10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House
We hosted a Holiday Party for our friends and family with a Holiday Dessert Table. Here, I am sharing the 10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House. Start your holiday baking list with these desserts that are perfect for holiday entertaining.
The Holiday Sweets Table!
We had our first annual Holiday Open House this past weekend for some friends and family! I have been wanting to do this for so many years, but we’ve never had a place that could really accommodate that many people.
I went a little overboard on the desserts, especially considering we had our first real snow that morning so several guests had to cancel! There were so many good holiday recipes I wanted to make, and I love holiday baking, so it was hard to narrow them down!
Developing a Menu
Because this party was an Open House, guests would be coming and going at their convenience. This type of party is nice in the month of December, when many of our schedules are packed, and having to be somewhere at a particular time can be difficult. Guests won’t feel bad if they have to leave to make a soccer game or even another party.
The biggest thing to consider with an Open House Holiday Party is that each dessert you serve needs to be something that easy to grab and that can be sitting out for the duration of the party. This is not the time for a baked dessert that is best served warm or a la mode. While I LOVE those types of desserts (like Warm Sticky Figgy Pudding and Pavel’s Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce), they are best reserved for a seated holiday dinner party. The best choices for an Open House are desserts that can be served at room temperature.
We served savory food at the party as well, but I’m just sharing the desserts. The two posts linked below feature my favorite holiday appetizers and snacks. Some of the desserts I served at the Open House are my favorite holiday recipes, while some are new and will be posted next week. We had such a great time and hope our guests did as well! 🙂
Savory Food Recipes Perfect for a Holiday Open House
NYE Party Snacks Ideas
Holiday Sweets and Appetizers Recipe Round Up
The 10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House
Because this Open House was just weeks before Christmas, I did not serve any of our family’s favorite Christmas Cookies that we have on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Those recipes are linked in my post on Holiday Sweets and Appetizers – Recipe Round Up. Other than a tray of your family’s favorite Christmas Cookies, here I’m listing what I consider the 10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House. This post was written before I made the Bailey’s Irish Cream Mini Cheesecakes, so I would have to add those as #11! I took those to a Holiday Party, and people loved them!
1. Chocolate Cracker Candy
My family has been making this Chocolate Cracker Candy for years. We first had it at a family friend’s house, and it quickly became a staple in our holiday celebrations. We add it to our Christmas Cookie trays. It’s also great for holiday gifting. We would often give this Chocolate Cracker Candy to teachers or our bus drivers in festive holiday tins.
You can leave it plain or add chopped nuts, sprinkles, or toasted coconut on top. Due to my nut allergy, I served it at the party with toasted coconut on top or Christmas sprinkles.
Quick Breads always remind me of the holidays. Not only are they great to give out as gifts, quick breads are, as the name suggests, quick to make, so perfect for the busy holiday season. I wanted to feature my 3 favorite quick breads at our Holiday Open House. Although they aren’t in individual portions, the breads can be sliced and served on a platter at a party. I served this Trio of Quick Breads on my 3 tiered serving platter.
2. Pumpkin Bread
While I used to view pumpkin as restricted to the pre-Thanksgiving period, I have since changed my outlook. Even the popular Christmas Song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” opens the door for pumpkin during the holidays: “later we’ll have some pumpkin pie and we’ll do some caroling.”
I took my favorite Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread recipe (adapted from the super popular Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread recipe on Allrecipes) and left out the chocolate chips. I already had several chocolate dessert options, so I wanted to keep the pumpkin bread simple. At the time, Starbuck’s was selling a “Pumpkin Loaf” that was very similar to this recipe
3. Pineapple Carrot Bread
My mom always made Pineapple Carrot Bread around Christmas. She would make it for our family but also small loaves to give out as gifts for friends and teachers. This “bread” is similar in flavor to a carrot cake, but not quite as light as a cake. It gets a crispy top on it when it bakes and is so delicious with the subtle flavor of cinnamon and the sweetness of the pineapple.
4. Poppy Seed Bread
My parents’ next door neighbor continues to bring over this Poppy Seed Bread each Christmas, and I’ve started making it myself and gifting it to people. Even if you don’t normally like poppy seeds, this bread is so good. It has a citrus glaze that is poured over the warm bread when it comes out of the oven that makes it extra moist.
5. Triple Chocolate Biscotti
I first made this Triple Chocolate Biscotti when I was in graduate school and making up lots of baked treats to send to family and give to friends. I shipped a care package holiday goodies to my sister in law, and she still talks about it. The original recipe for this biscotti had nuts, but due to my allergy, I omitted them. My aunt says this biscotti is one of her favorite Christmas treats!
