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Christmas cakes, cookies and pies: The best holiday desserts to make now

From cakes and pies to yule logs and festive cookies, these confections will dazzle at your holiday dinner table.
/ Source: TODAY

'Tis the season for sweets!

Whether you're baking for a cookie swap or building a dessert spread for your upcoming holiday dinner, here are dozens of treats that will surely wow friends, family and coworkers.

TODAY Favorite

Christmas Cookies

Sugar Cookies Recipe
Grace Parisi / TODAY

1. Ultimate Sugar Cookies

Cookies, rolled and cut into holiday shapes and festively decorated are essential at the Christmas. These are fantastically delicious and easy to bake. Plus decorating them is a snap.

Gingersnap cookies with lemon sugar from Baked in Brooklyn
Brian Kennedy

2. Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar

These glorious and simple cookies are chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside and covered in a splendid lemon-scented sugar. It's also worth mentioning that you need a big mixer for this recipe. All you need is your hands, a bowl or two, and a few minutes.

RELATED: How to avoid the most common cookie mistakes

Linzer cookies by Baked bakery in Brooklyn
Brian Kennedy

3. Traditional Linzer Cookies

A holiday dessert platter without a Linzer cookie is a travesty. It's like Easter without a bunny, Halloween without a jack-o-lantern, or Valentine's Day without chocolate. In short, Linzer cookies are necessary come December. Not only are they quite beautiful — the jam windowpane feature is pure shimmery elegance — but the taste is always pleasing.

Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

4. Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

To take chocolate chip cookies to the next level, follow in the footsteps of T-Rex Cookies in Minneapolis, where they add caramel bits to the dough and finish each treat with a pinch of sea salt.

Christina Tosi's 4-Ingredient Cutout Cookies
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

5. Christina Tosi's 4-Ingredient Cutout Cookies

Butter, flour, salt and brown sugar are all you need to make these festive cookies.

Christina Tosi's Cornflake-Chocolate-Chip-Peppermint Cookies
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

6. Christina Tosi's Cornflake-Chocolate-Chip-Peppermint Cookies

Crushed candy canes add a minty flavor and chewy texture to these over-the-top cookies.

Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cookies
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

7. Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cookies

Baker Allison Carlock of The Crumbling Cookie in Fort Irwin, California adds brown sugar to her amazing butterscotch cookies for an extra layer of flavor.

Exceedingly Chocolaty Crinkles cookie recipe by Baked bakery in Brooklyn
Matt Lewis

8. Exceedingly Chocolaty Crinkles

Slightly firm on the outside, melt-in-your mouth goodness on the inside. Enough said.

Peppermint chocolate cookies by TODAY Food Club member Alice Choi
Alice Choi / Hip Foodie Mom

9. Double Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

A double dose of holiday cheer goes into these chocolate-studded cookies from Alice C. of Hip Foodie Mom. Bonus, there's peppermint extract in the dough and crushed peppermint candies in the frosting.

German Chocolate Cookies
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

10. German Chocolate Cookies

These chewy treats from Sherry's Sweets in Tooele, Utah are topped with a decadent coconut and a pecan-studded frosting.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

11. Chocolate Chip Cookies

To get these cookies perfectly crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside, baker Cailey Anne Buck of Cailey Anne Cookies in College Station, Texas pulls these out of the oven early and allows them to finish baking in the pan.

Sicilian fig cookies by TODAY Food Club member Joanie Zisk
Joanie Zisk / ZagLeft

12. Sicilian Fig Cookies

This sprinkle-covered treat is a classic Christmastime snack in Italy that Joanie Z. of ZagLeft makes year after year.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

13. Snickerdoodle Cookies

These classic cinnamon-sugar sprinkled cookies from Cookie Cart in Minneapolis have the perfect ratio of chewy to crispy texture.

Mexican wedding cookies by TODAY Food Club member The Foodie Affair
The Foodie Affair

14. Mexican Wedding Cookies

The crumbly, butter cookies by Sandra S. of The Foodie Affair are rolled in powdered sugar and resemble miniature snowballs.

White Chocolate and Peppermint Cookies
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

15. White Chocolate and Peppermint Cookies

Tom's Mom's Cookies in Harbor Springs, Michigan adds peppermint bits in addition to white chocolate chips to make a treat that's perfect for holiday cookie swaps.

Christmas cookies by TODAY Food Club member Donna S.
Donna S.

