Decadent Holiday Desserts

Now is the time to create rich, sumptuous desserts to dazzle your family and friends - and satisfy the most demanding sweet tooth.

By FamilyTime


The holidays are a time for entertaining, welcoming loved ones and friends into our homes, and putting on our best culinary show. For many, this means making fancy desserts.

Holiday desserts need not be elegant (although they can be), or complicated (although they might be), but they should be rich, seductive, and tempting.

This is the time for real cream, dark chocolate, fresh fruit, and glorious decorations. Forget the sorbet, yogurt, and low-fat dairy substitutes. Go all out when you make a decadent holiday dessert!

Shop for the Best
Read the recipe carefully before you buy the ingredients. If the recipe calls for cream or bittersweet chocolate, make sure you buy heavy or whipping cream and bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. Don't buy baking (unsweetened) chocolate instead.

Buy butter in sticks - not whipped or a butter substitute. These have added water and won't bake as well as real butter. Unsalted butter is the best choice as it helps maintain the balance of ingredients.

For most purposes, all-purpose flour is fine, but if a recipe calls for pastry flour or cake flour, try to find it. Unless specified, make sure the cake flour is not self-rising.

Confectioners' and powdered sugar are the same thing but should never be used in place of granulated sugar. If a recipe calls for superfine sugar and you don't have it, grind regular granulated sugar in the blender and then measure it.

Take Your Time
Set aside time to create desserts. Clear off the countertops, assemble your equipment, put your favorite music on the CD player, and prepare to spend some sweet time in your kitchen.

If the recipe calls for chilling, freezing, or cooling times, figure those into your plans. You cannot successfully slice cake layers that are not completely cooled or frost cakes that are still warm.

If you are a novice at decorating, practice first. Pipe frosting onto wax paper to get the hang of it before piping it on cakes, around the edges of pies, or on cookies. With a little time and patience, it will become easy.

Try Something New
While we don't recommend making a single complicated dessert for the first time for a dinner party, when you are making several desserts you might want to try something new.

Be realistic about your skill level and the time you have to work on the dessert. Make sure you have the right equipment - pans, whisks, spatulas, pastry bags, pastry brushes, cooling racks, and so on.

Think about the platter or bowl you will need for serving. Consider decorations and other garnishes. Both the serving dish and the decorations conspire to make a dessert special.

Our Recipes
We offer five desserts, each quite different from the other. The Dark Chocolate Ruffle Cake is time consuming and elegant, while the Toffee Mocha Dessert is incredibly rich and sweet but easy to put together.

The Butterscotch Cream Pie may not be fancy but it's smooth, creamy, and ultimately satisfying, and the Orange Cranberry Trifle, full of good fruit flavors, is seasonal and delicious.

Finally, our Rolled Holiday Sponge Cake is a traditional Christmas roll, easy to make and fun to decorate.

Make these and any others you fancy this year. Celebrate the holidays in sweet style!