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40 of Our Favorite Holiday Desserts with 4 Ingredients (Or Less!)

These easy holiday treats are Santa-approved.

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Peppermint Puff Pastry SticksTaste of Home

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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Maple Syrup PieTaste of Home

Maple Syrup Pie

Folks in New Hampshire apparently appreciate maple syrup almost as much as we do in Vermont. When my husband and I took a road trip through New Hampshire, we discovered this pie at a number of diners and restaurants. We loved it so much we created our own version. —Laurie Herr, Westford, Vermont

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Colorful Candy Bar CookiesTaste of Home

Colorful Candy Bar Cookies

No one will guess that these sweet treats with the candy bar center start with store-bought dough. Roll them in colored sugar or just dip the tops for even faster assembly. Instead of using miniature candy bars, slice regular-size Snickers candy bars into 1-inch pieces for the centers. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Shortbread CutoutsTaste of Home

Shortbread Cutouts

I found this recipe in a magazine over 30 years ago and have made the cutouts for Christmas ever since. Four ingredients make them an oh-so-simple recipe to whip up during the hectic holidays. —Jean Henderson, Montgomery, Texas

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Easy TrufflesTaste of Home

Easy Truffles

Our smooth, creamy bonbons are so divine you may be tempted to save this recipe for a special occasion. But with just a few ingredients, they're easy to make anytime. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Chewy Macaroons Exps Ft19 8183 F 1105 1 3

Chewy Macaroons

These coconut cookies are lightly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. “Sometimes I make them a bit larger so I can top them with a scoop of ice cream and some strawberry sauce,” jots Herbert Borland from Des Moines, Washington.

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Spearmint ThinsTaste of Home

Spearmint Thins

No time to bake cookies from scratch? Create a tasty treat in little more than half an hour by doctoring butter-flavored crackers with vanilla chips and mint candies.—Kathleen Felton, Fairfax, Iowa

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Icebox Cake Exps Bdsmz17 8761 B03 03 2b 1

Icebox Cake

You don't have to bake to serve a wonderful dessert! This "cake" is made from chocolate wafers and whipping cream. It is so delicious.—Cindy Hawkins, New York, New York

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Chocolate Peanut Butter GrahamsTaste of Home

Chocolate Peanut Butter Grahams

Because so many people seem to love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, I came up with this no-bake cookie recipe.—Geraldine Sliwa, Elgin, Illinois

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Creamy Rice PuddingTaste of Home

Creamy Rice Pudding

I was fortunate to grow up around fabulous cooks. My mother and grandmother taught me to experiment with recipes, and we tried a lot of variations on this one. No matter how we chose to embellish it, it was always tasty. When I make this, it brings fond memories to mind. —Laura German, North Brookfield, Massachusetts

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Chocolate Swirl DelightTaste of Home

Chocolate Swirl Delight

I made a few updates to a great recipe and ended up with an impressive dessert. Everyone loves its light texture and chocolaty flavor. —Lynne Bargar, Saegertown, Pennyslvania

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No-Bake Christmas Wreath TreatsTaste of Home

No-Bake Christmas Wreath Treats

Cornflakes take the place of traditional rice cereal in these sweet no-bake Christmas cookies from our Test Kitchen. Dressed up with green food coloring and red candies, they're a fun addition to cookie platters and dessert buffets. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Lemon Snowflakes

You’ll need just four items to whip up these delightful cookies. Confectioners’ sugar highlights the cracked tops to give them their snowflake appearance. —Linda Barry, Dianna, Texas

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Mint Sandwich CookiesTaste of Home

Mint Sandwich Cookies

Canned frosting, peppermint extract and chocolate candy coating quickly turn crackers into these wonderful little no-bake cookies. My children and I like to assemble them for parties and holidays. I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we do. -Melissa Thompson, Anderson, Ohio

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Layered Peppermint Icebox CakeTaste of Home

Layered Peppermint Icebox Cake

Our home economists take four ingredients and turn them into an impressive, no-bake cake. Do-ahead desserts don't get any better! —Taste Of Home Test Kitchen

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Peppermint KissesTaste of Home

Peppermint Kisses

These are fun, refreshing and low in fat! —Lynn Bernstetter, Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

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Potato Chip ClustersTaste of Home

Potato Chip Clusters

Just three offbeat ingredients add up to one unique, delectable, no-bake treat. These super-easy, sweet-and-salty candy clusters make for merry munching during holiday trips or parties. They travel well in containers without melting or getting soft. —Donna Brockett, Kingfisher, Oklahoma

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Snowshoe CookiesTaste of Home

Snowshoe Cookies

Store-bought peanut butter sandwich cookies create the frames for these sweet snowshoes that are drizzled with melted chocolate. Pretzel sticks threaded with mini marshmallows make accompanying poles that kids of all ages can assemble.

