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Our Ultimate Winter Dessert Wish List

Whether you're in the mood for toasty treats, post-holiday sweets or a sneak peek of spring, these winter dessert recipes are the perfect indulgence on a frosty day.

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Cherry Hand Pies Exps Tohfm20 244426 E09 27 2b 44

Cherry Hand Pies

There's nothing better than a sweet, from-scratch delight like traditional cherry pie. These precious little hand pies always go fast when I sell them at my pie bakery! —Allison Cebulla, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Chocolate Guinness Cake

One bite and everyone will propose a toast to this silky-smooth chocolate Guinness cake. The cream cheese frosting reminds us of the foamy head on a perfectly poured pint. —Marjorie Hennig, Seymour, Indiana
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Semisweet Chocolate Mousse

Semisweet Chocolate Mousse

A friend shared this rich velvety chocolate mousse recipe with me. I love to cook and have tons of recipes, but this one is a favorite. Best of all, it's easy to make. —Judy Spencer, San Diego, California
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Chai Cupcakes

You'll get a double dose of the spicy blend that's frequently used to flavor tea in these moist single-size cakes. Both the cupcake and frosting use the blend, which combines some of the best flavors of the season. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Perfect Chocolate Fudge

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

With the long, cold winters we have here, this German apple cake recipe has warmed many a kitchen. The cake is perfect for breakfast, dessert or as an evening snack. I’ve made it for many parties, and I’ve always received compliments on it. —Grace Reynolds, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
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Brownie Kiss Cupcakes

It’s fun to prepare individual brownie “cupcakes” with a chocolaty “surprise” inside. My goddaughter, Cara, asks me to make them for her birthday to share at school. This year, she requested 32. I later found out she only needed 27 for her class…wonder where the other five went!
-Pamela Lute, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania
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Honey Cinnamon Bars

My Aunt Ellie gave us the recipe for these sweet bar cookies with cinnamon and walnuts. Drizzle with icing, and serve with coffee or tea. —Diane Myers, Star, Idaho
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Pecan Kringle Sticks

My family loves that the kringle is flaky and not too sweet—it just melts in your mouth. This makes a beautiful presentation on a cookie platter along with other holiday sweets. —Connie Vjestica, Brookfield, Illinois
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Cranberry Orange Cheesecake

I can't go to any Christmas gathering without this show-stopping dessert in tow. The combination of cranberries, chocolate and orange is a winner. —Laura Lufkin, Essex, Massachusetts
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Peanut Caramel Brownie Bites

With their multiple decadent layers, these brownies are my family's absolute favorite. —Ella Agans, Birch Tree, Missouri
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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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Hot Chocolate Cookies

Using hot chocolate mix and marshmallow bits in the cookie dough really makes these cookies taste like hot cocoa. —Lisa Kaminski, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
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Chocolate Chess Pie

This is one of my mother's go-to recipes. It's a yummy spin on classic chocolate chess pie. — Ann Dickens, Nixa, Missouri
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Giant Buckeye Cookie

I’m from Ohio, and we love our buckeye candy! Buckeyes are a delicious combination of peanut butter and chocolate, which is exactly what this cookie is. All you need is a box of cake mix, a few common pantry ingredients, and voila—you have a tasty dessert ready for family and friends in under an hour. You can customize it, too, by substituting other mix-ins for the chocolate chips. We serve it warm with ice cream or whipped cream. —Arianna Harding, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Air-Fryer Apple Pie Egg Rolls

These easy apple pie egg rolls can be prepared as needed, using egg roll wrappers as vessels for the fruit rather than traditional pie crust. The air-fryer method of cooking results in a crispy, crunchy crust with a tender, juicy filling. Flavored cream cheese spread may be used instead of plain, depending on availability. —Sheila Suhan, Scottdale, Pennsylvania
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Cinnamon Chocolate Cake Exps Tohca19 23789 C03 14 3b Rms 2

