I have brought you a couple of round ups recently. First, there was the Thanksgiving Side Dishes Round Up with over 74 fantastic sides. Next up was last month’s Progressive Eats round up of Easy Holiday Cocktail Party Recipes and then I rounded it out with a kind of awesome round up of 105 Thanksgiving Desserts! Yay! You might want to go ahead and bookmark those bad boys right now.
I will be headed back to Charlotte tomorrow because there are some kinks in the services that dad should be getting to help his knee heal. Sigh. So, another round up it is! This time, I’m sharing my own special holiday desserts for a crowd. I am one of those people who makes Big Fat Desserts. Even though it’s just me and The Beloved here, I love making large desserts that can be cut into a ton of pieces. Yes, our neighbors seem to appreciate it! While I do have some individual desserts on the blog, I think when you have a crowd over for a special holiday meal, slice and serve is the way to go (especially if you are short on ramekins)!
I’ve chosen desserts that are hopefully familiar enough that they won’t confuse people but with enough of a twist to make them a bit more interesting. If your family is all about tradition, by all means celebrate those traditions with the ones you love. But if your family likes to try new recipes for the holidays, then some of these desserts might just be up your alley.
The Most Special Holiday Dessert in Our Family
- Auntie Ev’s Traditional English Trifle: made to slice and not scoop, Auntie Ev’s trifle is made from layers of cream sherry-soaked pound cake, raspberry jam, vanilla custard and whipped cream. It is perfect.
Special Holiday Desserts: Cake
- Turtle S’More Chocolate Cake: I made this cake for Kim’s (Cravings of a Lunatic) birthday last year. But if you are a fan of rich chocolate cake, marshmallow frosting, pecans, caramel and ganache, you might want to consider this for your holiday dessert table. Over the top? Absolutely. Delicious? Duh!
- Mexican Spiced Chocoflan: Honestly, so easy to make and such a spectacular presentation, chocoflan might be the perfect holiday dessert. Feel free to leave out the Mexican spices if you’d like. Bonus: Chocoflan can be made a day or two ahead and refrigerated before unmolding. Yay!
- Caramel Spice Pound Cake with Caramel Custard: this is my take on a bread pudding made with cubes of cake rather than bread. Instead of baking the cake twice (once to make it and another to set the custard), I use gelatin to set the custard so no baking is needed. This is a pretty spectacular dessert that can be made in stages. You can make and freeze the cake layers up to 2 weeks in advance. Make the custard and mold the cake a day or two before and then “ice” with whipped cream before serving.
- Double Chocolate Stout Cake with Vanilla Porter Toffee: This is a Wow cake if there ever was one. Seriously delicious and not difficult to make. You can make the sauce to pass (warmed up) at the table or you can go ahead and use it as a glaze like I did. It will set up into sticky, gooey wonderfulness.
- Chocolate Stout Cake with Burnt Caramel Buttercream: The same cake, more or less, as the Double Chocolate Stout Cake above, this time it’s baked as a layer and generously frosted with the most amazing, deeply caramelized, not-too-sweet caramel buttercream ever. Complete with videos of making both the cake and the buttercream in real time on hangouts on air.
Special Holiday Desserts: Pound Cake
- Whipped Cream Pound Cake: classic
- Pineapple Upside Down Pound Cake: Unexpected, festive, delicious.
- Espresso Spice Pound Cake (featuring Baker’s Brew Spice Blend): a perfect cake to serve with a cup of coffee
- Dark Chocolate Pound Cake: The chocolatiest. Make this 3-4 days ahead and it will just keep getting fudgier and fudgier.
- Mocha Caramel Pound Cake: plus our love story (The Beloved and me). I made this cake for his birthday in 2013. Subtle layers of flavor. Gorgeous. This is another one that keeps getting fudgier the longer it sits.
Special Holiday Desserts: Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Butter Japanese Cheesecake with Pumpkin Spice Tangerine Curd: lighter and fluffier than a traditional American-style cheesecake, this Japanese cheesecake would make a lovely ending to a heavy meal. And you can’t beat the seasonal flavor!
- Nutella Swirl Cheesecake: No explanation needed.
- Cinnamon Buttermilk Cheesecake with Apple Pie Topping: Another seasonally appropriate cheesecake lightened up with buttermilk. The tang is fantastic!
Special Holiday Desserts: Cookies and Bars
- Spiced Pumpkin Black and Tan Cookies: a seasonal play on the New York staple, Black and White cookies. Look to the cookie, Elaine!
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies: Rich, fudgy brownies with a simple pumpkin cheesecake swirl–to be extra festive, cut them with cookie cutters, or make diagonal slices for diamond-shaped brownies.
- Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies: my perfect chocolate chip cookie.
- Apricot Swirl Brownies (Sacher Torte Brownies): These brownies are a more casual spin on the jewel in the crown of Austrian desserts, the Sachertorte. Dark chocolate, apricot and a bittersweet glaze. Perfection.
Special Holiday Desserts: Ice Cream
- Toblerone Gelato: a small scoop of this rich, chewy gelato with some pound cake might just be all you need for dessert.
- Maple Buttermilk Pecan Ice Cream: Maple and pecans. It doesn’t get much more seasonal than that.
- Pumpkin Custard Coffee Pecan Swirl Ice Cream: This ice cream tastes like a Thanksgiving dessert buffet: rich, smooth pumpkin custard ice cream swirled with a cooked pecan pie filling. So good.
- Vegan Coconut Avocado Ice Cream: Green ice cream. Red swirl. Perfect for Christmas, and delicious. You might not even know (or care) that it’s vegan.
Special Holiday Desserts: Tarts
- Cream Cheese Panna Cotta Tart: Cool, creamy panna cotta in a dark chocolate crust. Easy to make and impressive to serve.
- Blackberry Swirl Cheesecake Tart: Swap out cranberries for the blackberries in the swirl, and you’ve got a gorgeous and festive holiday dessert.
- Mixed Citrus Sabayon Tart: Citrus is always welcome, no matter what time of year. I used several citrus juices and zests. Feel free to simplify if you like. Straight lemon would basically yield lemon bars in tart shape. Nice!
And there you have it. It has been fun to revisit my archives. I posted some of these desserts four or five years ago, so it’s nice to see them again. In case you need even more inspiration, here are some other holiday dessert round ups for you from around the Hinternets.
- Gluten-Free Holiday Dessert Round Up from Seasonal & Savory: 30-ish recipes for gluten free (and some paleo) cookies, candies, pies and tarts
- Holiday Dessert Recipes from The Kitchy Kitchen: Five simply stunning seasonal desserts. For real; go see.
- 26 Homemade Holiday Desserts from Call Me PMc: everything from dessert “lasagna” to a sexy pumpkin tart to cute little Oreo turkeys.
- Holiday Pies Round Up from Recipes for our Daily Bread: over 30 gorgeous pies
- Holiday Dessert Round Up from Chocolate Moosey: over 50 desserts from cookies and bars to cakes and cupcakes and even some holiday beverages