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Sweet Almond TwistsTaste of Home

Sweet Almond Twists

These delicate almond pastries make lovely light-as-air accompaniments for coffee, tea or cocoa. Your guests will never guess the recipe calls for packaged frozen dough. When I give them as a fresh-baked gift, I tuck in a note saying that they're best served warmed—and right away! —Gloria Devendittis, Waterford, Connecticut

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Aunt Rose's Fantastic Butter ToffeeTaste of Home

Aunt Rose's Fantastic Butter Toffee

I don't live in the country, but I love everything about it—especially good old-fashioned home cooking! Every year, you'll find me at our county fair, entering a different contest. This easy toffee recipe is a family favorite. —Kathy Dorman, Snover, Michigan

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Chocolate-Dipped StrawberriesTaste of Home

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

A bumper crop of berries turned into a real treat when I dipped them in chocolate! I like to make these chocolate covered strawberries before dinner and put them in the fridge, so they're ready when we're finished eating. My family can't get enough of these chocolate strawberries. —Valerie Gee, Depew, New York

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Elegant White Chocolate MousseTaste of Home

Elegant White Chocolate Mousse

Simply elegant is a fitting description for this smooth treat. Whipped cream teams up with white chocolate to make this easy recipe extra special. —Laurinda Johnston, Belchertown, Massachusetts

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Chocolate-Covered PretzelsTaste of Home

Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

These chocolate-covered pretzels came from my grandma, who loves to make candy and treats for my students. I have followed in her footsteps and make these for people at work and for other family members. —Aimee Worth, Fair Oaks, California

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Cream Cheese CandiesTaste of Home

Cream Cheese Candies

These homemade mints make a perfect last-minute addition to holiday treat trays. Pretty much everyone in my neighborhood has this recipe now! —Katie Koziolek, Hartland, Minnesota

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Peppermint Pretzel DippersTaste of Home

Peppermint Pretzel Dippers

A friend made these treats and gave them away in pretty canning jars. The combination of sweet, salty and peppermint is just right. Try dipping them in white candy coating and rolling them in crushed candy canes for variety.—Michelle Krzmarzick, Redondo Beach, California

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Mocha Dessert FondueTaste of Home

Mocha Dessert Fondue

I love to entertain, but with a full-time job, a 2-year-old and another one on the way, I don't have a lot of time. This is one of my favorite quick ways to have a memorable time with others. There's nothing like catching up with friends as we gather around a fondue pot! —Tonya Vowels, Vine Grove, Kentucky

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Grossmutter's PeppernutsTaste of Home

Grossmutter's Peppernuts

Before Christmas, my grandmother would bake peppernuts and store them until the big day. When we came home from school, the whole house would smell like anise and we knew the holiday season was about to begin. —Marilyn Kutzli, Clinton, Iowa

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Chocolate Caramel WafersTaste of Home

Chocolate Caramel Wafers

To keep my holiday cooking quick, I've come to rely on fast recipes like this one. The crunchy-chewy tidbits are our youngster's favorite.

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Scottish ShortbreadTaste of Home

Scottish Shortbread

Scottish settlers first came to this area over 150 years ago. My mother herself was Scottish, and—as with most of my favorite recipes—she passed this shortbread recipe on to me. I make a triple batch of it each year at Christmas, to enjoy and as gifts. —Rose Mabee, Selkirk, Manitoba

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Burnt CustardTaste of Home

Burnt Custard

The recipe for this smooth-as-silk custard came from a local restaurant years ago. With its broiled topping it looks pretty in individual cups. —Heidi Main, Anchorage, Alaska

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Peanut Butter FudgeTaste of Home

Peanut Butter Fudge

This peanut butter fudge is a favorite "never fail" quickie recipe. —Eleanore Peterson, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin

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No-Bake Cookie Butter BlossomsTaste of Home

No-Bake Cookie Butter Blossoms

Chewy and sweet, these easy treats mix Rice Krispies, cookie spread and chocolate kisses in an unforgettable spin on an old favorite. —Jessie Sarrazin, Livingston, Montana

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White Chocolate Peppermint CrunchTaste of Home

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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Mom's Fried ApplesTaste of Home

Mom's Fried Apples

Mom often made these fried apples for me while I was growing up. The recipe is very dear to me. —Margie Tappe, Prague, Oklahoma

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PalmiersTaste of Home

Palmiers

It takes just two ingredients to make these impressive but easy-to-do French pastries, which are often called palm leaves. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Raspberry Almond Strips Exps Hccbz19 27229 E03 29 6b 4

Raspberry Almond Strips

Get ready to pour yourself a cup of tea, because you won’t be able to resist sampling one of these cookies. Almonds add taste and texture to the simple strips that are dressed up with raspberry pie filling. —Taste of HomeTest Kitchen

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Pistachio Cranberry Bark Exps Sddj18 30268 B08 03 9b 5

Pistachio Cranberry Bark

I picked up this bark recipe at a Christmas sweets swap hosted by a woman in my Bible study group. My family, friends and I think it's just divine. Even my dad, who's not big on candy, loves it. —Susan Wacek, Pleasanton, California

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Yummy Cracker SnacksTaste of Home

Yummy Cracker Snacks

These treats are my family's favorite, and it seems no matter how many I make, they always disappear too soon. —D. Weaver, Ephrata, Pennsylvania

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Homemade chocolate tuffles with various decorations and toppings.Taste of Home

Chocolate Truffles

You may be tempted to save these chocolate truffles for a special occasion since these smooth, creamy chocolates are divine. But with just a few ingredients, this truffle recipe is easy to make anytime. —Darlene Wiese-Appleby, Creston, Ohio

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Pumpkin Ice CreamTaste of Home

Pumpkin Ice Cream

This recipe really captures the flavor of fall. It's good with or without the gingersnaps.

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.

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