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The Best Holiday Dessert from Every State

Celebrate the season with a decadent dessert. We found the best cookies, cakes and other tasty treats from coast to coast!

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Tender Pecan Logs Exps Lsbz18 19573 C01 19 3b 1

Alabama: Tender Pecan Logs

Folks always ask me to make these tender nutty logs. Not overly sweet, they’re just right with a steaming cup of coffee or tea. —Joyce Beck, Gadsden, Alabama
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Festive Cranberry Cake Exps Tohcom19 7617 C07 23 5b 4

Alaska: Festive Cranberry Cake

Each fall here in Alaska, an abundant crop of wild cranberries is ripe for cooking. This cake, a favorite in my family, makes good use of the harvest. What's more, since you can prepare it the night before your Thanksgiving celebration, the recipe is a real time-saver at a hectic time of year. —Gladys Wilson, Anchorage, Alaska
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Caramel Pecan Apple Pie Exps Cwon17 38553 C06 20 3b 4

Arizona: Caramel-Pecan Apple Pie

You'll love the smell in your kitchen—and the smiles on everybody's faces—when you make this scrumptious caramel apple pie recipe. It takes me back home to Virginia, to my granny's table. —Jean Castro, Phoenix, Arizona
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Arkansas: Rosettes

These traditional deep-fried favorites are crisp and delicious with a delicate, lacy look. Dipping the edges into icing helps defines the beautiful pattern. —Iola Egle, Bella Vista, Arkansas
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Pistachio Cranberry Bark Exps Sddj18 30268 B08 03 9b 9

California: Pistachio Cranberry Bark

I picked up this bark recipe at a Christmas sweets swap hosted by a woman in my Bible study group. My family, friends and I think it's just divine. Even my dad, who's not big on candy, loves it. —Susan Wacek, Pleasanton, California
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Peppermint Lava Cakes Exps Thca17 128840 A6 01 5b 1

Colorado: Peppermint Lava Cakes

It never ceases to amaze to see warm chocolate pudding ooze out of the center of this tender chocolate cake. These cakes are a showstopper on a plate! Serve lava cakes with whipped cream or ice cream. —Carolyn Crotser, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Nantucket Cranberry Tart Exps Gbhrbz17 38140 D07 13 6b 2

Connecticut: Nantucket Cranberry Tart

While everyone is enjoying a bountiful meal, this eye-catching tart can be baking to perfection in the oven. The pretty holiday dessert calls for very few ingredients, and it’s a snap to assemble. —Jackie Zack, Riverside, Connecticut
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Double Whammy Eggnog Cookies Exps Hccbz18 79876 B05 01 3b 7

Delaware: Double Whammy Eggnog Cookies

These cookies are an amazing way to use extra eggnog. They've become a new family classic. — Teresa Morris, Laurel, Delaware
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Ginger Pumpkin Pie With Streusel Exps Tcbbz18 108250 C05 04 4b 3

Ginger Pumpkin Pie with Streusel

Want to dress up ordinary pumpkin pie for the holidays? Give it a buttery, sugary streusel topping of gingersnaps and pecans.
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Georgia: Candy Cane Snowballs

I bake dozens of kinds of Christmas cookies to give to family and friends. I came up with this recipe when I had leftover candy canes. We dip the snowballs into a white candy coating, then into crushed peppermint candy. —Debby Anderson, Stockbridge, Georgia
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Hawaii: Pineapple Pie with Coconut Cream

You’ll find pineapples and coconuts everywhere in the South Pacific, so we play them up in this creamy cool pineapple pie, dolloped with coconut cream. Divine! —Karen Naihe, Kamuela, Hawaii
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Idaho: Toffee Turtle Squares

Here's an easy way to make turtle candies for a big group. These bars are very rich, so a little square will do ya. —Glenna Tooman, Boise, Idaho
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Eggnog Tres Leches Cake Exps Tohdj21 132005 B07 29 12b 3

