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100 Amazing Contest-Winning Desserts

To be a contest-winning dessert, a recipe has to make it through the Taste of Home Test Kitchen, then be judged by our tasting panel—and selected as one of the very best. If you're looking for sure-fire, knock-em-dead desserts, check out our prize winners from years past. (And maybe be inspired to enter your own recipe in an upcoming contest!)

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Hazelnut Pear Cake Exps173579 Th143190b09 25 9bc Rms 7

Hazelnut Pear Cake

From the hazelnuts to the yummy browned butter glaze, this dessert is a little different from an everyday pound cake. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah

Taste of Home runs recipe contests throughout the year. Want to enter one of your recipes? Check out our upcoming categories and send in your best recipe today!

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Creamy Caramel Flan Exps Ft20 2197 F 0723 1 4

Creamy Caramel Flan

A small slice of this impressively rich, creamy treat goes a long way. What a delightful finish for a special meal or holiday celebration. —Pat Forete, Miami, Florida

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Rhubarb Cherry Pie Exps Ppp18 2570 D05 08 1b 5

Rhubarb Cherry Pie

As a young girl, I dreamed of being able to make pies like my mother. Her rolling pin, which I inherited, is 2 feet long and 8 inches wide! In fact, this is Mom's recipe, although I substituted cherries for the strawberries in her version. I first made this pie for a church gathering 20 years ago, and everyone's looked for it at every potluck since! —Eunice Hurt, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
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No-Churn Gingerbread Ice Cream

Thanksgiving or Christmas is gingerbread time! And this ice cream says it all. I've found that dark brown sugar works better than light. —Jacqueline, McComas, Paoli, Pennsylvania
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Lemon Supreme Pie

A friend and I often visit a local restaurant for pie and coffee. When they stopped carrying our favorite lemon supreme pie, I got busy in the kitchen and created this version, which we think tastes even better! The combination of the cream cheese and tart lemon is wonderful. —Jana Beckman, Wamego, Kansas
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Cardamom-Blackberry Linzer Cookies

Deeply spiced cardamom is the perfect match for the jam of your choice in this family-favorite sweet treat. —Christianna Gozzi, Astoria, New York
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Exps19289 Hb143427b07 18 3b 4

Cran-Apple Cobbler

My cranberry-packed cobbler is the crowning glory of many of our late fall and winter meals. We’re not big on pies, so this favorite is preferred at our family celebrations. The aroma of cinnamon and fruit is irresistible. —Jo Ann Sheehan, Ruther Glen, Virginia
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Pineapple Coconut Tassies Exps Thd18 226779 C07 27 4b 1

Pineapple Coconut Tassies

These cookies may sound and look fancy, but they're rather easy to make Their simplicity makes them an ideal choice for baking with children. My granddaughter enjoys helping me measure the ingredients. Children also can help shape the dough into balls, and then you can finish them together. —Connie Shuff, York, Pennsylvania
Autumn Apple Torte Exps177866 Th143193d04 09 4b Rms 14

Autumn Apple Torte

During apple season, I always look forward to making this yummy torte. It has a cream cheese layer and apples galore. —Margaret Wilson, San Bernardino, California
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Mocha Truffle Cheesecake

I went through a phase when I couldn't get enough cheesecake or coffee, so I created this rich dessert. Its brownie-like crust and creamy mocha layer really hit the spot. It's ideal for get-togethers because it can be made in advance. —Shannon Dormady, Great Falls, Montana
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Strawberry Gelato Exps Sdam18 212175 D11 30 2b 9

Strawberry Gelato

You'll love this smooth and creamy gelato with bright strawberry flavor and just a hint of sea salt and honey. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Rustic Fruit Tart

My husband and I love pie, but we can’t eat a whole 9-inch pie by ourselves. So I make these easy tarts using rhubarb and raspberries picked at home. Sometimes I substitute apples, peaches or our garden blueberries for the rhubarb. —Naomi Olson Hamilton, Michigan
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Blueberry Zucchini Squares

I saw a bar recipe using apple and lemon zest on a muffin mix. I tried it from scratch with shredded zucchini and fresh blueberries instead. It’s a nifty combo. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Red Velvet Cheesecake Exps Gbhrbz18 135184 C06 20 018 3

