When it comes to winter desserts, I have a great love for anything warm and comforting.
Sticky toffee pudding covered in salted caramel sauce and hot custard is probably the top of my list!
But at the same time, I love the excuse to use peppermint and spices in some of my favorites.
From hot chocolate cookies and classic apple crisp to an icy cheesecake, let’s take a look at 24 of the best ways to satisfy your sweet tooth by the open fire.
24 Best Winter Dessert Recipes
1. Sticky Toffee Pudding with Custard
In the UK, a good pud’ usually consists of some kind of cake, sponge, or crumble slathered in thick, hot custard.
British custard is more or less the same as pastry cream. The major difference being custard has a little less starch, so it stays pourable.
Sticky toffee pudding consists of a brown sugar cake, sweetened with boiled and pureed dates.
The dates need to be boiled to soften them. They can then be blitzed in a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.
Be sure to let the dates cool a little before adding into your blender or processor.
When baked, the entire cake gets drenched in toffee sauce and custard for the ultimate winter warmer.
2. Eggnog Cheesecake
Eggnog tastes like a spiced melted milkshake. It’s creamy, sweet, and ideal in a cheesecake.
This recipe calls for a classic graham cracker base, though I think adding some pecans in or using gingerbread cookies would make a pleasant change.
If you’re nervous about using a water bath, I promise you can do it! I like to wrap my cake tin in multiple layers of crisscrossing foil to be sure nothing will seep in.
But my secret top tip is to add in a couple of layers of plastic!
Split a large cooking bag in half and layer the plastic with foil to keep the base nice and dry. The best part is, it’s so good, you can reuse the cover multiple times.
When baking, you will find this cheesecake needs a little longer, but it will be worth it.
Serve with eggnog whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
3. Guinness Chocolate Cake
It might not sound very wintery, but this is definitely a holiday winner.
Winter is all about deep, rich flavors and this cake has it in spades.
You won’t necessarily taste the stout. Rather, you will get notes of spice and a much deeper chocolate flavor.
Topped with a simple cream cheese frosting, this cake has a bold, not too sweet flavor that works so well with a glass of Irish coffee.
4. Hot Chocolate Cookies
There’s nothing like coming home and wrapping your hands around a cup of hot chocolate.
I love that it’s totally acceptable to have chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner when it’s cold outside.
These cookies are packed with that creamy, hot chocolate flavor, and when baked, the mini-marshmallows will be soft, sticky, and totally perfect.
Be sure to get a full-fat hot chocolate mix, and freezing your marshmallows before use will keep them from melting while baking.
5. Cranberry Orange Upside-Down Cake
If you like fruitcake but sometimes find it a little dense, this is the recipe for you.
The cranberry orange combination is exactly what you want in a winter cake, and it looks gorgeous when turned out.
Melting the butter with brown sugar and pouring over fresh cranberries in the pan will give them a chance to marry and form a wonderful thick jam on the top of your cake.
The cake itself is flavored with orange zest and orange juice, so you won’t be short on flavor.
This recipe calls for separated eggs. Trust me, it makes all the difference and creates a light cake.
The syrup on top means you don’t even need whipped cream or frosting to serve with this cake. But I can’t help but think a little drizzle of dark chocolate ganache would just make it all pop.
6. Ultimate Skillet Brownie
Maybe it’s the chef in me, but I absolutely love serving dessert in little individual skillets. They’re a great investment, and you can use them for many other fun things!
This recipe calls for a larger, oven-safe skillet, so you’ll have to share.
Rich, fudgy, and gooey, this brownie can (and should) be eaten right out of the pan.
Using both cocoa and melted chocolate, along with added chocolate chips, you are in for a chocolate overload.
It really doesn’t get much better on a chilly night than a warm skillet full of chocolate brownie.
Serve with a scoop of ice cream and maybe some caramel, too!
7. Easy Christmas Blondies
As much as I love a brownie, there’s something about a blondie that always has me coming back for another bite.
They’re basically super thick chocolate chip cookies and are so easy to modify.
These Christmas blondies are packed full of red and green chocolate chips, along with a healthy helping of white chocolate.
The colors are so festive, and these will be a sure-fire hit.
As I said before, they’re so easy to change up. So why not try out some fun winter flavors? I think dark chocolate and candy cane pieces would be amazing.
8. Apple Crisp
Apples and cinnamon are as comforting as it gets.
We’ve all had that one apple pie that sticks with us. But sometimes you don’t have time to make a whole pie.
