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Technique

9 Festive Holiday Dessert Recipes

AKA, 9 different reasons to keep the oven on.

By Rachel Baron
Nov 27, 2023
pumpkin pie cheesecake
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The holidays are about as synonymous with project recipes as it gets, from day-long brines to heirloom dishes that require multiple days of preparation. After spending hours (or days) working on entrées or sides, it can be tempting to phone it in once it comes time to prepping dessert—and while there’s no shame in a store-bought sweet, we’d like to challenge you to bring something special to the dessert table this holiday season.

In this roundup of our favorite holiday dessert recipes, we’ve included options ranging from the simple to the challenging—like a standard apple pie with a crumble topping, pecan pie made with cane syrup, and/or a swirled blondie/brownie hybrid.

Apple Quince Streusel Slab Pie

apple quince slab pie

This large-format apple and quince pie from Chef Nancy Silverton marries the sweetness of apples with the delicate, citrus-like flavor and aroma of fresh quince, making it far more elegant than the word “slab” might suggest. Oh, and did we mention that this recipe makes significantly more servings than a typical round pie?

This recipe for brookies—a delightful franken-dessert of brownies and cookies—comes to us from Chef Audry Scheib of Austin’s The Salty Donut. A bit like making a marble cake, you’ll swirl dollops of brownie and blondie batter together for a perfectly festive handheld treat.

Olive Oil Cake with Brûléed Stone Fruit and Chantilly

olive oil cake

The buttery texture and subtle grassy taste of fresh olive oil turns an otherwise standard yellow cake recipe into a lighter, celebration-worthy dessert. The recipe, developed by Chef Susana Querejazu of Lutie's at Commodore Perry Estate, goes well with almost any fruit you can think of—we particularly love stone fruit like peaches, plums, or apricots, but feel free to add whatever’s in season and/or easy to procure.

Bourbon Pecan Slab Pie

We love slab pies just as much as we love saying the word “slab,” so we had to include a second recipe in this roundup. This is your be-all-end-all pecan pie: not only does Culinary Creative Director Rhoda Boone add a shot of bourbon to the filling, but she swaps in cane syrup—a toasty, caramel-like sweetener—for the usual corn syrup.

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake with Cold Brew Whipped Cream

By the time December rolls around, we’ve all had our fill of the standard, saccharine pumpkin pie, so take it a step further with this perfectly autumnal version that combines the best parts of pumpkin pie and cheesecake. Pastry Chef Sarah Seghi of Austin’s Eberly takes inspiration from her favorite seasonal drink—pumpkin cream cold brew—for this perfectly velvety, spicy, and complex dessert that comes together in our elegant French Porcelain Pie Dish.

Bourbon Sticky Buns

bourbon sticky buns

We pay little mind to the dessert vs. breakfast binary during the holidays (and most days, honestly), which means we’re totally comfortable including a sticky bun recipe in this roundup. These caramel-sauced buns from Elise Smith of @winniesbakery are fit for a crowd, impressive enough for guests, and, yes, they double as a post-dinner treat as well.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Diamonds

Sometimes we want something cute and handheld for dessert, which is precisely why we love these dainty chocolate peanut butter bites from Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi. In this recipe, you’ll layer melted chocolate on top of a peanut-buttery base of toasted Rice Krispies cereal, then pop it in the freezer to set. Sometimes, the best desserts are those with no baking required.

Claire Saffitz’s Classic Apple Crumble Pie

apple crumble pie claire saffitz

Nothing crazy here—just a satisfyingly simple, classic apple pie. This recipe comes to us from dessert guru Claire Saffitz, and features a buttery crumb topping that’s way easier to assemble than a fussy top crust or lattice.

Apple Cider Caramel Blondies

Blondies are plenty cozy to begin with, but Chef Hilly O’Hanlon of Milk Bar ups the ante a bit with a spiced apple cider-infused caramel sauce. Enjoy these warm with ice cream, and maybe an extra drizzle of caramel on top. 

Ready to Bake?

The holidays are loaded with rich, savory, and time-consuming dishes, but that doesn’t mean cutting corners on dessert. Whether you’re up for a time-intensive, multi-step recipe, or something a little more pared back, we’ve got you covered: just make sure you’ve got some of our porcelain bakeware (and plenty of unsalted butter) on hand.