6 No-Bake Desserts That Will Sweeten Your Holiday Season

If you’ve got too many festive parties to attend and not enough time to bake treats for them all, there’s an easy way to ensure you don’t show up to your holiday get-togethers empty handed. Skip baking your sweets and instead opt for no-bake desserts, which require minimal preparation and no oven time. Thanks to these six no-bake treats, you can have a sweet and stress-free holiday season.

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1. No-Bake Triple Chocolate Brownies

There’s no need to stress about what to bring to your next holiday party: You can quickly whip up these rich and gooey No-Bake Triple Chocolate Brownies. Faith Durand’s recipe, which can be found in the cookbook Bakeless Sweets: Pudding, Panna Cotta, Fluff, Icebox Cake & More No-Bake Desserts, via Food 52, yields 16 small brownies.

Ingredients:

  • generous cup graham cracker crumbs, from 8 to 10 whole graham crackers
  • ½ cup finely chopped roasted hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Directions: Line an 8-inch square baking dish with two crossed strips of parchment or wax paper, letting the long ends hang over the sides of the dish. Grease lightly with butter or baking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the crackers, hazelnuts, cocoa, and salt. Pour in the milk. Pour in the melted chocolate and stir firmly to thoroughly combine, then scrape the mixture into the prepared pan.

Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and press firmly into the pan. Chill for at least 1 hour, until firm enough to cut. Lift the parchment paper to remove the brownies from the pan. Cut the brownies into small squares. They will be fudgy but quite firm. Store leftover brownies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

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2. Peppermint Fudge

Shugary Sweets uses peppermint baking chips, peppermint marshmallows, white chocolate, and candy cane pieces to create a batch of festive fudge. The best part? Once you mix your ingredients together and place them in a baking dish, you can sit back and relax while your fudge sets.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag (12 ounces) white chocolate morsels
  • 1 bag (10 ounces) peppermint crunch baking chips
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 package (16 ounces) vanilla Candiquik, melted
  • 3 cup mini peppermint marshmallows
  • 5 peppermint candy canes, broken

Directions: In a mixing bowl, add white chocolate morsels, baking chips, and marshmallow creme. Set aside. Prepare a 13-by-9-inch baking dish by lining it with parchment paper. Set aside. In medium saucepan, heat butter, heavy cream, sugar, and salt over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and continue stirring. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Pour over morsels and marshmallow creme, beating with a whisk until smooth and melted. Pour fudge into prepared baking dish. Melt vanilla Candiquik, according to package directions. Allow to cool slightly. Fold in mini marshmallows and pour over top of fudge. Immediately sprinkle with broken candy canes. Allow fudge to set, about 2 to 3 hours. Cut and serve.

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3. Rum or Bourbon Balls

AllRecipes.com’s Rum or Bourbon Balls are a quintessential holiday sweet. It only takes 10 minutes to prepare this dessert, but you will want to plan ahead — the recipe recommends storing these treats in a covered container for a week before serving; it helps blend the flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • ½ cup rum or bourbon
  • 2½ cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 chop chopped walnuts (optional)
  • ⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions: Place chocolate chips into a microwave-safe medium bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute, stir, and then continue to heat at 20-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth. Stir in sugar and corn syrup. Blend in rum. Add crushed vanilla wafers and chopped nuts. Mix until evenly distributed.

Cover and refrigerate until firm. Roll the chilled chocolate mixture into bite-size balls. Roll balls in a mixture of ground nuts and confectioners’ sugar, or just plain confectioners’ sugar. Store in a covered container for a week, to blend the flavors, before serving.

Source: iStock

4. Sweet Chocolate Log

This toothsome treat will taste as though you spent all day preparing it. Filled with honey, cocoa, orange rind, Marsala wine, and vanilla wafers, Cooking Light’s recipe will entice even the pickiest of eaters. The recipe yields 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 large pasteurized egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon Marsala wine
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind (optional)
  • 20 reduced-calorie vanilla wafers, coarsely crushed

Directions: Place sugar and egg yolk in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed for 3 minutes or until thick and pale. Beat in honey and butter. Add cocoa, ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in wine, water, orange rind (if desired), and wafers. Spoon mixture onto a sheet of wax paper using a rubber spatula. Using moist hands, shape mixture into a 6-inch log. Wrap log tightly with plastic wrap; chill at least 1 hour. Cut log into ½-inch-thick slices.

Source: iStock

5. Ginger Icebox Cupcakes

There’s no need to turn the oven on when preparing Two Peas & Their Pod’s Ginger Icebox Cupcakes. Filled with ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors, this recipe uses whipped cream and crunchy cookies to make a treat that will be a hit at any holiday party. It yields 8 cupcakes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (5.25-ounce) box ginger thins
  • Sprinkles, optional

Directions: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together on high speed until medium peaks form. Gently fold in the cinnamon and nutmeg. To assemble the cupcakes, spread about 1 tablespoon of the whipped cream on top of a ginger thin. Place another ginger thin on top of the cream to make a sandwich.

Spread more whipped cream over the thin and add another thin. Top the final ginger thin with cream. Use four wafers per cupcake and end with cream. Place cupcakes in cupcake liners or on a plate and stick in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove the cupcakes from the refrigerator and sprinkle with sprinkles, if desired.

Source: iStock

6. Pistachio Bars

Don’t be intimidated by this recipe’s long list of ingredients — Better Homes and Garden’s dish is unbelievably easy to prepare. The layered dessert consists of a graham cracker crust, rich filling, and decadent chocolate and pistachio topping. It yields 25 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups finely crushed cinnamon graham crackers
  • ½ cup finely chopped pistachio nuts
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
  • ¼ cup half-and-half, light cream, or milk
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pistachio nuts

Directions: Line a 9-by-2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of the pan; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine egg, ½ cup butter, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until butter is melted and mixture just starts to bubble. Remove from heat. Stir in crushed graham crackers and the finely chopped pistachios. Press crumb mixture onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan.

For filling, beat the ¼ cup softened butter, dry pudding mix, and half-and-half with an electric mixer on medium speed. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Carefully spread filling over crust in pan. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until firm. For topping, in a small saucepan, cook and stir chocolate and ¼ cup butter over low heat until melted. Spread topping over filling. Sprinkle with coarsely chopped pistachios. Cover and chill about 2 hours or until firm. Using the edges of the foil, lift uncut bars out of pan. Cut into bars.

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