Apple crisp combines all those amazing fall flavors we love in an easy and warm dessert.
Simply chop your apples and mix them with some sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
That gets topped with a quick crisp topping made with butter, flour, oats, and brown sugar.
You can leave the oats out, but I love the texture they add to the crisp.
Everything gets baked together, and you can have this hot and on the table in an hour.
9. Chocolate and Blackberry Self-Saucing Puddings
Self-saucing puddings and desserts are a master in baking magic, though they’re so easy to make.
The idea behind these puds is to have a flour-based sponge that will rise during baking.
There is usually some kind of added sauce or fruit concoction that drips to the bottom and comes together to create the perfect sauce.
They’re best served in the dish they’re baked in.
For this decadent pudding, you’ll need ramekins and blackberries. Topped with the chocolate batter and chocolate syrup, you’ll have the perfect, fruity chocolate pot.
They’re great dusted with powdered sugar but would be over-the-top with a scoop of ice cream.
10. Maple, Fig and Pecan Self-Saucing Pudding
Another great self-saucing option, this recipe is almost like monkey bread.
The nutty dough needs to be nestled into a skillet or baking dish and covered in figs, pecans, and maple glaze.
Once baked, the maple sauce will seep through the dough, along with the caramelized figs, to create a thick sauce underneath.
I think these would be amazing in those little skillets you already ordered, by the way! Just be sure to adjust your baking time.
Serve right from the baking dish with more maple glaze and ice cream.
11. Candy Cane Cheesecake
With an Oreo crust, swirled mint filling, and shiny dark chocolate ganache, this is one of those recipes you’ll make more than once.
Using peppermint extract and crushed candy canes, this recipe perfectly creates that mint chocolate flavor we all love.
The color comes from a simple food coloring that you can easily omit. It will still have that same great taste.
Be sure to let your cheesecake cool to room temperature before putting in the fridge.
If you can, let it sit overnight before pouring over your ganache and sprinkling with more crushed candy canes.
12. Peppermint Bark
Peppermint bark is an easy, delicious, and fast winter treat.
This recipe uses ready-made almond bark for the base, but you can make your own bark using white and dark chocolate if you prefer.
Melt your almond bark carefully and spread into your lined baking tin, before allowing it to firm up in the fridge or freezer.
The next layer is made from melted Hershey kisses with candy canes and has such a subtle minty flavor.
The whole thing gets topped with crushed candy canes for a beautiful red and white delight.
13. Chocolate Chess Pie
This recipe tastes a lot like a brownie pie. It comes together with just nine ingredients, one of which is a store-bought pie crust.
It’s not overly sweet and does require the use of a good dutched cocoa powder to make sure the chocolate flavor is rich and deep and not synthetic.
Be sure to pre-bake your pie crust to avoid a soggy bottom.
I think this pie would be amazing with some Bailey’s whipped cream and a nice coffee.
14. Spiced Pear, Blueberry, and Almond Shortcake
Spiced, poached pears are one of my favorite things. The flavors are something a little different, but I would take these over apple pie any day.
If you’re looking for something you don’t see every day, this recipe is for you.
The shortbread acts like a pastry, encasing the fruit filling and baking into a pie.
When poaching your pears, be careful not to cook for too long, as they can become mushy. You’ll want them soft yet firm inside so they hold their shape when you cut them.
It’s not your everyday dessert, but everyone will be coming back for more.
15. Perfect Chocolate Fondue
Winter is the time to stay in with a warm fire and wonderful food, and this fondue recipe is the perfect way to end a family meal.
You can find inexpensive fondue pots online and most are electric, meaning you can better control the melting and don’t have to worry about burning the bottom of the chocolate with an open flame.
All you have to do is melt good quality chocolate with some cream, milk, and vanilla.
Cut up fruit, cookies, brownies, pretzels, marshmallows, almost anything you can think of!
It’s such a fun way to enjoy dessert as a family. Just be sure to hold back some of your favorites because they won’t last long.
16. Cherry Cobbler
Another great winter warmer, cobbler is so versatile!
This recipe makes life so simple with a quick five-ingredient topping and a can of cherry pie filling.
Of course, you can use any filling you like. I think blueberry might be my go-to.
The topping is made by mixing flour and baking powder with sugar, and milk.
With just 10 minutes of prep time, this will be ready to eat in under an hour.
Serve with some vanilla ice cream, or with some real British custard.
