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60 Quick Christmas Desserts for a Crowd

Last-minute Christmas party? We've got you covered with these Christmas desserts that come together in less than half an hour and feed at least a dozen people.

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Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

I like using pretty mini muffin liners and topping these homemade peanut butter cups with colored sprinkles to coordinate with the holiday we’re celebrating. People can’t believe how simple it is to make this irresistible candy with gooey peanut butter centers. This is how to make homemade peanut butter cups. —LaVonne Hegland, St. Michael, Minnesota

Go to Recipe

These easy holiday recipes have only five ingredients!

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Festive Cranberry Cake Exps Tohcom19 7617 C07 23 5b 4

Festive Cranberry Cake

Each fall here in Alaska, an abundant crop of wild cranberries is ripe for cooking. This cake, a favorite in my family, makes good use of the harvest. What’s more, since you can prepare it the night before your Thanksgiving celebration, the recipe is a real time-saver at a hectic time of year. —Gladys Wilson, Anchorage, Alaska
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Peppermint Puff Pastry Sticks

I wanted to impress my husband’s family with something you’d expect to find in a European bakery, and these chocolaty treats are what I came up with. The flaky pastry melts in your mouth. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
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Peanut Butter Snowballs

This recipe for peanut butter ball cookies is a nice change from the typical milk chocolate and peanut butter combination. I once prepared them for a bake sale at my granddaughter’s school, and I’ve also put them in gift boxes to share with neighbors at Christmas. —Wanda Regula, Birmingham, Michigan

Fast desserts you can make on Christmas Eve. 

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Layered Candy Cane Dessert

This fabulous dessert has the magical flavor of candy canes plus the bonus of an Oreo cookie crust. And it looks like a winter wonderland. —Dawn Kreuser, Green Bay, Wisconsin
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My Christmas Fudge Exps80712 Th133086b08 06 1bc Rms 2

My Christmas Fudge

This fudge is virtually foolproof and so creamy you won't believe it. I've searched for years for the richest fudge, and this one does it for me. You can add just about anything you like to customize it.—Barbara Miller, Oakdale, Minnesota

More amazing holiday fudge recipes.

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Five Spice Banana Pecan Bundt Cake Exps Rc21 261994 B07 21 5b 4

Pecan Banana Bundt Cake

My daughter, Liz, often made this banana bundt cake for us. It was delicious and different. She discovered five-spice powder during a culinary class field trip. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Cathedral Cookies

Children love the colorful marshmallows in these festive confections, which look like stained glass when they’re sliced. They practically light up the room from the serving platter at our holiday parties. —Carol Shaffer, Cape Girardeau, Missouri
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Maple Butterscotch Brownies Exps Tohca21 1945 E03 18 1b V2

Maple Butterscotch Brownies

Generally, I’ll make a double recipe of these brownies—they go so fast no matter where I take them! I’ve baked them for family dinners and church suppers, and never had any left over. They’re very easy besides plus both keep and freeze well.
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Goody Goody Gumdrops Exps Tohdj21 3644 B07 29 1b 10

Goody-Goody Gumdrops

My jewel-toned squares are softer than store-bought gumdrops, and their terrific taste has a true old-fashioned quality people love. You can’t eat just one! —Richard Bunt, Painted Post, New York
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Ribbon Fantasy Fudge

I developed this recipe especially for my husband, who likes anything that has chocolate and peanut butter together!
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Moist Cream Cheese Pound Cake Exps Bmz21 6136 B10 29 3b 1

Moist Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Warm a slice of this cream cheese pound cake in the microwave for about 25 seconds. Then serve it with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream, fresh fruit or alone. —Betty Smith, Evans, Georgia
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Easy Reindeer Cookies Exps Hca21 11300 B01 29 9b 1

Easy Reindeer Cookies

One year my son wanted to buy everyone in his class a present. I suggested we bake them a treat instead. We made these festive cookies using a cookie mix, pretzels, chocolate chips and Red M&M’s. —Gretchen Vandenberghe, Toledo, Ohio
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Frozen Peppermint Delight Exps Hplbz18 25742 C05 17 7b 5

Frozen Peppermint Delight

If you’re looking for a dessert that’s festive, delicious and easy to make, this is the one for you. Drizzled in hot fudge sauce and loaded with pretty peppermint pieces, this almost tempting treat will have guests asking for seconds. —Pam Lancaster, Willis, Virginia

For more ideas, check out our top 10 peppermint recipes.

