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The Best Holiday Dessert from Every State

Celebrate the season with a decadent dessert. We found the best cookies, cakes and other tasty treats from coast to coast!

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Alabama: Tender Pecan LogsTaste of Home

Alabama: 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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Alaska: 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, this recipe is a real time-saver at a hectic time of year. —Gladys Wilson, Anchorage, Alaska

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Arizona: Caramel-Pecan Apple PieTaste of Home

Arizona: Caramel-Pecan Apple Pie

You'll love the smell in your kitchen—and the smiles on everybody's faces—when you make this scrumptious caramel apple pie recipe. It takes me back home to Virginia and being at my granny's table. —Jean Castro, Phoenix, Arizona

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Arkansas: RosettesTaste of Home

Arkansas: Rosettes

These traditional deep-fried favorites are crisp and delicious with a delicate, lacy look. Dipping the edges into icing helps defines the beautiful pattern. —Iola Egle, Bella Vista, Arkansas

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California: 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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Colorado: Peppermint Lava CakesTaste of Home

Colorado: Peppermint Lava Cakes

It never ceases to amaze to see warm chocolate pudding ooze out of the center of this tender chocolate cake. These cakes are a showstopper on a plate! Serve lava cakes with whipped cream or ice cream. —Carolyn Crotser, Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Connecticut: Nantucket Cranberry TartTaste of Home

Connecticut: Nantucket Cranberry Tart

While everyone is enjoying a bountiful meal, this eye-catching tart can be baking to perfection in the oven. The pretty holiday dessert calls for very few ingredients, and it’s a snap to assemble. —Jackie Zack, Riverside, Connecticut

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Delaware: Double Whammy Eggnog Cookies

Delaware: Double Whammy Eggnog Cookies

These cookies are an amazing way to use extra eggnog. They've become a new family classic. — Teresa Morris, Laurel, Delaware

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Ginger Pumpkin Pie with StreuselTaste of Home

Ginger Pumpkin Pie with Streusel

Want to dress up ordinary pumpkin pie for the holidays? Give it a buttery, sugary streusel topping of gingersnaps and pecans.

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Georgia: Candy Cane SnowballsTaste of Home

Georgia: Candy Cane Snowballs

I bake dozens of kinds of Christmas cookies to give to family and friends. I came up with this recipe when I had leftover candy canes. We dip the snowballs into a white candy coating, then into crushed peppermint candy. —Debby Anderson, Stockbridge, Georgia

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Hawaii: Pineapple Pie with Coconut CreamTaste of Home

Hawaii: Pineapple Pie with Coconut Cream

You’ll find pineapples and coconuts everywhere in the South Pacific, so we play them up in this creamy cool pineapple pie, dolloped with coconut cream. Divine! —Karen Naihe, Kamuela, Hawaii

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Idaho: Toffee Turtle SquaresTaste of Home

Idaho: Toffee Turtle Squares

Here's an easy way to make turtle candies for a big group. These bars are very rich, so a little square will do ya. —Glenna Tooman, Boise, Idaho

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Illinois: Eggnog Tres Leches CakeTaste of Home

Illinois: Eggnog Tres Leches Cake

When the holidays roll around, my family eagerly anticipates sampling this cake. Its rich eggnog flavor is delightful. —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois

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Indiana: Peppermint Chip Cheesecake

Indiana: Peppermint Chip Cheesecake

I love to make cheesecakes and frequently give them as gifts or donate them to fundraisers. This one is very popular. —Gretchen Ely, West Lafayette, Indiana

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Iowa: Reindeer CakeTaste of Home

Iowa: Reindeer Cake

Whether you turn this cake into a reindeer or decorate it with your own creative vision, it’s a three-layer stunner that will command center stage at your next holiday get-together. Embrace your baking prowess! —Lauren Knoelke, Des Moines, IA

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Homemmade chocolate fudgeTaste of Home

Kansas: Perfect Chocolate Fudge

This rich chocolate fudge is sure to delight someone you love. —Dorothy Anderson, Ottawa, Kansas

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Kentucky: White Chocolate Peppermint CrunchTaste of Home