Cinnamon Chocolate Cake

A healthy hint of cinnamon gives this chocolate cake an extra step up over the expected sheet cake. Its sweet frosting is full of crunchy pecans. —Victor Clifford, San Jose, California
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Slow Cooker Strawberry Soda Cake Exps Thedscodr19 193781 C02 22 1b 2

Slow-Cooker Strawberry Soda Cake

When you want a sweet cake without the heat of the oven, this slow-cooked strawberry spin on cola cake comes in handy. The topping smells divinely like chocolate-covered strawberries. (Remember this one for Valentine’s Day!) Delicious served with whipped cream or powdered sugar. —Laura Herbage, Covington, Louisiana
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Cookie Sticks

If you have a craving for cookies and you want them now, these yummy strips take just a few minutes to make from start to finish. —Kathy Zielicke, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
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Chocolate Pecan Fondue

When our kids have friends sleep over, I like to surprise them with this chocolate treat. Our favorite dippers include fruit, marshmallows, cookies and pound cake. —Suzanne McKinley, Lyons, Georgia
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Easy Layer Bars

These rich bar cookies will melt in your mouth! They’re ideal to have on hand for a snack. —Pauline Schrag, Theresa, New York
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Creamy Cranberry Cheesecake

This creamy cheesecake is perfect for holiday desserts. The colorful topping is so good that I prepare it separately and use it as a cranberry side dish at Thanksgiving. —Mary Simonson, Kelso, Washington
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Bake-Sale Lemon Bars

The recipe for these tangy lemon bars comes from my cousin Bernice, a farmer's wife famous for cooking up feasts. — Mildred Keller, Rockford, Illinois
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Chipotle Crackle Cookies

I usually bake these special cookies for the holidays, but my family loves them so I bake them for their birthdays. The addition of ground chipotle chile pepper gives these cookies a little zing. The dough may be sticky, so I dip my hands in confectioners' sugar for easier handling. —Gloria Bradley, Naperville, Illinois
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Winning Apple Crisp

I live in apple country, and a delicious crisp is one good way to use them that doesn't take a lot of time. —Gertrude Bartnick, Portage, Wisconsin
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Pineapple Orange Cake

This is one of my favorite cakes. It’s moist and light yet so satisfying. I’ve been adapting it for years and now it’s almost guilt-free. —Pam Sjolund, Columbia, South Carolina
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Frosted Red Velvet Cookies Exps Hca19 71820 D02 21 10b 1

Frosted Red Velvet Cookies

My student job in college was in the bakery. These dreamy morsels take me back to that special place and time. Red velvet lovers will appreciate this fun take on the cake. —Christina Petri, Alexandria, Minnesota
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Cherry Fudge Truffle Coconut Cheesecake

Cherries and chocolate come together in this dazzling coconut cheesecake. It’s a showstopper! —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies Exps Toh.com19 172348 E05 30 1b 8

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

It was so fun to experiment with this brownie recipe. When my daughter tasted the final version, she told me they were the best brownies ever! Now that sure makes a mom feel good. —Dion Frischer, Ann Arbor, MI
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German Chocolate Cake Exps3229 Cs133233d06 21 4bc Rms 3

German Chocolate Cake

According to my husband, this is the best German chocolate cake recipe in the whole world. Every bite has a light crunch from the pecans, a sweet taste of coconut and a drizzle of chocolate. —Joyce Platfoot, Wapakoneta, Ohio
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Caramel Heavenlies

Before I cut these bars into triangles, I usually trim the edges so all the cookies look the same. My husband and daughter love this part because they get to eat the "scraps." —Dawn Burns, Lake St. Louis, Missouri
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Lime In The Coconut Almond Bark Exps Tohdj20 94036 E08 01 2b 8

Lime-in-the-Coconut Almond Bark

I love the combination of flavors in this tropical treat, and it takes mere minutes to make. If you need something for a school or church bake sale, this will get you out of the kitchen in a flash. —Julie Beckwith, Crete, Illinois
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Cherry Bars Exps16458 Sd132779d06 11 3b Rms 10