Illinois: Eggnog Tres Leches Cake

When the holidays roll around, my family eagerly anticipates sampling this cake. Its rich eggnog flavor is delightful. —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois
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Peppermint Chip Cheesecake Exps Cmz18 24626 D10 31 4b 5

Indiana: Peppermint Chip Cheesecake

I love to make cheesecakes and frequently give them as gifts or donate them to fundraisers. This one is very popular. —Gretchen Ely, West Lafayette, Indiana
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Iowa: Reindeer Cake

Whether you turn this cake into a reindeer or decorate it with your own creative vision, it’s a three-layer stunner that will command center stage at your next holiday get-together. Embrace your baking prowess! —Lauren Knoelke, Des Moines, IA
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Kansas: Perfect Chocolate Fudge

This rich chocolate fudge is sure to delight someone you love. —Dorothy Anderson, Ottawa, Kansas
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White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Exps Hccbz18 39002 B05 01 6b 5

Kentucky: White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch

This is my favorite confection to make at Christmas. Not only is it easy, it's delicious as well. I like to fill small bags with the crunchy candy to place in gift baskets.—Nancy Shelton, Boaz, Kentucky
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Baklava Cheesecake Exps Tcbbz18 136914 C05 04 2b 3

Louisiana: Baklava Cheesecake

With sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs, my unique baklava cheesecake makes a grand display for office parties and other special events. —Aryanna Gamble, New Orleans, Louisiana
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Maine: Cranberry-Pear Apple Crisp

Maine: Cranberry-Pear Apple Crisp

With its crunchy golden topping and flavorful blend of tart cranberries and sweet apples and pears, this dessert makes a refreshing finish to heavy winter meals. —Lois Gelzer, Standish, Maine
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Butter Pound Cake Exps Hca18 37125 D02 23 3b 3

Maryland: Butter Pound Cake

Whether garnished with fresh berries and sprigs of rosemary or just served plain, this rich cake is fabulous. It bakes to a beautiful golden brown and it’s definitely a keeper! —Edgar Wright, Silver Spring, Maryland
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White Chocolate Cast Iron Tart Exps Tohrc20 251650 E06 23 14b 1

Massachusetts: Cast-Iron White Chocolate Tart

This decadent dessert is worth every calorie. If you aren’t a fan of citrus, leave out the orange flavoring and the white chocolate will shine through. —Phoebe Saad, Framingham, Massachusetts
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Peanut Butter Snowballs Exps Hca20 530 E07 09 5b 21

Michigan: Peanut Butter Snowballs

This recipe for peanut butter ball cookies is a nice change from the typical milk chocolate and peanut butter combination. I once prepared them for a bake sale at my granddaughter's school, and I've also put them in gift boxes to share with neighbors at Christmas. —Wanda Regula, Birmingham, Michigan
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Cran Apple Praline Gingerbread Exps Hbmz18 135382 E06 29 8b 7

Minnesota: Cran-Apple Praline Gingerbread

Start with a spice-rich batter poured atop apples and cranberries in a creamy caramel sauce, then invert when done baking for a topsy-turvy dessert that’s a real beauty. The old-time holiday taste will delight family and friends! —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
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Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot Cookies Exps Ucsbz17 169637 C05 24 4b 2

Mississippi: Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot Cookies

Mandelbrot in Yiddish literally means “almond bread.” The twice-baked cookie made with oil and almonds dates back to 19th century Eastern Europe. There are many variations made of different dried fruits and nuts. My chocolate chip version is more modern-American. —Kimberly Scott, Kosciusko, Mississippi
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Spiced Eggnog Pumpkin Pie Exps Gbhrbz17 115994 D07 13 2b 4

Missouri: Spiced Eggnog Pumpkin Pie

With its 10-minute prep time and lovely blend of mild eggnog flavor and spices, this is a dream dessert for a busy hostess! It’s a staple for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, my grown kids request it whenever they come to visit. —Patti Leake, Columbia, Missouri
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No Bake Cookie Butter Blossoms Exps Ucsbz17 205265 C05 24 5b 2