16. Auntie Anna's Christmas Cookies

The holidays wouldn't be complete without a platter of Christmas cookies. Donna S. has revived her godmother's recipe, which calls for sour cream to keep the cookies moist, plus orange juice and zest in the frosting for an extra punch of flavor.

Sugar twists by TODAY Food Club member Taylor Kiser
Taylor Kiser

17. Sugar Twists

Taylor K. of Food Faith Fitness keeps her beautiful holiday cookies healthy by using whole wheat flour and plain Greek yogurt.

RELATED: How to make and decorate the ultimate sugar cookies

Christmas Cakes

Coconut Bliss Cake, recipe by Seton Rossini
SETON ROSSINI / Sweet Envy: Deceptively Easy Desserts, Designed to Steal the Show

18. Coconut Bliss Cake

This gorgeous over-the-top coconut cake with gooey chocolate frosting is a deconstructed take on Almond Joy candy bars.

The Cherpumple is a towering six-layer dessert made with cherry pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, chocolate cake, yellow cake and spice cake
Casey Barber

19. The Cherpumple

This towering six-layer cake is made with cherry pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, chocolate cake, yellow cake and spice cake.

Gingerbread bundt cake by TODAY Food Club member Christen in the Kitchen
Christen in the Kitchen

20. Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Impress guests at holiday parties with this stunning bundt cake. Christen G. of Christen in the Kitchen adds ample doses of winter spices along with dark molasses and Guinness stout to deepen the gingerbread flavor.

Chocolate yule log by TODAY Food Club member Janette Fuschi
Janette Fuschi / Culinary Ginger

21. Yule Log

Janette F. of Culinary Ginger fashioned a gorgeous Buche de Noel by layering shattered pieces of chocolate onto a homemade Swiss roll. The finishing touch? A dusting of powdered sugar to mimic freshly-fallen snow.

Chocolate-Mint Icebox Cake
Tara Donne / Courtesy of Ice Box Cakes, Chronicle Books

22. Chocolate-Mint Icebox Cake

This seven-ingredient dessert is made from layers of thin, store-bought cookies and whipped cream. After the cake sits in the fridge for 24 hours, the cookies absorb the moisture from the whipped cream, turning it into a luscious delight.

Giada de Laurentiis's recipe for spiced apple walnut cake
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

23. Spiced Apple Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Food Network star chef Giada De Laurentiis' moist apple cake with cream cheese icing has all the flavors of classic apple pie — minus the tricky pie pastry crust!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Pamela Salzman

24. Grain-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This delicious dessert is extra moist thanks to the addition of zucchini.

Five-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake
Leigh Beisch; Getty Images

25. 5-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

This dessert makes a great holiday gift when the dry ingredients are packaged with a mug along with the recipe instructions.

Al Roker's Peanut Butter Pie

26. Peanut Butter Cake

Al Roker's double-layer cake is a peanut butter lover's dream.

Blueberry Bliss Cheesecake
Blueberry Bliss Cheesecake

27. Blueberry Bliss Cheesecake

The base of this creamy, lightened-up version of the classic creamy cheesecake is made with fat-free cream cheese and fat-free yogurt. Macerated frozen blueberries add the perfect finishing touch.

Cake Mix Coffee Cake
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

28. Cake Mix Coffee Cake

Using store-bought yellow cake mix is the the secret behind this fast and easy crowd-pleasing dish.

Christmas Pies and Tarts

29. Patti LaBelle's Sweet Potato Pie

Patti LaBelle's Sweet Potato Pie

Singer Patti LaBelle learned this pie recipe from her best friend and hairstylist, Norma Gordon Harris. This sweet potato pie has a thin layer of brown sugar on the bottom of the crust crust. This "black bottom" doesn't just add flavor, it also helps keep the filling from making the crust soggy.

Chocolate Tart
Keiko Oikawa

30. Nigella Lawson's Salted Chocolate Tart

Chocolate cookies form the base of this decadent dessert and the hint of salt is crucial since it subtly counters the richness of all the chocolate.

Grace Parisi's Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe
Grace Parisi / TODAY

31. Chocolate Pecan Pie

This treat is basically a pecan pie-brownie hybrid — if that doesn't make you swoon, we don't know what will!

