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36 Cozy Spiced Desserts Perfect for the Holidays

The holidays are about cinnamon spice and all things delicious. These spiced desserts are full of all the flavors of the season and look festive to boot.

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Chocolate Gingerbread Yule Log

If you’ve tasted a yule log sponge cake, you’ll love this version with fresh ginger and spices. The holiday stunner can be made ahead. —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Mama’s Spice Cake

Whenever I get a craving for a tasty old-fashioned treat, I make this cake. Great cooks in my family have been baking it for generations, and their families have been enjoying the wonderful spice flavor and rich frosting.
—Nancy Duty, Jacksonville, Florida
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Swedish Spice Cutouts

My sister, Judith Landgren of White Sulphur Springs, Montana, brought this recipe with her when she came to the United States from Sweden in 1928.
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Cinnamon-Roll Christmas Tree

It’s so fast and easy to make these rolls for the holiday. What a sweet way to celebrate Christmas morning! —Alyssa Helm, Caledonia, Michigan
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Gingerbread Yule Logs

I was never fond of gingerbread until I rolled it up with Nutella. These logs are a fabulous addition to any cookie platter. —Terri Gilson, Calgary, Alberta
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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
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Gingerbread Christmas Cards

‘Tis the season for mailing out Christmas cards and gift packages stuffed with homemade cookies. Why not save time and combine the two? Royal icing is the perfect backdrop for you to customize a delicious, heartfelt holiday greeting. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies

I recently found this old family recipe in my mom’s kitchen. I made a few adjustments to streamline the process, and the cookies turned out wonderfully. —Shawn Barto, Winter Garden, Florida
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Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

These cinnamon rolls are sure to please anyone who has a sweet tooth. They’re just the thing for a Christmas morning treat. Be sure to eat them while they’re still warm—they’re best that way! The dough for these rolls is sticky, so don’t worry if your fingers get messy. —Andrea Price, Grafton, Wisconsin
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Gingerbread Cookie Cutouts

Add a little snow hat (complete with a pompom) to a classic gingerbread shape to create adorable gingerbread Santas. —Christy Thelen, Kellogg, Iowa
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Cranberry-Carrot Layer Cake

This moist cake smothered with rich cream cheese frosting makes any dinner festive. Every autumn, I go to a cranberry festival in Wisconsin and load up on fresh cranberries to freeze for year-round cooking. —Nellie Runne, Rockford, Illinois
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Rugelach

The crisp texture of these crescent-shaped cookies makes them a terrific treat to serve alongside a steaming mug of hot chocolate or coffee.
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Gingerbread Star Tree

Set out this stunning centerpiece, and your guests will be singing “Oh, Christmas Tree…” in no time. You could even have the kiddos help you create a whole forest in all different sizes for a delicious winter wonderland. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Upside-Down Fruitcake

I get tired of people bad-mouthing holiday fruitcakes. It’s one of my favorite holiday flavors and I look forward to it every year. This year, I decided to combine it with everyone’s favorite, upside-down cake. Try to say no to this fruitcake; I dare you! —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Gingerbread Scones

These moist scones’ gingerbread flavor make them just right for serving around Christmastime. They are a scrumptious treat with tea or coffee. —David Bostedt, Zephyrhills, Florida
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Christmas Morning Sweet Rolls

These make-ahead rolls have been a holiday tradition for years. The eggnog in the frosting makes them extra special on Christmas morning. —Kimberly Williams, Brownsburg, Indiana
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Dutch Speculaas

In Holland, it’s tradition to mold this dough into the shape of St. Nicholas and serve the cookies on Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas Day). —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Baklava Cheesecake

With sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs, my unique baklava cheesecake makes a grand display for office parties and other special events. —Aryanna Gamble, New Orleans, Louisiana
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Chocolate-Dipped Triple-Ginger Cookies

My mother always enjoyed chocolate-covered ginger, so she decided to turn her favorite treat into a cookie. In retrospect, the cookie is an expression of her own character, which is unforgettable and always delightful.—Bethany Hammond, Vancouver, Washington
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Gingerbread Coffee Cake