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Festive and oh, so good, this cheesecake will become a fixture on your Christmas dessert menu. The red velvet filling is spiked with cocoa, topped with cream cheese frosting and baked in a chocolate cookie crumb crust. —Karen Dively, Chapin, South Carolina
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Coconut Macaroon Pie

Coconut macaroons are divine, but they can be a little messy to make. I turned the batter into a pie filling, and the luscious results speak for themselves. —Becky Mollenkamp, St. Louis, Missouri
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Mrs Thompson S Carrot Cake Exps158404 Th2379807a10 31 5bc Rms 2

Mrs. Thompson's Carrot Cake

I received this recipe from the mother of a patient I cared for back in 1972 in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was, and is, the best carrot cake I have ever tasted. It’s requested for many family gatherings and celebrations. —Becky Wachob, Kelly, Wyoming
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Peach Cream Puffs

On a sizzling day, we crave something light, airy and cool. Nothing says summer like cream puffs stuffed with peaches and whipped cream. —Angela Benedict, Dunbar, West Virginia
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Best Lime Tart Exps Mtcbbz17 50825 C02 22 5b 2

Best Lime Tart

This treat is the perfect balance between tart and sweet, and the almonds in the crust are just wonderful. This is one of my husband’s favorite desserts. Enjoy! —Charis O'Connell, Mohnton, Pennsylvania
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Exps23019 Fft2434558d08 08 10b Web 3

Blueberry Ice Cream

The wild blueberries on our property spark recipe ideas. When my daughter and I made this ice cream at a Girl Guide meeting, it was well received. Even today, our 10 children, 19 grandkids and 4 great-grandchildren think it tastes great. —Alma Mosher, Mohannes, New Brunswick
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Sacher Torte Squares

Sacher torte is a Viennese cake that requires several steps. My squares are an easy alternative, but they still feature the classic apricot and chocolate flavors. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
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Watermelon Slice Cookies

Once when I made these butter cookies for a party, a neighbor thought they were so attractive that she froze one to show friends. They're easy to make, too! —Sue Ann Benham, Valparaiso, Indiana
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Mango Almond Icebox Cake Exps Sdam18 212133 D12 01 3b 3

Mango Almond Icebox Cake

This recipe was inspired by my friend who asked me to make a mango cake. It's easy to prepare, refreshing, light, and tastes absolutely fantastic. Strawberries can be used as well. —Rachel Simoneau, Danbury, Connecticut
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Luscious Almond Cheesecake Exps Gbhrbz17 441 B07 12 3b 4

Luscious Almond Cheesecake

I received this recipe along with a set of springform pans from a cousin at my wedding shower 11 years ago. It makes a heavenly cheesecake. My son Tommy has already told me he wants it again for his birthday cake this year. —Brenda Clifford, Overland Park, Kansas
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Contest Winning Raspberry Cream Pie Exps Bdsmz17 44023 B03 02 2b 4

Raspberry Cream Pie

This recipe is delicious with either fresh-picked or frozen raspberries. That means you can make it year-round. One bite of raspberry pie will instantly turn winter to summer. —Julie Price, Nashville, Tennessee
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

My husband and I have two sons, and I sent these peanut butter brownies to them regularly when they were in college. They told me that they used to hide a few from their roommates just to make sure there would be some left! —Patsy Burgin, Lebanon, Indiana
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Lemon Whirligigs with Raspberries

Golden whirligigs with a tart lemon flavor float on a ruby raspberry sauce in this delectable dessert. I love serving it to guests. My children also like it made with blackberries. —Vicki Ayres, Wappingers Falls, New York
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Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

I'm originally from Paraguay, and dulce de leche reminds me of where I came from. If you can't find it at your grocery store, try caramel ice cream topping instead. It tastes different, but this decadent dessert will still be amazing. —Sonia Lipham, Ranburne, Alabama
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Cranberry Orange Crumb Tart Exps169334 Th133086a07 23 7bc Rms 12

Cranberry-Orange Crumb Tart

After my sister took the family to the local cranberry festival, my mom bet me that I couldn't make a holiday pie out of cranberries and oranges. Considering the pie was gone before the holidays arrived, I think I won! —Heather Cunningham, Whitman, Massachusetts
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Chocolate Glazed Coconut Almond Cheesecake Exps146939 Th2379797a11 14 2bc Rms 6