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Cinnamon Star Cutouts

These cookies fill your home with an irresistible aroma as they bake. My grandmother made them every Christmas when I was a child. I have fond memories of helping her in the kitchen. —Jean Jones, Peachtree City, Georgia
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Easy Pistachio Tube Cake

Mixes make this light cake easy, and a fluted tube pan gets it holiday party-ready. Go for the pistachios on top—the extra crunch is worth it. —Dina Crowell, Fredericksburg, Virginia
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Strawberry Pretzel Bark Exps Tohdj22 264204 E08 04 6b 3

Pretzel Strawberry Bark

This strawberry bark recipe is my candy take on the classic Strawberry Pretzel Dessert. It uses ruby chocolate, which is fairly new on the market. If you can’t find it, you can substitute white chocolate in its place. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Swedish Butter Cookies Exps Ft21 14367 F 0127 1 4

Swedish Butter Cookies

It’s impossible to eat just one of these Swedish cookies. Naturally, they’re a favorite with my Swedish husband and children—but anyone with a sweet tooth will appreciate this treat. My recipe is “well-traveled” among our friends and neighbors. —Sue Soderland, Elgin, Illinois
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Carrot Fruitcake

Even those who don't care for fruitcake love this special holiday dessert. It's a fun way to "dress up" that old favorite, carrot cake. Try it—your friends and family will agree. —Ann Parden, Chunchula, Alabama
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Chocolate Almond Crescents Exps34341 Sd142780c08 08 4bc Rms 3

Chocolate Almond Crescents

If you like chocolate-covered almonds, you’re in for a treat. These buttery, crumbly cookies make a thoughtful holiday gift. —Vicki Raatz, Waterloo, Wisconsin
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Sugarplums Exps Hcbz21 13976 E05 18 3b 1

Sugarplums

When our kids read about sugarplums in a holiday tale, they were intrigued. I figured out a no-bake way to make the sweets from dried fruits and nuts. —Suzanne McKinley, Lyons, GA
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White Candy Bark

This speedy candy recipe can be varied depending on the type of fruit or nuts you have on hand. Since we have a walnut tree, I use walnuts, but pecans could also be substituted, as well as dried cherries in place of the cranberries. —Marcia Snyder, Grand Junction, Colorado
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Berry Dream Cake Exps Scmbz19 179116 C01 24 4b 8

Berry Dream Cake

I use cherry gelatin to give a boxed cake mix an eye-appealing marbled effect. It’s so festive-looking. Top it with whatever fruit you like! —Margaret McNeil, Germantown, Tennessee
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Matcha Crunch Bark Exps Tohdj22 264203 B08 04 14b

Matcha Bark

How could you not love this brilliant green color? The flavor is a little earthy and it pairs well with lemon. —James Schend, Taste of Home, Deputy Editor
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Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Pizzelle Exps Hbmz18 49347 B07 10 6b 2

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Pizzelle

I’ve experimented with different varieties of pizzelle recipes, but this is definitely a favorite. My dad likes to help make them so that we don’t run out! —Aimee McCullen, Youngwood, Pennsylvania
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Three Chip English Toffee Exps Thca19 15296 E08 16 2b 8

Three-Chip English Toffee

With its melt-in-your-mouth texture and scrumptiously rich flavor, this is the ultimate toffee! Layered on top are three kinds of melted chips plus a sprinkling of walnuts. Packaged in colorful tins, these pretty pieces make impressive gifts. —Lana Petfield, Richmond, Virginia
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Christmas Gingerbread Trifle

Trifle desserts make eye-catching centerpieces. I garnish mine using candy canes and red and green M&M’s. Think of the merry possibilities as a kid-friendly project. —Cheryl Tompkins, Kingsville, Missouri
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Maple Pralines Exps Hcacb21 19592 E04 01 5b