At our house, we love gingerbread that’s not too sweet. To sweeten it, mix confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla extract for drizzling on top. —Barbara Humiston, Tampa, Florida
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Spiced Eggnog Rum Cookies

One year, when I had a lot of eggnog on hand, I created a new holiday cookie recipe. The flavor is subtle, but somehow it transforms regular sugar cookies into something special for the holidays. —Mark Banick, Turner, Oregon
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Gingerbread Truffles

I never received compliments on my baking until I brought my gingerbread truffles to a party. Every Christmas, family, friends and even co-workers ask me to make these. —Angela Randjelovic, Independence, Ohio
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Gingerbread House Cookies

This is my favorite molasses cookie. I use the recipe not only to create little houses for Christmas but also to make bunnies for Easter and stars for the Fourth of July. —Karen Haen, Sturgeon Bay, WI
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Chai-Spiced Star Bread

My chai star bread is great for potlucks or parties because it's easy to share and looks beautiful. Prepare it ahead of time, refrigerate, then just pop it in the oven before serving. Try using this recipe with other fruits, too, like persimmons or apples. —Elizabeth Ding, El Cerrito, California
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Tiny Tim’s Plum Pudding

In A Christmas Carol, everyone claps for plum pudding. Our family has made this pudding our own tradition, and it really is something to clap for. —Ruthanne Karel, Hudsonville, Michigan
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Chocolate Gingersnaps

When my daughter, Jennifer, was 15 years old, she created this recipe as a way to combine two of her favorite flavors. They’re perfect with a glass of milk. —Paula Zsiray, Logan, Utah
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Mini Fruitcakes

Fruitcake always looked so festive to me but I did not like the hard citron fruit so I came up with my own recipe using dried fruits and nuts. I place these in Christmas themed petit fours paper cups and give them to neighbors and friends along with the many other cookies and candies I bake. These keep well in the freezer in an airtight container. Just thaw to room temperature and they taste fresh baked and moist. —Lisa McDermith, Highland, California
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Peanut Butter Cinnamon Snap Cookies

These peanut butter cinnamon cookies are perfect for bake sales, potlucks or holiday gift baskets. Use fun cookie cutters for any occasion you are celebrating. The cookie glaze dries shiny, so they look professional. —Kallee Krong-McCreery, Escondido, California
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Cranberry-Pistachio Sticky Buns

Looking for a fantastic brunch item? Then try these ooey-gooey good sticky buns. They use frozen roll dough and couldn’t be simpler to make. The buns rise overnight in the refrigerator, so you just need to bake them the next morning.—Athena Russell, Florence, South Carolina
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JoJo’s Ginger Cookies

It’s so much fun to decorate cookies with children’s help. We created gingery moose-shaped cookies to go with a book made especially for my niece’s third-grade class. The crispy golden brown cookies stole the show.—Jenet Cattar, Neptune Beach, Florida
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Spiced Pomegranate-Pear Cake

This special-occasion pomegranate cake is a delicious combination of tender cake, tart fruit and rich buttercream. It is also beautiful and stays moist for days. —Kelly Koutahi, Moore, Oklahoma
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Fresh Raspberry Icebox Cake

Layered icebox cakes are so fun because they look impressive but couldn’t be easier. Fresh raspberries make this one really special. Use Anna’s Ginger Thins to get the scalloped edges, or regular gingersnaps if those are not available. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
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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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Cinnamon Coffee Cake

I love the excellent texture of this easy cinnamon coffee cake recipe. Always a crowd-pleaser, its pleasing vanilla flavor enriched by sour cream may remind you of breakfast at Grandma’s! Make it the night before a holiday to save time in the morning. —Eleanor Harris, Cape Coral, Florida
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Easy Gingerbread Cutouts

“I rely on this tried-and-true recipe during the holidays,” relates Sandy McKenzie of Braham, Minnesota. “The cream cheese frosting complements the cookies’ gingery flavor and sets up nicely for easy packaging and stacking.”
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Crystallized Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is the best of twp worlds—gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies. Since they’re combined, you don’t have to choose between them. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.