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Top Holiday Dessert Recipes and Tricks for 2021

National Dessert Day | History and Theories | Tasty Holiday Recipes

People who enjoy ice cream, chocolate, or any kind of sugary treats will find the 14th of October to be a godsend. If you have a sweet tooth and know how to enjoy the little things in life, then put on your party hat and get ready to celebrate because today is National Dessert Day!  

Like many other food holidays, though, National Dessert Day is shrouded in mystery because little is known about its history or origins. The lack of verified facts behind its celebration leaves only one question to be answered: Who came up with the idea of having a dessert after a meal? So let's throw a speculative theory here.

Story Time, Dessert Style 

It is totally possible that one day, many years ago, a wise man sat on a hill, under a tree. He had just finished a delicious lunch, but he had a heavy feeling of ultimate sadness, anger, and dissatisfaction deep in his gut. As he wondered and contemplated why this was happening to him, suddenly, something fell on his head from above. Confused, he picked the mysterious object up and immediately realized that it was precisely what he needed. ``An apple!`` he said, ``What a delicious idea!`` And thus, the dessert theory was born. Well, this was just a fun hypothesis. Let's check some historical facts instead. 

Where did the idea of having a dessert at the end of a meal actually come from?

Le influence de France 

The practice of having something special after a meal originated in France. Although desserts were rarely mentioned in medieval and Renaissance French cookbooks, it is widely believed that the practice of this beloved tradition began exactly during this period. Many materials in these cookbooks provided instructions for making "interval" dishes, which were small meals served between the appetizers and the main course. The primary purpose of these little snacks was the overall enhancement of the whole meal, and back then, it wasn't specified if they should be sweet or savory. The aristocrats referred to the dish as "le fruit" in a courtly context since the fruit was the classic example of food consumed during this meal. In the seventeenth century, the word "dessert" emerged from the French verb "desservir," which in English means "to clear the table." Before the final course, the delicate fruit one, it was customary to change the napkins and tablecloths. This custom led to the renaming of the whole meal by the bourgeois. The aristocratic term  "fruit" was entirely replaced by the word "dessert" after the French Revolution, and the tradition, together with the name, spread widely around the whole world. Many years later, the appearance of this custom is still considered to be on the list of  ``10 best things that happened to humanity.`` It really shouldn't come to your surprise that someone came up with the suggestion to celebrate the existence of the dessert. Because it is a brilliant idea. 

Back in the day, people snacked on seasonal fruit in order to observe the National Dessert Day, the world today offers you unlimited options to celebrate this holiday. Whether you are a fan of crispy chocolate chip cookies, fluffy Japanese mochi, or fancy macarons, the chances of finding a place around you that makes your favorite desserts are sometimes higher than finding your car keys before work. Sad, but true. And, whereas your great-grandmother probably relied on a limited number of cookbooks for inspiration, the internet puts an infinite number of recipes and ideas at your fingertips. To expand your digital cookbook shelf, even more, The Holiday Blog has put together a list of yummy dessert ideas for you to try over the upcoming holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, these recipes are sure to be a delicious ending to any family dinner this holiday season!

Holiday Dessert Recipes

Spiced pumpkin pie 

This pie will give everyone pumpkin to talk about! 

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs 
  • ½ cup brown sugar 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves 
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice 
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • 1 ¾ cups roasted pumpkin or one 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree 
  • ¼ cup heavy cream 
  • Whipped cream  
  • 1 pastry for a butter crust pie 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle between two sheets of parchment paper. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and invert the dough into a 9-inch pie pan (not deep-dish). 
  3. Remove the second sheet, trim any overhanging dough, and use a fork to crimp the edges. Prick the crust several times with a fork; line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice to cover the bottom. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is barely golden brown on the edges. 
  4. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture is thick and forms ribbons.  
  5. Blend cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt into the mixture. Add  the pumpkin and cream. Pour the filling into the crust after removing the parchment and pie weights. 
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. 
  7. Bake the pie until the center is just set, about 1 hour if using canned pumpkin and up to 1 1/2 hours if using a fresh one. 
  8. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.  Garnish with whipped cream 

Apple Fritters 

Ingredients

For the fritters 

  • 2 to 3 baked apples (peeled, cored, and diced) 
  • 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed juice 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/3 cup milk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder 
  • 1/8 tsp ginger powder 
  • 4-5 cups canola or vegetable oil 

For the glaze 

  • 1 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla 
  • 2-4 tbsp milk 

Got everything? Apple-solutely fantastic! 

Directions

  1. Place diced apples into a medium bowl with lemon juice and mix to combine. Place aside. 
  2. In a large bowl whisk 2 eggs until smooth. Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract until blended. Place aside. 
  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground ginger in a medium mixing bowl. 
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Mix thoroughly. Stir in the diced apples with a wooden spoon until evenly coated. 
  5. In a large saucepan or deep skillet, heat the oil to medium high, or 350 degrees. When the oil is hot enough, drop a third of a cup of batter onto the skillet, leaving room for it to fry. 
  6. Cook for a few minutes on one side until golden brown, then flip. Cook for a few more minutes until golden brown. 
  7. Remove the fritters and set them on a wire rack on a foil-lined sheet pan. This will aid in the removal of any extra grease. When all of the fritters have been fried, turn off the heat and set aside to cool before coating. 

Making the glaze :

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk until blended.  
  2. If necessary, add additional milk for a thinner consistency or more powdered sugar to thicken. 
  3. Drizzle the glaze over the fritters once they've cooled. Allow glaze to set for a few minutes before serving. 

Caramel Apple Pie 

The cinnamon smell of this dessert is so a-peel-ing! 