Montana: No-Bake Cookie Butter Blossoms

Chewy and sweet, these easy treats mix Rice Krispies, cookie spread and chocolate kisses in an unforgettable spin on an old favorite. —Jessie Sarrazin, Livingston, Montana
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Black Forest Chocolate Torte Exps Hca18 23553 C04 26 1b 7

Nebraska: Black Forest Chocolate Torte

If you’re thinking about pulling out all the stops for a dessert that says wow, look no further. This cherry-crowned beauty—stacked layers of chocolate cake and cream filling—will have everyone talking. —Doris Grotz, York, Nebraska
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Nevada: Chocolate Caramel Candy

This dazzling treat tastes like a homemade Snickers bar and has flavor beyond compare. When I entered it in a recipe contest at our harvest festival, it won five ribbons, including grand prize and the judges’ special award. —Jane Meek, Pahrump, Nevada
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New Hampshire: Cranberry-Almond Apple Pie

My grandmother made this treat every year for Christmas. It’s much better than everyday apple pie. The recipe is a family treasure. —Maxine Theriauit, Nashua, New Hampshire
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Cocoa Frosting Yule Log Exps Hca20 21846 05 28 E 2b 1

New Jersey: Cocoa Frosting Yule Log

Here is a holly-trimmed version of the traditional yule log cake that is sure to cause murmurs of appreciation. It is one of my most requested Christmas recipes.—Jane Birch, Edison, New Jersey
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Mole New Mexican Wedding Cookies Exps Thfm17 198201 C09 22 4b 3

New Mexico: Mole New Mexican Wedding Cookies

Heat and sweet is such an amazing combination. I added chili powder and chocolate chips to give a new twist to traditional Mexican cookies. They melt in your mouth, and then the spice hits you. I just love them. — Marla Clark, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Spiced Rum Fruitcake Exps Sddj19 221360 B07 19 3b 3

New York: Spiced Rum Fruitcake

This fruitcake not only can be made weeks ahead, it tastes better that way! You can substitute Brazil nuts, pecans and hazelnuts for the walnuts—or use a combination of nuts. —Jason Boor, Manchester, New York
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Grandma S Red Velvet Cake Exps Thnd16 42588 C07 27 2b 17

North Carolina: Grandma's Red Velvet Cake

It's just not Christmas at our house until this festive cake appears. This is different from other red velvet cake recipes I’ve had; the icing is as light as snow. —Kathryn Davison, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Norwegian Cookies Exps Thca19 3653 C10 16 4b 4

North Dakota: Norwegian Cookies

This recipe was passed down to me from my mother-in-law. The soft sugar cookies are a favorite
with our four children. —Karen Skowronek, Minot, North Dakota
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Gingerbread Truffles Exps Sddj19 156666 C07 18 3b 6

Ohio: Gingerbread Truffles

I never received compliments on my baking until I brought my gingerbread truffles to a party. Every Christmas, family, friends and even co-workers ask me to make these. —Angela Randjelovic, Independence, Ohio
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Spiced Pomegranate Pear Cake Exps Hca20 124359 E08 20 4b 1

Oklahoma: Spiced Pomegranate-Pear Cake

This special-occasion pomegranate cake is a delicious combination of tender cake, tart fruit and rich buttercream. It is also beautiful and stays moist for days. —Kelly Koutahi, Moore, Oklahoma
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Oregon: Contest-Winning Hazelnut Toffee

This is one of my most-asked-for recipes. It’s sweet and buttery with plenty of crunch. You could use dark, milk or even white chocolate and substitute almonds for the hazelnuts if you wish.
-Joanne Simpson
Portland, Oregon
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Chocolate Coconut Candies Exps Hcbz19 38700 B05 14 9b 5