Maple Pralines

This recipe rekindles memories of my grandfather and his love for making maple syrup. When I was in college, my mother would send me a package of her pralines during sugaring season. They were so popular with my friends, I barely managed to tuck away a few for myself.
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Chocolate Marshmallow Peanut Butter Squares Exps Sdam18 211817 D12 01 6b 4

Chocolate Marshmallow Peanut Butter Squares

I combined a couple of recipes to create these crunchy, chocolaty peanut butter marshmallow bars that burst with flavor. The bars could also pass for fudge! —Dawn Lowenstein, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
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Brown Sugar Pound Cake Exps Thn16 191442 06b 24 5b 6

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

This tender pound cake is the first one I mastered. You'll want to eat the browned butter icing by the spoonful. It tastes like pralines. —Shawn Barto, Winter Garden, Florida
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Contest-Winning Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert

With its gingersnap crust and maple syrup drizzle, this rich and creamy spiced pumpkin dessert never fails to get rave reviews. It cuts nicely, too. —Cathy Hall, Phoenix, Arizona
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Dark Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

Croissants make an incredible base for this rich, chocolaty bread pudding. I prefer dark chocolate, but semisweet or white chocolate work, too. Garnish with your favorite nuts. —Jennifer Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California
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Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Every time I make these wonderful cookies, the spicy aroma takes me back to my childhood. I helped Mom make them and delivered them to neighbors. —Kara Cook, Elk Ridge, Utah
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Sugared Date Balls Exps Thca21 16035 B03 26 1b 3

Sugared Date Balls

When I was a youngster, Mom always baked these tender old-fashioned cookies dotted with chewy dates and crunchy walnuts. Much to the delight of my family, I’ve continued her delicious tradition.
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Dutch Apple Pie Tartlets Exps Lsbz18 147754 C01 18  4b 40

Dutch Apple Pie Tartlets

These adorable mini apple pie pastries make a delightful addition to a dessert buffet or snack tray. The recipe calls for convenient frozen phyllo shells, so they're surprisingly easy to prepare. The lemon curd filling adds a unique flavor twist. —Mary Ann Lee, Clifton Park, New York
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Irish Creme Chocolate Trifle

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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Chocolate-Raspberry Fondue

You don’t need a fancy fondue pot to make this melt-in-your-mouth concoction. I serve the dip in my small slow cooker. Folks love the chocolate-raspberry combination. —Heather Maxwell, Fort Riley, Kansas.
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Rainbow S Moreo Cookies Exps Ucsbz17 193568 B05 24 3b 1

Rainbow S’moreo Cookies

Homemade Oreo-style cookies are pretty great on their own, but they’re even better when you add graham cracker crumbs to the cookie dough, stuff them with marshmallow creme, and then roll them in sprinkles. You can change the color of the sprinkles depending on the holiday or occasion you’re baking them for. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Butter Mint Cookies Exps Hccbz19 12939 E03 27 1b 4

Butter Mint Cookies

These delicate mint cookies were a big hit when I made them for a party at work. —Anita Epitropou, Zion, Illinois
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Cherry Surprise Cookies

I tuck a rich chocolate surprise into each of these cute bites. Candied cherries add a colorful finishing touch. —Gloria McBride, Payson, Utah
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Eggnog Cheesecake Exps Gbhrbz17 38869 D07 07 5b 5

Eggnog Cheesecake

I make good use of extra eggnog by creating this luscious cheesecake. A bit of rum extract adds a special taste. —Kristen Grula, Hazleton, Pennsylvania
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White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Exps Hccbz18 39002 B05 01 6b 5

White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch

This is my favorite confection to make at Christmas. Not only is it easy, it’s delicious as well. I like to fill small bags with the crunchy candy to place in gift baskets. —Nancy Shelton, Boaz, Kentucky
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Butter Pecan Fudge Exps Thnd16 28648 C07 27 5b 3

Butter Pecan Fudge

Toasted pecans add a nutty crunch to this creamy fudge, perfect for holiday giving. People always seem to rave about its wonderful caramel flavor. —Pam Smith, Alta Loma, California
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Decadent Fudge Cake