Chocolate-Glazed Coconut Almond Cheesecake

My idea was to make a cheesecake taste like my favorite candy bar, which has chocolate, coconut and almonds. This cheesecake also works in bite size. Use a mini muffin pan with muffin liners, fill 3/4 full and bake 15-17 minutes. Allow to sit and cool completely before topping with chocolate, coconut and almonds. —Keri Brammer, Lawton, Oklahoma
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Coconut Key Lime Thumbprints Exps Sddj18 204455 C08 08 4b 12

Coconut Key Lime Thumbprints

This is the cookie recipe I created for the Las Vegas World Food Championships in 2013. It's similar to a shortbread thumbprint cookie, but with lots more personality. —Amy Freeze, Avon Park, Florida
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Watermelon Sorbet

Summertime and watermelon go hand in hand. My melon sorbet is fresh, fruity and without the gluten and eggs you get in many other frozen desserts. —Rachel Lewis, Danville, Virginia
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Elegant Orange Blossom Cheesecake Exps165183 Cw2376972c10 25 3b1 Rms 6

Elegant Orange Blossom Cheesecake

The aroma of orange zest hints at how heavenly this delicate cheesecake tastes. Gingersnap cookie crumbs make a distinctive crust, while glazed orange slices become a blossomlike topping. —Sharon Delaney-Chronis, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Lime Gin Coconut Macaroons Exps169079 Th132104d06 20 27bc Rms 4

Lime & Gin Coconut Macaroons

I took these lime and coconut macaroons to our annual cookie exchange, where we name a queen. I won the crown! —Milissa Kirkpatrick, Angel Fire, New Mexico
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Chocolate Velvet Dessert Exps Thca22 19457 G07 09 4b

Chocolate Velvet Dessert

This creamy concoction is the result of several attempts to duplicate a dessert I enjoyed on vacation. It looks so beautiful on a buffet table that many folks are tempted to forgo the main course in favor of this chocolaty treat. —Molly Seidel, Edgewood, New Mexico
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Coconut Pecan German Chocolate Pie Exps169793 Th133086a07 23 6b Rms 7

Coconut-Pecan German Chocolate Pie

This German chocolate pecan pie combines the ingredients everyone loves in its classic cake cousin. It's so silky and smooth, you won't be able to put your fork down. —Anna Jones, Coppell, Texas
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Contest Winning Neapolitan Cheesecake Exps122837 Both2238738a03 10 2bc Rms 2

Neapolitan Cheesecake

As a child, I loved Neapolitan ice cream. I thought it would be fun to create a cheesecake with the same flavors. This smooth, creamy layered beauty is the result. Each layer is just rich with flavor. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cheesecake Exps50678 Th2847295b02 22 5bc Rms 8

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Mousse Cheesecake

This no-bake cheesecake with distinctive layers of chocolate, peanut butter mousse and a silky ganache on top will take some time to assemble, but it's worth the effort to create a homemade dessert with grand-champion appeal—and definitely worth the wait. —JaNon Furrer, Prescott, Arizona
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S'more Sandwich Cookies

Capture the taste of campfire s'mores in your kitchen. Graham cracker crumbs added to chocolate chip cookie dough bring out the flavor of the fireside favorite. Melting the cookies' marshmallow centers in the microwave makes them simple to assemble. —Abby Metzger, Larchwood, Iowa
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Hot Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Exps Sdon16 196389 C06 02 2b 1

Hot Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

Hot chocolate is my go-to winter indulgence. To go with it, I like this moist pumpkin cake dusted with cocoa for an extra chocolate boost. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Sweet Potato Mini Cakes

Whenever I make these cute desserts, I think of my grandmother. She always used extra sweet potatoes from her garden in pies, breads and cakes and added black walnuts from her trees for good measure. —Joyce Larson, New Market, Iowa
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Zucchini Cupcakes

I asked my grandmother for this recipe after trying these irresistible spice cupcakes at her home. I love their creamy caramel frosting. They're such a scrumptious dessert, you actually forget you're eating your vegetables, too! —Virginia Lapierre, Greensboro Bend, Vermont
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Sour Cream and Cranberry Bars

I turned sour cream raisin pie into a cookie bar with a crunchy oatmeal crust, custard-style filling and crisp topping. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Caramel Apple-Pear Crisp

