5 Easy Christmas Dessert Recipes for the Whole Family

thumbprint cookies on white plate

Fuss-free dessert recipes provide more than deliciousness—they’re a chance to bake up some holiday memories. If you love the tradition but are low on time, these stress-free Christmas dessert recipes are all you need for a sweet holiday season.

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Cakes

Easy Fruitcake

 Prep: 25 mins
 Total: 2:10 hours
5 Easy Christmas Dessert Recipes for the Whole Family
  • This scrumptious fruitcake uses yellow cake mix and apple sauce for a moist recipe without added fat. Bring joy to everyone on your list—it’s that good.
  • This recipe makes two cakes, so you’ll have one for entertaining and one for gifting.

Ingredients

Directions

1

Position rack in centre of oven, then preheat to 275°F.

2

Spray 2 8x4-in loaf pans with cooking spray, then line with parchment, leaving overhang on 2 side.

3

Beat cake mix, applesauce and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined, about 2 minutes.

4

Toss fruit with flour in a medium bowl. Stir into cake batter. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

5

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

6

Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat until blended, about 2 minutes. Spread glaze evenly over cakes, then sprinkle with nuts.

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Cookies

Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

 Prep: 15 mins
 Total: 36 mins
5 Easy Christmas Dessert Recipes for the Whole Family
  • These bejewelled cookies will shine at any holiday party or potluck and no one will guess they’ve been upgraded with whole wheat flour for a healthier, nuttier finish.
  • The moisture in the jam continues to soften the cookies over time. These can be frozen between layers of wax paper for up to three weeks and thawed at room temperature.

Ingredients

Directions

1

Position rack in centre of oven, then preheat to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

2

Place pecan pieces in a food processor. Whirl until finely chopped. Transfer to a small shallow bowl. Lightly beat egg white until frothy in a separate small shallow bowl.

3

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in food processor. Whirl until combined. Add egg yolk, butter and vanilla. Whirl until a smooth dough forms, scraping down the sides if needed.

4

Roll dough into 1 tbsp-sized balls. Roll in beaten egg white, then coat completely with chopped pecans. Arrange balls 2-in apart on prepared sheet.

5

Bake for 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer sheet to a rack to cool 1 minute. Then, using your thumb or handle of a wooden spoon, indent the top of each cookie. Spoon a heaped 1/2 tsp preserves into each indent.

6

Continue baking until cookies are set, about 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer sheet to a rack to cool completely.

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Squares and Bars

Strawberries and Cream Bars

 Prep: 20 mins
 Total: 2:5 hours
5 Easy Christmas Dessert Recipes for the Whole Family
  • Time-saving white cake mix, butter and softened cream cheese come together for a bright and tart dessert square that tastes just like the holidays without the excessive baking time.
  • Swap out strawberries for raspberries or blueberries for different flavours and colours.

Ingredients

Directions

1

Position rack in centre of oven, then preheat to 350°F. Spray a 13x9-in baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2

Beat cake mix, butter, and 1 of the eggs with an electric mixer in a large bowl until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture. Press remaining mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes.

3

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer in a large bowl until blended. Add remaining egg and mix well.

4

Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crust. Top with strawberries. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.

5

Bake until centre is set and crumb topping is lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

6

Cut into bars and garnish with sifted icing sugar just before serving.

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Pies and Tarts

Mixed Berry Tarts

 Prep: 15 mins
 Total: 1 hour
5 Easy Christmas Dessert Recipes for the Whole Family
  • A simple berry sauce is poured into frozen tart shells for a deceptively easy and pretty dessert.
  • Make the tarts up to two days ahead and store, covered, until party time. Make the cream topping up to 12 hours ahead and spoon it overtop the tarts just before serving.

Ingredients

Directions

1

Position rack in centre of oven, then preheat to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

2

Gently stir thawed berries, 1/2 cup sugar, corn starch, lemon zest, lemon juice and 1 pinch salt in a medium bowl until combined. Divide berry mixture among tart shells. Place shells on prepared sheet.

3

Bake until shells are golden and fruit is bubbly, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

4

Meanwhile, beat cream in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, until stiff peaks form. Beat cream cheese, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla extract and remaining pinch salt in a large bowl, using same electric mixer, until smooth. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.

5

Spoon cream cheese topping onto cooled tarts. Top each with a raspberry dipped into coarse sugar, if desired.

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Candy and Confections

Jell-O Meringue Poppers

 Prep: 15 mins
 Total: 45 mins
5 Easy Christmas Dessert Recipes for the Whole Family
  • Gluten-free and naturally light tasting, this recipe is all about fun, fun, fun! Experiment with different jelly flavours for a variety of tastes and colours. After all, it’s time to party!
  • Using boxed pasteurized egg whites can help avoid waste; just allow a little extra time to whip them into stiff peaks.

Ingredients

4  
1 85-g pkg

Directions

1

Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven, then preheat to 250˚F. Line two baking sheet with parchment.

2

Beat egg whites, sugar and jelly powder in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add vinegar and beat on low just until blended.

3

Spoon meringue into a large resealable plastic bag. Cut tip off one corner of bag. Pipe meringue into 36, 2-in mounds, 1-in apart, on prepared sheets.

4

Bake until outsides of meringues are firm but centres are still soft, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets. Store in an air-tight container.

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Last updated: November 29th, 2021

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