When the holiday season ends but cold and darkness persist, we often find ourselves stuck inside, contemplating some of life's bigger questions like, "What should I make for dessert this
morningevening?" If you've asked yourself that question lately (as I have), there are countless options to choose from.
For me, winter is the season to celebrate the more subtle flavors of the dessert category (think: brown butter, maple, and olive oil). And while I'll never say no to a warm, fresh-from-the-oven treat on a frigid day, winter desserts are much more than baking projects. Cold desserts like chocolate mousse and coffee ice cream are sometimes exactly what you're in the mood for after a day of shoveling snow, sled pushing, or ice skating. Put plainly: Winter desserts have range and are worth exploring — here are 14 of our favorite recipes to try.
Our best winter dessert recipes
1. Maria Speck's Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate mousse, without the cream, eggs, or fuss. Maria Speck's chocolate dessert requires minimal prep and can be prepared an hour or a day in advance of when it will be served. To complement the chocolate, top the mousse with your favorite orange marmalade.
2. Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles
These dark chocolate avocado truffles require only three ingredients, all of which you might already have. So if you want dessert right now, there's a good chance you could be just an hour away from snacking on these.
A cross between sticky toffee pudding and pancakes with maple syrup, this pudding chomeur (a French Canadian dessert created during the Great Depression) is prepared and served in ramekins — making it the ideal treat for any upcoming winter dinner parties.
4. Nigella Lawson's One-Step, No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream
Creamy, homemade ice cream that comes together with just a bowl, whisk, and freezer. Say no more.
5. Brown Butter and Butternut Loaf
This loaf tastes like butterscotch mixed with pumpkin, and fills the kitchen with a cozy aroma as it bakes. Added bonus: The recipe makes two loaves, meaning you could give your second loaf to a friend or family member (or you could just keep it because you'll probably want it all to yourself after you eat the first loaf).
A reminder: Ginger cookies don't have to be dry and brittle. This recipe from Alice Medrich is soft and chewy, and will remain that way for a few days. Enjoy with coffee, tea, ice cream, or nothing at all — these cookies work in every situation.
7. Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies with Maple and Olive Oil
These cookies can be eaten at any time of day, but are especially good at breakfast. Maple syrup, olive oil, and minimal effort make these chocolate chip cookies both delicious and possible at either 7 a.m. or 7 p.m.
Like many others, I've always loved the Biscoff cookies you get while flying, but I never ate, bought, or thought about them outside of an airplane. Then I found cookie butter, a sweet and creamy spread made from Biscoff (or similar style) cookies. These rolls take the warming flavors of Biscoff cookies and bake them into a gooey-sweet dessert. What could be better on a cold winter day?
Seemingly simple, this bundt cake is an example of a dessert that is greater than the sum of its parts. Make it once, and you'll likely make it every winter.
10. Sherry and Olive Oil Pound Cake
This olive oil pound cake works for dessert and breakfast, which means a world exists where you could eat only olive oil cake for twelve hours. (I like that world.)
11. Butter & Scotch's Birthday Cake
The perfect cake for your next winter birthday party. Accidentally created by Butter & Scotch bakery in Brooklyn, this cake takes the nostalgia of boxed birthday cakes from childhood and updates it with a denser texture and subtle cream cheese frosting.
12. Gingered Cranberry-Pear Pie
Pie deserves a seat at the winter dessert table, especially one with dough that is rolled out on gingersnap crumbs. This innovative pie-making-move gives you crunch and flakiness that is hard to replicate.
A self-proclaimed "adult version" of the kid-favorite classic, these cookie pies use brown butter buttercream and bourbon oatmeal cookies to somehow improve upon an already flawless concept.
14. Crème Brûlée Pie
I love crème brûlée, but the thought of doing a bain marie at home always makes me nervous. With this brilliant recipe, you skip the water bath and swap inedible ramekins for flaky pie crust.