This crisp is packed with a combination of healthy pears and apples, and just the right amount of tasty walnuts in the topping. You'll love it! —Amanda Pettit, Logan, Ohio
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Exps189671 Cw153050b06 24 2b 2

Gingersnap Crumb Pear Pie

This basic recipe was one my grandmother used for making crumble pies from fresh fruit. She simply substituted oats, gingersnaps or vanilla wafers depending on the fruit. Pear was always my favorite, and I added the ginger and caramel to give it a new twist. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas
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Oma S Apfelkuchen Grandma S Apple Cake  Exps Bw20 201499 E08 13 10b 2

Oma's Apfelkuchen (Grandma's Apple Cake)

My husband’s German family calls this Oma’s apfelkuchen, which translates to "Grandma’s apple cake." They’ve been sharing the recipe for more than 150 years. I use Granny Smith apples, but any variety works. —Amy Kirchen, Loveland, Ohio
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Over The Top Blueberry Bread Pudding Exps Ft20 48174 F 0430 1 Home 9

Over-the-Top Blueberry Bread Pudding

This delicious southern blueberry bread pudding boasts out-of-this-world flavor and eye appeal. You just may want to skip the main course and go straight to dessert. It’s a favorite for our summer celebrations. —Marilyn Haynes, Sylacauga, Alabama
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Warm Chocolate Melting Cups Exps Hrbz16 41643 D09 08 6b 11

Warm Chocolate Melting Cups

These little cakes have become a favorite of our guests. They are always surprised that such a chocolaty dessert is so light­—less than 200 calories apiece! —Kissa Vaughn, Troy, Texas
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Strawberry Creme Crepes Exps25512 Bb2406671b09 02 3b Rms 3

Strawberry Creme Crepes

I always feel like a French chef when I serve these pretty crepes. Although they take a little time to prepare, they're well worth the effort. My guests are always impressed. —Debra Latta, Port Matilda, Pennsylvania
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Creamy Lemon Cheesecake

My friend Gwen gave me this creamy, lip-smacking recipe, and it's been a crowd-pleaser at my house ever since. The homemade lemon curd on top adds a tart, special touch! The cake can also be made in three store-bought graham cracker pie shells. —Anne Henry, Toronto, Ontario
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William Tell's Never-Miss Apple Cake

I bake my family-favorite fall cake to usher in this abundant season. It looks so luscious that eating one piece is nearly impossible. —Jamie Jones, Madison, Georgia
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Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti Exps Hca17 41633 B10 20 8b 10

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Chocolate, pistachios and cranberries make a dramatic, delicious trio. Introducing the cranberries to this recipe added tartness, texture and color, too. —Gilda Lester, Millsboro, Delaware
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Chocolate Ganache Peanut Butter Cupcakes Exps Diyd19 119253 B04 09 1b

Chocolate Ganache Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I've been baking cakes for years and enjoy trying new combinations of flavors and textures. For this peanut butter cupcake recipe, I blended peanut butter and chocolate. As soon as I took the first bite, I knew I had created something divine! —Ronda Schabes, Vicksburg, Michigan
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There are few things as Canadian or as addictive as no-bake Nanaimo bars (named for the town in British Columbia that made them famous). For festive flair, add candied fruit and ginger. —Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario
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Blueberry Pie With Lemon Crust Exps23017 Gpw2337930b12 09 3bc Rms 3

Blueberry Pie with Lemon Crust

I just had to share this blueberry pie recipe. Mom and I have fun making it together, and I hope one day to be a great baker like she is. —Sara West, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
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Berried Treasure Angel Food Cake Exps176614 Sd143205b01 24 3b Rms 3

Berried Treasure Angel Food Cake

My husband grills anything and everything—even dessert! With his gentle nudging, I came up with this simple recipe that takes just a few minutes to prepare, yet always impresses dinner guests. —Anita Archibald, Richmond Hill, Ontario
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Butterscotch-Pecan Bread Pudding

Bread pudding fans just might hoard this yummy butterscotch version. Toppings like whipped cream and a butterscotch drizzle make this dessert absolutely irresistible. —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas
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Caramel-Mocha Ice Cream Dessert

You can use any flavor of ice cream in this frosty dessert. Chocolate and vanilla would be delicious substitutes for coffee and dulce de leche. —Scarlett Elrod, Newnan, Georgia
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Sour Cream Lemon Pie Exps Thjj18 7804 D02 02 1b 1