I had never had biscotti before since many version contain nuts, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but I think these are so good! They can be made in advance, which is essential when throwing a party with multiple desserts. They also are easy to wrap up as a gift in a pretty package or holiday tin.
6. Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies
These homemade Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies are just so festive and pretty. They are decorated with Royal Icing and sugar pearls and sprinkled with edible cake sparkles. I also painted some with edible shimmer dust with a food grade paint brush before adding the Royal Icing.
7. Oreo Truffles
I first tried Oreo Truffles in graduate school and was immediately sold. First of all, they are delicious, and just about everyone who likes chocolate loves them. Second of all, you can decorate them for any holiday or occasion. They can be coated in dark chocolate, white chocolate, or any color candy melts or coating chocolate. Decorate them with any sprinkles, sugar pearls, or even just drizzled colored chocolate as I’ve done for some of these Holiday Oreo Truffles.
To further demonstrate how versatile these truffles are, I’ve made Football Oreo Truffles for Superbowl and White Chocolate Covered Oreo Truffles for my sister’s Bridal Shower Dessert Table. I even used golden Oreos to make Gender Reveal Oreo Truffles to reveal the sex of our first baby!
Through trial and error, I’ve discovered some tips on how to make Oreo Truffles even easier, so I’m adding those in my original Oreo Truffles post.
Hot Chocolate Bar
I wanted to have a mini make-your-own hot chocolate station. This was nothing fancy, and certainly nothing compared to some fancy hot chocolate bars I’ve seen on Pinterest, but this was a BIG hit! I put out packets of instant hot cocoa, a carafe filled with hot water, candy canes to swirl around in the hot cocoa, and these Homemade Marshmallows.
8. Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows
If you’ve never made your own marshmallows before, I urge you to try it! It’s not difficult, and Homemade Marshmallows are so soft and vastly different from the store bought kind. I never thought I liked marshmallows and never put them in hot chocolate. It turns out, I just don’t like store bought marshmallows. The homemade version slowly melts into hot chocolate unlike any purchased marshmallow. For simplicity, I cut them into cubes, but they can be cut into shapes using Christmas cookie cutters.
9. Chocolate Covered Marshmallows and Toasted Coconut & Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
I didn’t get a great photo of these, but you can see them behind these mitten cookies. I simply dip Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows in melted chocolate the way I would an Oreo Truffle. For some, I sprinkled the top with toasted coconut right after dipping, and for some I rolled them in toasted coconut to cover all sides right after dipping. The rest were coated in chocolate and left plain. I served these on platters like individual candies for guests to grab.
10. Brown Sugar and Spice Cookies with Royal Icing
These cookies are so festive and cute. The cookie base is a recipe with brown sugar rather than granulate sugar and some seasonal spices. They are decorated with Royal Icing. I had so much fun making each one unique with a different design. I used the star tip to make a fluffy cuff on some of the muffins and a small circular tip for the other designs. The star tip gives the illusion of texture on the mittens.
Beware – if you make these “Let It Snow” cookies for your Holiday Open House . . .
it just might happen:
Looking for Christmas Cookie Recipes?
These recipes are some of our family’s favorites. Some are recipes that have been handed down through generations, and some are new ones that we’ve accumulated through the years.
My Grandma’s Butter Cookies
My Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies
[Not My] Granny’s Sugar Cookies
Santa’s Whiskers Cookies
Dark Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
Chocolate Butter Spritz Cookies
Pastel Christmas Sugar Cookies
Thick and Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies
11 thoughts on “10 Best Holiday Dessert Recipes for a Holiday Open House”
Gorgeous spread, I'd be a very happy guest!
Now, this is one party I want to be invited to!!!!
Wow! What a spread! Everything looks absolutely fantastic. I'm sure all the goodies were enjoyed!
All of the goodies look so good. I love the hot cocoa station. I think when we have a place big enough to entertain people, I'll go a bit overboard too. 🙂
Will you adopt me? 🙂 Or at least invite me next time? Seriously, you are an amazing lady!
I was one of the lucky guests and enjoyed all the delicious food. Meghan has a knack of setting a beautiful table.
What a wonderful party. I miss the snow dearly!!! I have been wanting to throw a holiday party for years as well. One day it will be my turn…one day.
What a wonderful table ツ
What an absolutely beautiful spread! You outdid yourself. I want to see the other spread too, lol! Great job!!
Wow, what a spread – I can't believe you've just shown us the sweets! The hot chocolate bar is such a great idea. Can't wait to see your recap on the gingerbread cookies!
Wow–you did an fabulous job!! I don't know how I would ever decide what to go for first haha 🙂