jewel-like filling, this cake is a snowy white showstopper
Baker's tip: To make a pure white cake, use your fingers to rub off the browned surface of each layer before assembling.
Recipe: Cranberry Obsession Snow Cake
This party-size, extravagantly dense and creamy cheesecake comes from chef Peter Birk at Boka restaurant in Seattle. He infuses
cream with fresh mint; we used extract for simplicity.
Recipe: White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
The party: Dinner with good friends
The appeal: Silky caramel, ripe bananas, creamy vanilla custard, all oozing from a stack of crunchy meringue layers: You want only certain people to see you get this messy
Baker's tip: Dacquoise ― a cake made of crisp meringue layers ― works best if you pair it with soft, fluffy, or creamy fillings. This dessert is all about contrasts in texture.
Recipe: Banana Pecan Dacquoise
The party: New Year’s Eve bash
The appeal: A super-refreshing way to usher in the new year, and great with Champagne
Baker's tip: Segmenting citrus fruit (removing the membranes so just fruit is left) makes it seem juicier and more tender.
Recipe: Orange Trifle with Grand Marnier Cream
The party: Lunch or afternoon tea
The appeal: It’s so rich that even a small slice is satisfying
Baker's tip: Run a spatula around the inside of the pan just after baking to help the cheesecake firm up without cracking
Recipe: Eggnog Cheesecake
The party: Cocktails with lots of finger food
The appeal: Dessert version of cocktail snacks; cute and tasty
Baker's tip: When you dip the ice cream balls in chocolate, make sure you coat some of the skewer too ― this keeps the ice cream from sliding off as it melts.
Recipe: Peppermint Ice Cream Bon Bons
The party: The office get-together
The appeal: They look impressively hard to make (actually, the opposite is true); easy to pack
Baker's tip: As with any super-buttery dough, chilling it makes it much easier to slice
Recipe: Cardamom Brown-Sugar Palmiers
Clementines create a pure, intense sorbetto (sorbet) that practically explodes with flavor. Serve with chocolate biscotti
for a little decadence.
Recipe: Clementine Sorbetto
These rich chocolate brownies are topped with a delicate layer of peppermint candy. They're perfect for the holidays.
Recipe: Peppermint-topped Brownies
Our whipped cream cake sprinkled with crushed peppermint might just become your next holiday tradition.
Recipe: Candy Cane Cake
This towering cake, garnished with chunks of coffee-flavored toffee, makes a luscious centerpiece for the holiday dessert
Recipe: Spice Cake with Coffee Toffee Crunch
This pancake-like cake is great for after dinner or as a breakfast treat. And it comes together in less than 30 minutes.
Recipe: Apple Oven Cake
This bread is a versatile, easy-to-make crowd-pleaser, delicately laced with Grand Marnier and studded with tart dried cranberries
and orange zest. It's good for breakfast or as a gift.
Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Bread with Grand Marnier Glaze
This dark, moist cake is a favorite of guests at the Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where it's cut into
rounds and set on a pool of custard sauce.
Recipe: Cholly's World-Famous Gingerbread Cake
Peppermint's cool bite gets smoothed out when paired with creamy cheesecake.
Recipe: Crushed Peppermint Cheesecake
This delightfully clean and colorful dessert is ideal to serve after a rich main course.
Recipe: Sparkling Oranges
This show-stopping dessert is both elegant and delicious–just the thing for capping off your holiday in style.
Recipe: Caramel-cloaked Chocolate-Hazelnut Torte
You can make the jam mixture and dough for this elegant tart up to three days ahead of time.
Recipe: Cranberry Jam Tart
These golden-brown pears make a stunning finale, and they can be made well ahead of time. Chocolate sorbet adds a deep, rich
Recipe: Caramelized Pears with Toasted Hazelnuts and Chocolate Sorbet
A spicy, molasses-rich gingerbread is the base of a wonderfully festive dessert.
Recipe: Gingerbread Pear Trifle
We love this cake from Doña Tomás restaurant in Oakland, California; it's rich with a sauce like dulce de leche.
Recipe: Tres Leches Cake with Raspberries
The colorful mixture of fruit and nuts makes for a festive presentation atop rich shortbread.
Recipe: Florentine Bars
Dark beer, molasses, and crystallized ginger give this cake uncommon depth of flavor. Candied-ginger whipped cream gilds the
Recipe: Guinness Stout Gingerbread Cake
This dessert has several components that can be made ahead of time, making for easy assembly after dinner is finished.
Recipe: Sticky Toffee Trifle with Cranberries