Sour Cream-Lemon Pie

I first tasted this pie at a local restaurant and hunted around until I found a similar recipe—now it's my husband's favorite. —Martha Sorensen, Fallon, Nevada
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Grilled Figgy Pies

Delicious figs combined with maple, walnuts and creamy mascarpone make a decadent treat that's easy to enjoy at a backyard cookout. These unique hand pies always disappear quickly. —Renee Murby, Johnston, Rhode Island
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Chocolate Malt Cheesecake Exps Cmz18 2933 C10 27 1b 1

Chocolate Malt Cheesecake

My mother-in-law loved chocolate malts—and cheesecakes, too. Can you guess who passed this recipe on to me? Sometimes, I substitute pretzel crumbs for the graham cracker crumbs. They make a surprisingly good crust! —Anita Moffett, Rewey, Wisconsin
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Rhubarb Filled Cookies Exps Sdjj18 17486 C02 16 7b 9

Rhubarb-Filled Cookies

I won a blue ribbon at our local fair for these tender cookies. They're so pretty with the ruby-red filling peeking through the dough. Try making these special cookies and watch the smiles appear. —Pauline Bondy, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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Moist Chocolate Cake

You don't have to spend a lot of time to serve an elegant and delicious dessert. Just mix up the batter in one bowl, bake and get ready for people to love this moist dark chocolate cake recipe. —Christa Hageman, Telford, Pennsylvania
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Pineapple Upside Down Muffin Cakes Exps Hck17 195120 08b 12 4b 3

Pineapple Upside-Down Muffin Cakes

A friend submitted this recipe to a cookbook our school district was compiling. The first time I made the cakes, my whole family declared the recipe a winner. Delicious and healthy to boot, they remain a favorite to this day. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Take these extra special cupcakes to your next event and watch how quickly they disappear! With a caramel topping and spice cake base, they're the perfect mix of two fall-favorite treats. —Diane Halferty, Corpus Christi, Texas
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Rustic Nut Bars Exps Hbmz19 35223 B06 26 8b 3

Rustic Nut Bars

My friends love crunching into the crust—so much like shortbread—and the wildly nutty topping of these chewy, gooey bars. —Barbara Driscoll, West Allis, Wisconsin
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Frosty Pumpkin Pie Exps Pcbz18 16881 D04 27 4b 10

Frosty Pumpkin Pie

This frozen treat is so delightful no one would guess it’s made with reduced-fat ingredients. We actually prefer a slice of this layered dessert to traditional pumpkin pie at Christmastime. —Janet Jackson, Homedale, Illinois
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Lemon Chiffon Cake

This moist, airy lemon chiffon cake was my dad's favorite. Mom revamped the original recipe to include lemons. I'm not much of a baker, but whenever I make this dessert my family is thrilled! —Trisha Kammers, Clarkston, Washington
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Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream

Making ice cream goes smoothly when you do prep work in advance. I make the custard ahead and refrigerate it overnight. Plus, I toast the almonds beforehand and separate my add-ins into labeled containers. —Rosalie Peters, Caldwell, Texas
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Lemon Panna Cotta With Berries Exps48176 Sd1785603d33b Rms 4

Lemon Panna Cotta with Berries

Cool, creamy and pretty as a picture, this luscious Italian dessert is elegant enough for the fanciest dinner party. Instead of using ramekins, pour into cocktail glasses and chill for a dressier look. —Mariela Petroski, Helena, Montana
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Irish Creme Chocolate Trifle Exps Sddj18 28545 C08 03 9b 4

Irish Creme Chocolate Trifle

I was given a bottle of Irish cream liqueur as a gift and had leftover peppermint candy, so I created this delicious trifle. It's always rich and decadent. —Margaret Wilson, Sun City, California
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Rhubarb Swirl Cheesecake Exps31929 Cm2406672d09 01 1bc Rms 2

Rhubarb Swirl Cheesecake

I love cheesecake and my husband loves chocolate, so this is a favorite dessert of ours. The rhubarb adds a tartness that complements the sweet flavors so well.—Carol Witczak, Tinley Park, Illinois
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Frosted Butter Rum Brickle Bites

The rum, real butter and toffee bits made these cookies my husband’s new favorite. If you’d like them less sweet, skip the frosting and sprinkle the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while still warm. —Cindy Nerat, Menominee, Michigan
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Cowabunga Root Beer Cupcakes Exps147169 Th2379800a05 10 3bc Rms 3

