I love pretty much anything that has to do with Christmas. The decorations, the lights, the family togetherness, the spirit of giving, and the food! And even though all the food is wonderful, Christmas dessert recipes have a special place in my heart.
I’ve always loved to bake. I didn’t really start cooking until a bit before leaving my parents’ house, but I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember.
And there’s no baking I love more than Christmas baking!
For me, it’s just not Christmas without lots and lots of different desserts. And it’s not even just so that we can pig out – although let’s be honest, we do.
It’s really about the variety, having lots of beautiful desserts, and being able to sample a bit of each.
But making all those different desserts means that you need a good plan. If you wake up on the 24th and decide you want to have 6 different homemade desserts, you’ll be in trouble. Luckily, a lot of delicious Christmas desserts are awesome even if you make them weeks ahead of time.
So read on. First, we’ll talk about different ways to make desserts ahead of time. And then, we’ll get to the good stuff: Christmas baking and dessert recipes.
We always have a lot of desserts around Christmas time in my family. My mom and I each make 3 or 4 different kinds, and we’ll usually buy a cake or yule log, and have a whole bunch of little extras like peppermint patties or chocolate-covered almonds.
It might seem like a lot of desserts, but we eat them over a few different meals. Christmas Eve, Christmas day, New Year’s, and pretty much any gathering in the middle. And it’s just so pretty to have a plate full of lots of different treats.
And of course, each one of those desserts is a part of the tradition and if we didn’t make them all, something would just be missing. So how do we manage all those desserts?
Using the Freezer
A lot of Christmas desserts freeze really well, which means that you can make them way ahead of time. So instead of having to make a whole bunch of Christmas baking recipes the week before Christmas, you can spread out the baking work all throughout the month of December.
Whenever you have the time, just bring out those Christmas dessert recipes, make the treats, then wrap them carefully and freeze them. Some desserts that freeze really well are:
- Bar cookies, like lemon bars or brownies.
- Soft cookies. Hard cookies don’t freeze as well because they can lose their crispiness.
- Squares, like date squares.
- Cookie dough freezes really well. You can even freeze it in the shape you want to bake it in (cut out or in balls). Then just thaw it for a few hours and follow your recipe to bake the cookies.
Not all Christmas desserts freeze well, but the ones that do can be made ahead of time. If you wrap them carefully, they can last over a month in the freezer.
Using the Refrigerator
The refrigerator can also be a big help when you’re planning out your Christmas dessert recipe schedule. Some foods might not freeze very well, but sometimes they can stay in the fridge for a few days, without a problem. Some examples are:
- Cookie dough can usually stay in the refrigerator for a few days before you bake it. Just keep it well wrapped, then bake the cookies when you’re ready.
- A baked, frosted cake can stay in the refrigerator and still look and taste great after a few days. Some cakes taste better at room temperature though, so if that’s the case, take it out ahead of time.
If your favorite Christmas dessert recipe doesn’t really lend itself to freezing or refrigerating, there’s still hope.
There are a lot of Christmas candy recipes or other types of desserts that store really well just in an airtight container. And then’s there the bonus of not using up fridge or freezer space — which around the holidays is very, very valuable.
Here are some good candidates for airtight storage:
- Hard cookies. Soft cookies don’t work as well, because they’ll still lose some moisture and get hard, but hard cookies can stay good for well over a week.
- Truffles. Just like the ones you buy in a box, homemade truffles stay good for a long time.
- Christmas candy recipes usually keep really well. Hard, sugary treats like peanut brittle, caramel corn or mint candies are perfect to make ahead of time… if you can keep people from eating them all before the big day!
When you’re choosing your Christmas dessert recipes, it’s not a bad idea to pick a few you can freeze, a few you can store, and a few that can be made fresh. That way, you spread out the work. Plan ahead, and you’ll have a much more relaxing holiday.
Christmas Dessert Recipes
Well, now that you’ve got a good idea of how to plan things out so that you can have way too many different kinds of Christmas desserts, you need some recipes. A lot of these are the Christmas dessert recipes we’ve used in my family forever.
It’s not Christmas without a few good Christmas cookie recipes. Cookies are great because they’re easy to make, easy to store, and decorating them is a ton of fun.
- Gingerbread cookies are a Christmas classic. This gingerbread cookie recipe will let you bake a whole army of gingerbread men! And you can use this royal icing recipe to decorate them.
- I make these Christmas sugar cookies every year, and drizzle them with a bit of chocolate. They don’t stay fresh as long as some of the other desserts, but they’re so easy to make, you can make them at the last minute.
My mom is always the one in charge of bar cookies. Every so often, she’ll say we make too many desserts and suggests removing one recipe from the menu, but someone always vetoes that!
- Caramel pecan bars are a completely decadent holiday dessert, like a bar cookie pecan pie. Try out this completely homemade recipe for pecan pie bars.
- Cranberry bars make a great change from the usual super heavy and rich Christmas dessert recipes. These cranberry bars are my dad’s favorite holiday treat.
- Lemon bars are sweet but tangy, and a bit lighter than some of the other desserts. Try this easy lemon bar recipe for a quick, tasty dessert. This one is great for freezing, so you can make it ahead of time!
There’s nothing like some yummy Christmas candy recipes. Something to nibble on during the day, a sweet little treat here and there.
- Truffles are always delicious. If you want to know how to make lots of different kinds, check out this article on making chocolate truffles. Or just follow this chocolate truffle recipe.
- Chocolate peppermint bark is delicious, and it’s super fast and easy to make. Try out this peppermint bark recipe, and you’ll have plenty of tasty treats to eat and give out to friends.
Having a nice variety of Christmas baking recipes is awesome. You end up with lots of delicious holiday treats. But remember, having a fun, relaxing holiday is important, too. So plan ahead — you’ll get all the treats without the stress.