Cherry Bars

Whip up a pan of these festive bars in just 20 minutes with staple ingredients and cherry pie filling. Between the easy preparation and the pretty colors, they're destined to become a holiday classic. —Jane Kamp, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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First Place Coconut Macaroons Exps Hrbz17 4383 C09 01 3b 22

First-Place Coconut Macaroons

These coconut macaroons are my husband's favorite and earned me a first-place ribbon at the county fair. I especially like the fact that this recipe makes a small enough batch for the two of us to nibble on without lots left over. —Penny Ann Habeck, Shawano, Wisconsin
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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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Mocha Baked Alaskas

Make these baked Alaskas ahead of time—you can torch the completed desserts and freeze them up to 24 hours before serving. —Kerry Dingwall, Ponte Vedra, Florida
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Apple Dumpling Bake

I received this recipe for baked apple dumplings with Mountain Dew from a friend of mine, then tweaked it to suit my family's tastes. The soda is definitely the secret ingredient in this rich apple dessert. —Chris Shields, Monrovia, Indiana
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Banana Bread Pudding

When I visited my grandmother in summer, I always looked forward to the comforting banana bread pudding she'd make. With its crusty golden top, custard-like inside and smooth vanilla sauce, this pudding is a real homespun dessert. Now I make it for my grandchildren. —Mary Detweiler, Middlefield, Ohio
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Peanut Butter Pudding Dessert

Here's a fun layered dessert that will appeal to all ages. If you want it even nuttier, you can use chunky peanut butter, and if you're not a fan of cashews, substitute your favorite nut. This peanut butter lasagna is one of my favorite pudding desserts. —Barbara Schindler, Napoleon, Ohio
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Cranberry Layer Cake

I adapted a Bundt cake recipe to create this layer cake. Cranberries, walnuts and homemade frosting make it taste so delicious that you'd never guess it starts with a convenient cake mix. —Sandy Burkett, Galena, Ohio
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Dream Cupcakes

Dream Cupcakes

My grandchildren absolutely love these cream-filled cupcakes, and I hope the chocolaty treats become a favorite in your home as well. —Dorothy Bahlmann, Clarksville, Iowa
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Lemon Meringue Muffins

These muffins taste like a favorite pie of mine. The meringue adds a unique flavor.—Nancy Kearney, Massillon, Ohio
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Berry Whirligig

Blackberries are an Oregon treasure. We love to go out and pick our own. Whatever we don’t eat fresh, we freeze to enjoy whenever we start dreaming of this irresistible treat. —Pearl Stanford, Medford, Oregon
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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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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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Lattice-Topped Pear Slab Pie

A lattice top serves as a charming frame for this special holiday dessert filled with fresh pears and candied fruit. Add a dollop of whipped cream if you like. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Gran's Apple Cake

My grandmother occasionally brought over this wonderful cake warm from the oven. The spicy apple flavor combined with the sweet cream cheese frosting made this recipe one that we treasured. Even though I've lightened it up, it's still a family favorite. —Lauris Conrad, Turlock, California
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Banana Skillet Upside-Down Cake

My grandmother gave me my first cast iron skillet, and I've been cooking and baking with it ever since. Sometimes I add drained maraschino cherries to this banana skillet dessert and serve it with a ice cream. —Terri Merritts, Nashville, Tennessee
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White Chocolate Cranberry Almond Tart

A sweet white chocolate drizzle perfectly balances the tangy cranberries in my signature holiday dessert. I also make this tart for local coffee houses and restaurants. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
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Nana's Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Frosting

Even though she is no longer with us, Nana’s treats bring me so much joy every time I bake them. For a more indulgent version, double the frosting and pile it on high! —Chekota Hunter, Cassville, Missouri

Cathryn Jakicic
Cathy Jakicic has written about everything from business and bacteria to beads and baking in her career —but she greatly prefers the last two. She is a baker and a crafter and loves to try new recipes for both.

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