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter 
  • 1⁄2 cup white sugar 
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar 
  • ¼ cup water  
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 5 peeled, cored, and sliced apples 
  • 1 pastry for a double-crust pie  

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F  
  2. Combine the butter, white sugar, brown sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and set aside. 
  3.  Roll half of the crust out to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Place bottom crust in pie plate; mix in apples. 
  4. Make a 10-inch circle out of the top crust. Using a sharp paring knife or pastry wheel, cut the dough into 8 inch-wide strips. Weave the pastry strips into a lattice design, one at a time. Fold the ends of the lattice strips under the bottom crust's edge and crimp to seal. 
  5.  Drizzle any remaining sauce through the crust and pour the butter-sugar mixture over the top of the pie, covering the lattice. 
  6. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated oven. Reduce the heat to 350°F (175°C) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown, the caramel on the crust is set, and the apple filling is bubbling. Allow to cool before slicing. 

Lemon Meringue Tarts 

These tarts are simply the zest! 

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, separated 
  • ¾ cup white sugar 
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch 
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 6 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste 
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest, or more to taste 
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter 
  • 6 small graham cracker pie crusts, prepared 
  • ¼ cup white sugar 
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175 degrees C). 
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the three yolks until creamy; set aside. 
  3. In a saucepan, whisk 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and flour until thoroughly combined; mix in the water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Bring the water to boil over medium heat, then reduce to a low heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks and butter until the filling is smooth and thickened. Fill the little graham cracker crusts with the hot lemon filling using a spoon. 
  4. In a metal or glass mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar and the almond extract with an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the meringue is fluffy and holds stiff peaks. Top each lemon pie with about 1 inch of meringue and use a spatula to create artistic swirls and peaks. Meringue should completely cover the lemon filling. 
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the meringue is softly golden brown with darker brown peaks and swirls. Allow to cool completely before serving. 

Coconut cake

Everyone will be coco-nut about this cake! 

Ingredients

  • 1 package white cake mix 
  • 3 eggs 
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 cup  water 
  • ½ tsp coconut extract 
  • 1 can  sweetened coconut cream (14 oz.) 
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.) 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream 
  • 1 tsp of white sugar 
  • 1 cup  coconut flakes 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan. 
  2. Beat cake mix, eggs, oil, water, and coconut flavoring in a large mixing bowl. After 2 minutes, pour into a 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the coconut cream and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. When the cake is baked, poke holes in it in even rows using a big fork or chopsticks. Pour the milk mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Refrigerate for at least several hours, if not overnight. 
  4. Whisk cream in a large mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Mix in the sugar until the mixture is firm. Spread on top of cooled cake. Sprinkle with coconut flakes on top.

Sweet potato pie 

Yam! 

Ingredients

  • 1 unbaked pie crust (9 inch) 
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed 
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened 
  • 2 eggs, beaten 
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • ½ cup buttermilk 
  • ¼ tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175 degrees C). 
  2. Combine mashed sweet potatoes, butter, and eggs in a mixing bowl. Separately, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Spices can be added if desired. Stir well into the sweet potato mixture. 
  3. Mix together buttermilk and baking soda. Stir into the sweet potato mixture. Blend in the vanilla extract. Filling should be poured into pastry shell. 
  4. Bake for 70 minutes, or until the center is firm. 

Cranberry Cheesecake 

A berry tasty one indeed! 

Ingredients

  • 1 graham cracker crust (9 inch) 
  • 1 package cream cheese (8 ounce) 
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar 
  • 1 cup sour cream 
  • ¼ cup milk 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 cup sour cream 
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1½ cups from your favourite cranberry sauce 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175 degrees C.) 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, white sugar, and 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Slowly, one at a time, beat in the eggs. Filling should be poured into the crust. 
  3. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling is set, in a preheated oven. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220 degrees C.) 
  4. 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl Mix until smooth, then spread on top of the cheesecake. Bake for 5 minutes in a preheated oven. Allow to cool before refrigerating for at least one hour. 
  5. Using a spoon, garnish the cheesecake with your favourite cranberry sauce. Refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.

Cookies 

This batch of cookies will bake your day! 

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet parchment paper 
  • 2 ½ cups flour 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1 tsp sea salt 
  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed 
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips  (12 oz.) 
  • 1 cup nuts, coarsely chopped 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set aside cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Set aside another sheet of parchment paper with the flour, baking soda, and salt. 
  2. Using an electric mixer, mix together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Incorporate the eggs and vanilla extract. 
  3. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing well until blended.. Combine the chocolate chips and nuts in a mixing bowl. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. 
  4. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before serving. 

Have you ever wondered what Santa's favorite cookies taste like? Would you like to try them? Since you have proven yourself to be a curious cat, The Holiday Blog will give you a little hint. You can find Mrs. Claus Secret Sugar cookies recipe only in The Holiday Traditions Box. Inside of the box you will also find a special cookie kit that will help you create his favorite ones and even try out some exciting new family traditions! The Holiday Traditions Box is available with the purchase of Santa Magic 21 photo experience. It can be found only at participating locations, while supplies last. Make sure to get yours!  Learn More.

View more tasty Holiday dessert recipes on Create Holiday Magic`s Pinterest board

National Dessert Day is the best time to get inspired and get ready for the upcoming holiday season. With so many different types of desserts, it can be hard to decide which one you want. But don't worry - The Holiday blog has plenty of delicious dessert ideas up its sleeve that will surely satisfy any sweet tooth there is. Make sure you never miss out -  subscribe today for The Holiday Blog. It's free! 

Share your favorite dessert recipes in the comments below or on Facebook and Instagram. Happy baking! 

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