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11 Holiday Desserts: It's Not Just About Sugar Cookies

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11 Holiday Desserts: It's Not Just About Sugar Cookies

Chris McBride

Sometimes the holiday season is filled with nothing but green and red-iced sugar cookies. Holiday parties can slip into the mundane doldrums of uninspired gingerbread and peppermint concoctions. But, please, let your holiday be so much more than that. Show off your skill and technique. Combine new, exciting, alternative flavors instead of resting entirely on expectation. Don't be afraid to try something new this holiday season! You love to cook: now prove it.

To assist in the challenge - the challenge of reclaiming the holidays and taking it beyond boring and bland sweets! - here is a list of 11 dessert recipes that will liven up your December. You won't regret trying these crowd-pleasing desserts from some incredible chefs!

Naan Kithai: Indian shortbread cookies with cinnamon, confectioners sugar, and cardomom sprinkled on top.

Naan Kithai: Indian shortbread cookies with cinnamon, confectioners sugar, and cardomom sprinkled on top.

Gateau de Galette: A comforting combination of buttercream, coffee, chocolate, and rum.

Gateau de Galette: A comforting combination of buttercream, coffee, chocolate, and rum.

Riesling-Poached Pears with Pear Granite: Strong floral notes from the pears and the Riesling blend nicely with the natural flavor of honey and the fragrance of lemon.

Riesling-Poached Pears with Pear Granite: Strong floral notes from the pears and the Riesling blend nicely with the natural flavor of honey and the fragrance of lemon.

Vanilla & Rum Pots du Creme: Creamy and soft custard dessert with a subtle punch of dark rum.

Vanilla & Rum Pots du Creme: Creamy and soft custard dessert with a subtle punch of dark rum.

Chocolate Mousse: The deep, dark flavor and texture of bittersweet chocolate is lightened with whipped cream. 

Chocolate Mousse: The deep, dark flavor and texture of bittersweet chocolate is lightened with whipped cream. 

Olive Oil Orange Cake: A simple moist cake enhanced with the natural sweetness of orange juice, orange zest, and olive oil.

Olive Oil Orange Cake: A simple moist cake enhanced with the natural sweetness of orange juice, orange zest, and olive oil.

Roasted Banana-Black Sesame Tulip Sundaes: The sweet, deep flavor of roasted banana is balanced by the boldness of black sesame.

Roasted Banana-Black Sesame Tulip Sundaes: The sweet, deep flavor of roasted banana is balanced by the boldness of black sesame.

Raspberry Claufoutis: Almond and vanilla balance with the natural flavors and acidity of the baked raspberries.

Raspberry Claufoutis: Almond and vanilla balance with the natural flavors and acidity of the baked raspberries.

Chocolate Tart: Rich chocolate custard filling, flavored with coffee, contrasts with a crisp, buttery crust.

Chocolate Tart: Rich chocolate custard filling, flavored with coffee, contrasts with a crisp, buttery crust.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Drunken Apricot: This recipe creates a dense, moist cake with a savory quality from olive oil and honey, enhanced by the flavor of almond and cognac-soaked apricots.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Drunken Apricot: This recipe creates a dense, moist cake with a savory quality from olive oil and honey, enhanced by the flavor of almond and cognac-soaked apricots.

Orange Tuiles, Sorbet, and "Salad": The buttery almond taste of the tuiles balances the acidity and sweetness of the sorbet and fresh orange segments.

Orange Tuiles, Sorbet, and "Salad": The buttery almond taste of the tuiles balances the acidity and sweetness of the sorbet and fresh orange segments.

And if chef Carmen Gonzalez's Roasted Calabaza Flan caught your eye when you were scrolling down the page, feel free to learn more about this recipe in the upcoming edition The Journey, Part Two.

By Anna Butler

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