Pennsylvania: Chocolate Coconut Candies

These coconut candy balls disappear just as fast as I put them out. They're a snap to whip up and make a beautiful presentation on any holiday cookie plate. I mound them high and sprinkle with coconut…then watch them vanish! —Mary Ann Marino, West Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Rhode Island: Silky Chocolate Pie

Chocolate makes the world go round! We have a family that loves chocolate pies, and this version with a splash of brandy is smooth as silk and oh, so special. —Kathy Hewitt, Cranston, Rhode Island
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Red Velvet Cheesecake Exps Gbhrbz18 135184 C06 20 018 3

South Carolina: Red Velvet Cheesecake

Festive and oh, so good, this cheesecake will become a fixture on your Christmas dessert menu. The red velvet filling is spiked with cocoa, topped with cream cheese frosting and baked in a chocolate cookie crumb crust. —Karen Dively, Chapin, South Carolina
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South Dakota: Easy Mini Caramel Apple Cheesecakes

Cheesecake is the ultimate comfort food, but a big slice can be too rich. These bite-sized cheesecakes topped with apples and creamy caramel dazzle the senses. —Brandie Cranshaw, Rapid City, South Dakota
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Grandma S Divinity Exps Gbdbz20 117990 B01 09 1b 2

Tennessee: Grandma’s Divinity

Every Christmas my grandmother and I made divinity, just the two of us. I still make it every year. —Anne Clayborne, Walland, Tennessee
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Pecan Cake With Cookie Butter Frosting Exps Sdon18 223814 E06 14 2b 4

Texas: Pecan Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting

My mom and I bought a jar of cookie butter to try it out, and we fell in love with it. I knew the flavor would go well with maple syrup and pecans, so I came up with this cake. I like to make a pretty design on the top of the cake with pecan halves. —Natalie Larsen, Columbia, Maryland
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Utah: Ganache-Topped Pumpkin Layer Cake

My dreamy pumpkin cake with cream cheese filling and rich chocolate ganache is perfect for any autumnal gathering. —Michelle Sorensen, Bountiful, Utah
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Maple Syrup Pie Exps Ppp18 112917 B04 06  6b 2

Vermont: Maple Syrup Pie

Folks in New Hampshire apparently appreciate maple syrup almost as much as we do in Vermont. When my husband and I took a road trip through New Hampshire, we discovered this pie at a number of diners and restaurants. We loved it so much we created our own version. —Laurie Herr, Westford, Vermont
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Frozen Peppermint Delight Exps Hplbz18 25742 C05 17 7b 5

Virginia: Frozen Peppermint Delight

If you’re looking for a dessert that’s festive, delicious and easy to make, this is the one for you. Drizzled in hot fudge sauce and loaded with pretty peppermint pieces, this almost tempting treat will have guests asking for seconds. —Pam Lancaster, Willis, Virginia
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White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies Exps Sddj17 38534 D08 05 6b 5

Washington: White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies

Friends sometimes ask me to make these for wedding receptions. For a fancier presentation, I cut the bars into triangle shapes and drizzle white chocolate over each one individually. —Erika Busz, Kent, Washington
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West Virginia: Black Forest Upside-Down Cake

The divine flavors of this simple Black Forest cake will impress your guests and leave you with many requests for the recipe! —Kimberly Campbell, Wheeling, West Virginia
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Grasshopper Cookies And Cream Cheesecake Exps Tohon19 229487 E06 12 6b 49

Wisconsin: Mint Chocolate Cheesecake

I created this mint chocolate cheesecake for our high school’s annual fundraiser. We were told that it brought a hefty price and was one of the first desserts to go! If desired, you can stir the cookie pieces into the batter instead of adding them in a layer. Keep the pieces fairly small; otherwise they have a tendency to rise to the top. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Wyoming: Freezer Pumpkin Pie

This freezer pumpkin pie is a cool twist on tradition. Gingersnaps and pecans form the delicious baked crust for the pumpkin and ice cream filling. —Vera Reid, Laramie, Wyoming

Next up, check out these spiced desserts that are perfect for the holidays.

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.

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