17. Soft Molasses Cookies
These babies have all the flavors you want in a winter cookie: cinnamon, ginger, and deep molasses.
They are quite similar to a gingersnap cookie, the difference being their texture. These cookies are soft and tender.
Using a typical cookie method, you’ll need to beat your butter and sugar to smooth before adding in your eggs, vanilla, and molasses.
Be sure to use dark molasses for this, as lighter options won’t give you the same rich flavor.
After adding your dry ingredients in, you’ll portion out your cookies and roll in granulated sugar for a great sugar crunch coating.
The key with these is to not over-bake them. You’ll want them soft and chewy!
18. German Chocolate Cake
Cold and dark winter days are a baker’s dream. It’s time to shine and try new things.
German chocolate cake might look intimidating with its coconut and almond filling, but now is the time to give it a go.
The good news is, this recipe uses a great boxed mix. Nobody says you have to make everything from scratch! If the boxed mix tastes this good, why worry?
For the filling, you’ll need to melt the butter, sugar, evaporated milk, and eggs in a saucepan. This needs to be constantly moving to avoid cooking the eggs too soon, while you wait for it to thicken.
When it’s thick enough to spread on a cake, stir in the vanilla, coconut, and almonds. Let it cool completely before frosting your cake.
19. Rice Pudding
I would eat hot rice pudding on even the hottest day of the year. It’s as nostalgic for me as anything, having grown up eating my nana’s after Sunday lunch.
It’s perfect for a Winter Dessert because it’s warm, sweet, and so easy to make.
Heat your milk, sugar, and salt to a low boil before adding in your rice and leaving to cook for a good 55-60 minutes. Just stir occasionally to keep it from catching on the bottom.
An even easier option is to put all the ingredients into a deep baking dish and stir. Cover with foil, and bake for at least an hour.
This allows the rice pudding to cook and form a lovely skin that my family used to fight over.
20. Mulled Cherry Pie with Ice Cream
A good warm pie is always going to be a hit.
But this grown-up, boozy cherry pie will earn you a spot at the top.
The pastry incorporates cinnamon and custard powder for a spiced and super tender, flaky crust.
It’s also enriched with an egg. It might just be the baker in me, but I prefer an enriched dough every time.
Mulled wine is a warm, spiced red wine that you only see around the holidays.
For this filling, you’ll need to dissolve your sugar into your wine, along with cinnamon, orange zest, star anise, and vanilla.
Once infused, you use this mulled wine to make your cherry pie filling.
If I were you, I’d make extra to drink with a slice of your warm pie.
21. Red Velvet Cupcakes
They might not be spiced or served warm, but you can’t deny that red and white coloring is perfect for winter.
A good red velvet cupcake is moist and tender with a big dollop of cream cheese frosting.
The cake is made with buttermilk for a light and moist cake. The cocoa powder is actually what gives the cake a pink coloring, but most people also add in red food coloring for a brighter finish.
To make these more festive, why not try some fun holiday cupcake toppers?
22. Sour Cream Pound Cake
Pound cake is a solid recipe to have in your back pocket.
It works for breakfast with your coffee, or as a little something sweet before bed, and is so easy to change up.
This recipe is a real classic, using the sour cream to ensure a rich and moist crumb.
Be careful not to overmix your batter and keep an eye on it in the oven so it doesn’t dry out.
Serve alone, or with a spiced berry compote.
23. Honey Cinnamon Almond Squares
If you’re tired of making holiday cookies, you should try these sweet and buttery almond squares.
Cookie bars are such a great way to add to your cookie platter without having to portion anything out. Just throw them in a tray and slice. So easy.
This recipe has an almond and cinnamon butter shortbread base that honestly, I’d eat by itself.
But then it gets topped with brown butter and honey caramel and chopped almonds.
The only thing missing is a drizzle of dark chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt.
24. Bread and Butter Pudding
I grew up with bread and butter pudding made with plain old white bread. It was delicious but this? Wow.
Made with leftover croissants and brioche, this recipe is beyond anything my 10-year-old mind could imagine.
I like it just as much for breakfast as I do after dinner. It’s not complicated and is always sweet and tasty.
They key with bread and butter pudding it to let the bread soak in the vanilla custard mix before baking. It will seep into the bread and soften it up perfectly.
Feel free to add some spices to the custard mix, but I’m a fan of the original vanilla. I also like raisins in mine, but you can add anything, really.
For something a little different and ultra-luxurious, give this spiced chocolate recipe a try.
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