Everyone loves the rich flavor in this decadent cake made with four types of chocolate. —Anna Hogge, Yorktown, Virginia
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Dipped Gingersnaps

I get tremendous satisfaction making and giving time-tested yuletide treats like these soft, chewy cookies. Dipping them in white chocolate makes much-loved gingersnaps even more special. —Laura Kimball, West Jordan, Utah
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Little Holiday Cakes

My college friend shared this cupcake recipe that has pie crust on the bottom, raspberry jam in the middle and cake on top—scrumptious for a buffet or potluck. —Dana Beckstrom, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Jeweled Thumbprints

When I moved here from Malta more than 20 years ago, a kind neighbor lady took me under her wing and baked many cookies for me. This is one of her recipes that I treasure. —Maria Debono, New York, New York
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Classic Sugar Cookies Exps Hccbz19 19250 B05 24 4b 2

Classic Sugar Cookies

Use cookie cutters to cut seasonal shapes from a few cups of Gloria’s dough. Prepared frosting and colored sugar make it a snap to decorate these classic Christmas cookies.
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Ginger Walnut Bundt Cake Exps Fbmz18 63606 C05 08 8b 3

Ginger-Walnut Tube Cake

My husband, Ken, loves this tube cake with its bits of crystallized ginger. Feel free to drizzle it with a lemony glaze. —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, NJ
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Kipplens

My Great-Aunt Hilda makes this recipe every Christmas, and everybody loves them! Kipplens taste a lot like Mexican wedding cakes, but I like my aunt's version better. —Susan Bohannon, Kokomo, Indiana
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Tender Pecan Logs Exps Lsbz18 19573 C01 19 3b 1

Tender Pecan Logs

Folks always ask me to make these tender nutty logs. Not overly sweet, they’re just right with a steaming cup of coffee or tea. —Joyce Beck, Gadsden, Alabama
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Cranberry Bundt Cake

Cranberry sauce gives this moist cake its pretty swirled look. Serve slices for dessert after dinner or as coffee cake for brunch. —Lucile Cline, Wichita, Kansas
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No-Bake Chocolate-Pecan Tartlets

At the last minute, I frantically came up with this treat for a holiday tea. The tartlets were quickly gobbled up. Now, I make them for our annual Teacher Taster's Choice and special family gatherings. —Joy Johnson, Culbertson, Montana
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Cream Cheese Spritz

A hint of orange and cinnamon highlights these Christmastime classics. I like to add colorful sprinkles before baking them. The recipe is from a booklet that came with a cookie press in the 1950s…and I still have the press! —Sarah Bedia, Lake Jackson, Texas
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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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Cranberry Lime Macaroons Exps Hccbz18 49963 D05 07 3b 5

Cranberry Lime Macaroons

It wouldn’t be the holidays for my family and friends if I didn’t make these chewy lime-flavored macaroons. I usually make several batches a week during the season..—Alisa Costa, Chatham, New York
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Red Velvet Spritz Cookies

I had never come across a red velvet spritz recipe, so I decided to create one. The hint of cocoa makes these taste like red velvet cake. Add peppermint flavoring for a little extra kick. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Fudgy Macaroon Bars

Anyone with a sweet tooth will make a beeline for my dessert tray when these rich squares show up. They're attractive on the platter and delectable with fudge and coconut. —Beverly Zdurne, East Lansing, Michigan
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Creamy Caramels Exps Cwdj21 224 E08 12 4b 1

Creamy Caramels

I discovered this caramel recipe in a local newspaper years ago and have made these soft buttery caramels ever since. I make them for Christmas, picnics and charity auctions—and they are so much better than store-bought caramels. Once people have a taste, they ask for the recipe. —Marcie Wolfe, Williamsburg, Virginia
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Miniature Christmas Fruitcakes Exps Hbmz19 2527 E06 21 6b 6

Miniature Christmas Fruitcakes

I’ve found that people who normally won’t eat fruitcake make an exception when they sample these. Using mini muffin pans for baking creates fun, single-serving cakes. —Libby Over, Phillipsburg, Ohio

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.

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