Kentucky: 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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Louisiana: Baklava CheesecakeTaste of Home

Louisiana: 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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Maine: Cranberry-Pear Apple Crisp

With its crunchy golden topping and flavorful blend of tart cranberries and sweet apples and pears, this dessert makes a refreshing finish to heavy winter meals. —Lois Gelzer, Standish, Maine

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Maryland: Butter Pound Cake

Whether garnished with fresh berries and sprigs of rosemary or just served plain, this rich cake is fabulous. It bakes to a beautiful golden brown and it’s definitely a keeper! —Edgar Wright, Silver Spring, Maryland

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Massachusetts: Cast-Iron White Chocolate Tart

This decadent dessert is worth every calorie. If you aren’t a fan of citrus, leave out the orange flavoring and the white chocolate will shine through. —Phoebe Saad, Framingham, Massachusetts

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Michigan: 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

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Minnesota: Cran-Apple Praline Gingerbread

Minnesota: Cran-Apple Praline Gingerbread

Start with a spice-rich batter poured atop apples and cranberries in a creamy caramel sauce, then invert when done baking for a topsy-turvy dessert that’s a real beauty. The old-time holiday taste will delight family and friends! —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota

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Mississippi: Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot CookiesTaste of Home

Mississippi: Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot Cookies

Mandelbrot in Yiddish literally means “almond bread.” The twice-baked cookie made with oil and almonds dates back to 19th century Eastern Europe. There are many variations made of different dried fruits and nuts. My chocolate chip version is more modern-American. —Kimberly Scott, Kosciusko, Mississippi

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Missouri: Spiced Eggnog Pumpkin PieTaste of Home

Missouri: Spiced Eggnog Pumpkin Pie

With its 10-minute prep time and lovely blend of mild eggnog flavor and spices, this is a dream dessert for a busy hostess! It’s a staple for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, my grown kids request it whenever they come to visit. —Patti Leake, Columbia, Missouri

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Montana: No-Bake Cookie Butter BlossomsTaste of Home

Montana: 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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Nebraska: Black Forest Chocolate Torte

Nebraska: Black Forest Chocolate Torte

If you’re thinking about pulling out all the stops for a dessert that says wow, look no further. This cherry-crowned beauty—stacked layers of chocolate cake and cream filling—will have everyone talking. —Doris Grotz, York, Nebraska

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Nevada: Chocolate Caramel CandyTaste of Home

Nevada: Chocolate Caramel Candy

This dazzling treat tastes like a homemade Snickers bar and has flavor beyond compare. When I entered it in a recipe contest at our harvest festival, it won five ribbons, including grand prize and the judges’ special award. —Jane Meek, Pahrump, Nevada

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New Hampshire: Cranberry-Almond Apple PieTaste of Home

New Hampshire: Cranberry-Almond Apple Pie

My grandmother made this treat every year for Christmas. It’s much better than everyday apple pie. The recipe is a family treasure. —Maxine Theriauit, Nashua, New Hampshire

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New Jersey: Cocoa Frosting Yule LogTaste of Home

New Jersey: Cocoa Frosting Yule Log

Here is a holly-trimmed version of the traditional yule log cake that is sure to cause murmurs of appreciation. It is one of my most requested Christmas recipes.—Jane Birch, Edison, New Jersey

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New Mexico: Mole New Mexican Wedding CookiesTaste of Home

New Mexico: Mole New Mexican Wedding Cookies

Heat and sweet is such an amazing combination. I added chili powder and chocolate chips to give a new twist to traditional Mexican cookies. They melt in your mouth, and then the spice hits you. I just love them. — Marla Clark, Albuquerque, New Mexico

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New York: Spiced Rum FruitcakeTaste of Home

New York: Spiced Rum Fruitcake

This fruitcake not only can be made weeks ahead, it tastes better that way! You can substitute Brazil nuts, pecans and hazelnuts for the walnuts—or use a combination of nuts. —Jason Boor, Manchester, New York

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North Carolina: Grandma's Red Velvet Cake

It's just not Christmas at our house until this festive cake appears. This is different from other red velvets I’ve had; the icing is as light as snow. —Kathryn Davison, Charlotte, North Carolina