Spiced Apple-Cranberry Lattice Pie
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

32. Spiced Apple-Cranberry Lattice Pie

Cranberries add tangy flavor and a gorgeous holiday color to this classic apple pie from chef Curtis Stone.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

33. Bourbon Pecan Pie with Whipped Cream

Want a little more bourbon in your life? Molasses and a splash of booze impart a subtly smoky flavor to this custardy pecan pie.

Maple Cream Pie
Casey Barber

34. Maple Cream Pie

It's got the same creamy texture as pumpkin pie but boasts the same simple stir-and-bake assembly as its even-more-famous friend.

Brownie Peanut Butter Pie

35. Brownie Bottom Peanut Butter Pie

If you've ever tired of serving the same old apple pie on Christmas, try Brandi Milloy's brownie-bottom peanut butter pie for a decadent change.

Pumpkin ice cream pie by TODAY Food Club member Maria Lichty
Maria Lichty / Two Peas & Their Pod

36. Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Don't have a ton of time to whip up dessert? This pumpkin pie from Maria L. of Two Peas & Their Pod looks ultra-fancy, but only uses five ingredients and you can easily cut down on time by using a store-bought crust.

Gluten-free pecan pie by TODAY Food Club member Tanner Brown
Tanner Brown / Mr. Housewife

37. Gluten-Free Pecan Pie

To make a gluten-free version of his mom's pecan pie, Tanner B. of Mr. Housewife swaps in almond flour, plus coconut oil, milk and sugar.

Curtis Stone's Pumpkin Pie

38. Curtis Stone's Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Because who says pumpkin pie is just for Thanksgiving? If you didn't get your fill of bright orange pie in November, try this classic version.

Muffin Tin Fruit Pies
Casey Barber

39. Muffin Tin Fruit Pies

Make these fun, four-bite pies completely from scratch with a simple pie crust that comes together easily in the food processor ... or save a few minutes with store-bought pie dough. You can use apples, blueberries, peaches or even cherries in this recipe. Any way you slice it, it's going to be delicious.

Nigella Lawson's Bitter Orange Tart

40. Nigella Lawson's Bitter Orange Tart

Crumbled gingersnap cookies form the base of this sophisticated holiday dessert.

Natalie Morales' apple galette
Vidya Rao/TODAY

41. Natalie Morales' Rustic Apple Galette

The beauty of this easy dessert is that it doesn't have to be perfect — it's rustic, after all! It's also easy to customize. You can make it with any fruit or even go for a savory version to serve for brunch. For the dough, chilled ingredients are key. It may sound crazy, but if you chill your flour in addition to the vinegar and butter prior to mixing, it's even better!

Meyer Lemon Chiffon Tart by TODAY Food Club member Debi Traub
Debi Traub / Simple Beautiful Eating

42. Meyer Lemon Chiffon Tart

Citrus season is at its peak during the winter. Debi T. of Simply Beautiful Eating turns pucker-y Meyer lemons into a light, silky pudding that sits on top of a graham cracker crust. She finishes her version of the creamy pie with blueberries, but you can swap in other seasonal fruits.

Easy Christmas Desserts

Mint Chocolate Trifle, recipe by Seton Rossini
SETON ROSSINI / Sweet Envy: Deceptively Easy Desserts, Designed to Steal the Show

43. Mint Chocolate Trifle

This decadent dessert calls for layers of mint chocolate pudding, chocolate crumbles and mint-flavored whipped cream.

Tiramisu Parfaits
Grace Parisi / TODAY

44. Tiramisu Parfaits

Come dessert time, serving individual glasses of tiramisu is a piece of cake (well, not literally). Not only will these little treats impress your guests, but everyone is guaranteed to get one!

Slow-Cooker Triple Chocolate Brownies
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

45. Slow-Cooker Triple Chocolate Brownies

If you think it's impossible to improve on the basic brownie, try this recipe. Trust us, it's a decadent must.

Nigella Lawson's recipes for chocolate chip cookie dough pots
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

46. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pots

Nigella Lawson's children reportedly love chocolate chip cookies that are gooey on the inside so her version of the classic treat is a spoonable delight. This cookie dough is baked in a little dish and then eaten with a spoon. Add a dollop of ice cream or crème fraîche, as desired.

Peppermint Fudge by TODAY Food Club member Katie Clark
Katie Clark

47. Peppermint Fudge

This easy, minty fudge has stood the test of time. The recipe, shared by Katie C. of Clarks Condensed, has been passed down in her family for three generations!

A version of this article was originally published Dec. 23, 2016.