Cowabunga Root Beer Cupcakes

I developed these cupcakes for my daughter's first birthday and transported them using dry ice. Be careful not to freeze them solid! —Mindy Carswell, Walker, Michigan
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Apple Kuchen Bars

This recipe is about family, comfort and simplicity. My mom made this delicious sweet treat many a winter night and served it warm with some of her famous homemade ice cream. I like to make a double batch and pass on the love! —Elizabeth Monfort, Celina, Ohio
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Chunky Apple Cake Exps Mrr16 33457 A09 01 4b 3

Chunky Apple Cake

After taste testing lots of apple cakes, I've found this apple cake recipe the best. Full of old-world comfort, the yummy brown sugar sauce really makes the cake special. For a festive occasion, top with a dollop of whipped cream. —Debi Benson, Bakersfield, California
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Strawberrry Rosemary Yogurt Pops Exps164889 Hck133243b09 20 3bc Rms 2

Strawberry-Rosemary Yogurt Pops

We planted strawberries a few years ago and these tangy-sweet frozen yogurt pops are my very favorite treats to make with them! The options are endless. Try using other yogurt flavors like lemon, raspberry or blueberry. You may also substitute your favorite herb for the rosemary—or simply omit it. —Carmell Childs, Ferron, Utah
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Chocolate Mint Cookies

My dad sandwiches mint patties between two tender chocolate cookies to create these chewy treats. The blend of chocolate and mint is a big hit at our house. Best of all, these cookies are easy and fun to make. —Christina Burbage, Spartanburg, South Carolina
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Heavenly Surprise Cupcakes

The recipe for these filled and frosted cupcakes was handed down by my mother-in-law, who taught this fledgling cook what to do in the kitchen. She's no longer with us, but baking these treats reminds me of our good times together. —Judie Heiderscheit, Holy Cross, Iowa
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Cappuccino Brownies Exps95893 Th2236620a06 01 4bc Rms 3

Cappuccino Brownies

There’s something magical in coffee that intensifies the flavor of chocolate. These three-layer wonders freeze well, but somehow most of them disappear before they reach the freezer. —Susie Jones, Buhl, Idaho
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Apple Roly-Poly

My grandmother’s apple dessert is genuine regional fare. With 13 children plus the men at Grandpa’s sawmill, she had to do lots of cooking each day! —Megan Newcombe, Cookstown, Ontario
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Lemon Blueberry Tart

You'll love this amazing combination of flavors. Lemon adds a zesty counterpoint to the tart's fruit topping and lovely, buttery crust. —Erin Chilcoat, Somerset, New Jersey
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Billie's Southern Sweet Potato Cake

I made sweet potato cakes for my kids when they were younger and they told me in their little voices, "Mommy, you're the best baker." Little did they know that was Mommy's first attempt at homemade cake! —Billie Williams-Henderson, Bowie, Maryland
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Exps36020 5sd153598a11 13 4b Pieces 5

Giant Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich

I created this giant peanut butter cookie cake for my husband, adding light and low-fat products to the cookie dough. It was so fantastic that I fixed it with conventional ingredients for guests. Since it can be made ahead of time and frozen, it cuts stress for busy hostesses. And really, who doesn't love peanut butter ice cream? —Joann Belack, Bradenton, Florida
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Slow Cooker Hot Fudge Cake Exps Qebz20 30683 B01 29 8b 2

Slow-Cooker Hot Fudge Cake

A cake baked in a slow cooker may seem unusual, but after-dinner smiles prove how tasty it is. Sometimes, for a change of pace, I substitute butterscotch chips for chocolate. —Marleen Adkins, Placentia, California
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Raisin Pecan Pie

I remember my Grandmother Voltie and Great-Aunt Ophelia making this southern-style pie for Thanksgiving. It was always one of the many cakes and pies lined up for dessert. —Angie Price, Bradford, Tennessee
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Black Bottom Brandy Bites

The idea for these bite-sized tarts started with little chocolate bottles of brandy. For an extra dash of fabulous, I place chocolate in the bottom of each pastry cup. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
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Shoofly Cupcakes Exps19749 Rds2447887d10 26 1bc Rms 1