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North Dakota: Norwegian CookiesTaste of Home

North Dakota: Norwegian Cookies

This recipe was passed down to me from my mother-in-law. The soft sugar cookies are a favorite
with our four children. —Karen Skowronek, Minot, North Dakota

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Ohio: 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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Oklahoma: 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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Oregon: Contest-Winning Hazelnut ToffeeTaste of Home

Oregon: Contest-Winning Hazelnut Toffee

This is one of my most-asked-for recipes. It’s sweet and buttery with plenty of crunch. You could use dark, milk or even white chocolate and substitute almonds for the hazelnuts if you wish.
-Joanne Simpson
Portland, Oregon

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Pennsylvania: Chocolate Coconut CandiesTaste of Home

Pennsylvania: Chocolate Coconut Candies

These coconut candy balls disappear just as fast as I put them out. They're a snap to whip up and make a beautiful presentation on any holiday cookie plate. I mound them high and sprinkle with coconut…then watch them vanish! —Mary Ann Marino, West Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Rhode Island: Silky Chocolate PieTaste of Home

Rhode Island: Silky Chocolate Pie

Chocolate makes the world go round! We have a family that loves chocolate pies, and this version with a splash of brandy is smooth as silk and oh, so special. —Kathy Hewitt, Cranston, Rhode Island

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South Carolina: Red Velvet CheesecakeTaste of Home

South Carolina: 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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South Dakota: Easy Mini Caramel Apple CheesecakesTaste of Home

South Dakota: Easy Mini Caramel Apple Cheesecakes

Cheesecake is the ultimate comfort food, but a big slice can be too rich. These bite-sized cheesecakes topped with apples and creamy caramel dazzle the senses. —Brandie Cranshaw, Rapid City, South Dakota

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Tennessee: Grandma’s DivinityTaste of Home

Tennessee: Grandma’s Divinity

Every Christmas my grandmother and I made divinity, just the two of us. I still make it every year. —Anne Clayborne, Walland, Tennessee

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Texas: Pecan Cake with Cookie Butter FrostingTaste of Home

Texas: Pecan Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting

My mom and I bought a jar of cookie butter to try it out, and we fell in love with it. I knew the flavor would go well with maple syrup and pecans, so I came up with this cake. I like to make a pretty design on the top of the cake with pecan halves. —Natalie Larsen, Columbia, Maryland

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Utah: Ganache-Topped Pumpkin Layer CakeTaste of Home

Utah: Ganache-Topped Pumpkin Layer Cake

My dreamy pumpkin cake with cream cheese filling and rich chocolate ganache is perfect for any autumnal gathering. —Michelle Sorensen, Bountiful, Utah

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Vermont: Maple Syrup PieTaste of Home

Vermont: 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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Virginia: Frozen Peppermint DelightTaste of Home

Virginia: 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

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Washington: White Chocolate Cranberry BlondiesTaste of Home

Washington: White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies

Friends sometimes ask me to make these for wedding receptions. For a fancier presentation, I cut the bars into triangle shapes and drizzle white chocolate over each one individually. —Erika Busz, Kent, Washington

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West Virginia: Black Forest Upside-Down CakeTaste of Home

West Virginia: Black Forest Upside-Down Cake

The divine flavors of this simple Black Forest cake will impress your guests and leave you with many requests for the recipe! —Kimberly Campbell, Wheeling, West Virginia

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Wisconsin: Mint Chocolate Cheesecake

I created this mint chocolate cheesecake for our high school’s annual fundraiser. We were told that it brought a hefty price and was one of the first desserts to go! If desired, you can stir the cookie pieces into the batter instead of adding them in a layer. Keep the pieces fairly small; otherwise they have a tendency to rise to the top. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

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Wyoming: Freezer Pumpkin PieTaste of Home

Wyoming: Freezer Pumpkin Pie

This freezer pumpkin pie is a cool twist on tradition. Gingersnaps and pecans form the delicious baked crust for the pumpkin and ice cream filling. —Vera Reid, Laramie, Wyoming

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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