The perfect holiday meal is always topped off by the perfect holiday dessert.
Here are five of our favorite holiday desserts to sweeten your holiday this season!
1. Applesauce Spice Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1⅔ cups jarred chunky applesauce
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup dark or golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 2 pints vanilla ice cream
- Heat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform or round cake pan.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the granulated sugar, applesauce, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and eggs. Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in the raisins. Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the cake from pan. Invert it onto the rack. Turn it over again onto a serving plate. Sprinkle the cake with the confectioners' sugar, slice into wedges, and serve with the ice cream.
2. Peppermint-Mousse Cake
- 1 16-ounce frozen pound cake
- 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese or sour cream (½ cup)
- ½ cup toasted slivered almonds, chopped
- 1 12-ounce bag semisweet mint chocolate chips, chopped, or one 12-ounce bag semisweet chips plus 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 candy cane or 5 peppermint hard candies, chopped
- Defrost the pound cake according to the label directions. Slice it horizontally into 3 layers.
- In a large bowl, combine the whipping cream and sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the mascarpone, almonds, and ⅓ of the mint chocolate chips.
- Place half the remaining mint chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave 1 minute or just until shiny. Stir until smooth. Gently fold the melted chocolate (plus half the peppermint extract if using plain chocolate chips) into the whipped cream.
- Spread the bottom layer of the cake with half the chocolate cream filling and top with the middle cake layer. Spread with the remaining chocolate filling. Set the top layer in place. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to set. (Can be made up to 1 day ahead to this point.)
- Melt the remaining chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave about 1 minute or just until shiny. Stir in the corn syrup, butter, and the remaining peppermint extract (if using plain chocolate chips) until smooth. Pour this glaze over the cake. Top with the crushed candy. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Hot Chocolate Cake
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for coating
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Generously butter, flour, and sugar eight 6-ounce coffee cups or mugs made of ovenproof stoneware. Wipe the rims clean.
- Place the 8 tablespoons of butter and the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt, stirring once or twice until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.
- Using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and 1/2 cup sugar at the highest speed until the volume doubles and the mixture becomes foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir the 3 tablespoons of flour into the chocolate, then gradually add it to the egg mixture, beating on low until it's fully incorporated.
- Ladle the batter into each cup until it's about 1/2 inch from the rim. Bake until the cakes puff and begin to crack but the centers are still a bit runny, 13 to 17 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with marshmallows, then return to oven for 2 to 4 minutes, until the marshmallow tops begin to crisp. Remove from oven; let cool about 5 minutes. Sift the cocoa on top.
4. Eggnog Cheesecake Bars
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg\
- 3/4 cup eggnog
- 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
- Graham cracker crumbs and/or crystallized ginger (optional)
- For the crust, combine the 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter with a fork until evenly combined. Transfer the crumb mixture to an 8x8x2-inch baking pan lined with foil or parchment paper. Press crumb mixture down flat in an even layer. Bake in a 375 degrees oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- For the filling, in a large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup sugar and beat 1 minute more. Add egg; beat until smooth. Add the egg and bourbon, if desired; beat on medium speed 1 minute more, until the mixture is light and no lumps remain.
- Pour the filling over the crust in the baking pan. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until the center is just set. Cool in pan on wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. If you like, garnish bars with graham cracker crumbs and/or crystallized ginger.
5. Sea Salt Caramels
- Butter for greasing pan
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup light-color corn syrup
- 1 14 - ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 -2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
- Line a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with foil, extending foil over edges. Butter the foil; set aside. Place butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, condensed milk and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 4 to 5 minutes or until butter is melted, stirring every minute. Microwave for 9 to 16 minutes more or until a candy thermometer inserted in center of mixture* registers 245 degrees (firm-ball stage).** (In a 1000-watt microwave, begin checking temperature at 8 minutes; in a 850-watt microwave, start checking at 12 minutes.)
- When candy reaches firm-ball stage, stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle top of caramel mixture with sea salt. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until firm. To slice, use foil to lift caramel out of the dish. Cut into 100 pieces with a buttered knife. Wrap caramels in squares of waxed paper, twisting ends. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Recipes courtesy of Midwest Living and Real Simple