Shoofly Cupcakes

These old-fashioned molasses cupcakes were my grandmother's specialty. To keep them from disappearing too quickly, she used to store the tempting goodies out of sight. Somehow, we always figured out her hiding places! —Beth Adams, Jacksonville, Florida
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Frosted Fudge Brownies

A neighbor brought over a pan of these rich fudge brownies along with the recipe when I came home from the hospital with our baby daughter. I asked her how to make brownie frosting like that, and I've made them ever since for family occasions, potlucks and parties at work. —Sue Soderlund, Elgin, Illinois
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Golden Apple Pie Exps Ppp18 1853 C04 25 4b 9

Golden Apple Pie

Pies are the dessert I like best to prepare. This one’s the favorite for family get-togethers, and it has been awarded blue ribbons at a couple of local fairs. —Theresa Brazil, Petaluma, California
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Surprise Carrot Cake Exps Fbmz18 16092 B05 09 6b 3

Surprise Carrot Cake

A cousin gave me this carrot cake recipe. It's a wonderful potluck pleaser with its "surprise" cream cheese center. My husband and our two young children love it, too! —Lisa Bowen, Little Britian, Ontario
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Strawberry Lover's Pie

The second question people ask when I serve them this pie is, "What's your recipe?" It comes right after their first question: "May I have another slice?" —Lauretha Rowe, Scranton, Kansas
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Exps177634  Sd143206d04 02 3b 2

Coconut-Pineapple Sherbet Torte

I made up this torte one afternoon, and when I served it that night, it vanished within minutes. That's when I knew I'd struck gold. —Joni Hilton, Rocklin, California
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Fig & Almond Cookies

In our family, holiday cookies—like these nutty fig ones—are a big deal. I'm so proud to be passing on this Italian tradition to my two boys. —Angela Lemoine, Howell, New Jersey
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Raspberry White Chocolate Bars

A co-worker's mother gave me this gem of a recipe a few years back. I can never decide what's more appealing—the attractive look of the bars or their incredible aroma while they're baking! Everyone who tries these asks for the recipe. —Mimi Priesman, Pace, Florida
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Healthy Blackberry Cobbler

This tasty treat has helped my family stay healthy, lose weight and still be able to enjoy dessert! Other kinds of berries or even fresh peaches are just as delicious in this cobbler. —Leslie Browning of Lebanon, Kentucky
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Upside-Down Apple Pie

This pie has won eight ribbons at area fairs. People say it looks and tastes like a giant apple-cinnamon bun. I take time off from work around the holidays to fill pie requests from family and friends. The recipe has become everyone's favorite. —Susan Frisch, Germansville, Pennsylvania
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Ultimate Double Chocolate Brownies

As someone who grew up in the country, I love getting out into nature whenever I can. I also love home-style recipes, including these yummy brownies. —Carol Prewett, Cheyenne, Wyoming
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Down East Blueberry Buckle

This buckle won a contest at my daughter’s college. The prize was four lobsters, but the real reward was the smile on our daughter’s face. —Dianne van der Veen, Plymouth, Massachusetts
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Berry & Ganache Cheesecake Bars

I use fresh blueberries and raspberries with chocolate ganache to make cheesecake bars that dare you to walk away. —Carmell Childs, Ferron, Utah
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Chocolate & Cardamom Coconut Tart

This holiday-worthy tart with a cardamom-scented crust is my nod to our family’s Scandinavian heritage. The filling is rich in all the right ways, with coconut, cranberries and chocolate. —Carole Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
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Cranberry Cookies with Browned Butter Glaze

I won a baking contest with these chunky glazed cookies that are so easy, even novice bakers can pull them off. What makes them special? Fresh cranberries. —Laurie Cornett, Charlevoix, Michigan
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Susie's Dark Chocolate-Coconut Pie

If you love chocolate and coconut, this pie’s for you. Surprisingly easy to make, the only difficult part is waiting for it to cool in the fridge. —Susan Graverson, Oneida, New York

Up Next: Discover the highest-rated, most-popular desserts that came out on top this year.

Hazel Wheaton
Hazel is a writer and editor who has worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years in the fields of travel, jewelry arts and food. As the editor of the Taste of Home Christmas Annual (among other titles), she's in the holiday spirit all year round. An enthusiastic baker, she's known for her cookies, cakes and other baked goods. And she still wishes she could cook like her mother.