The New Year’s Eve appetizers have been enjoyed, the dinner has been devoured, and now, with three hours left until midnight, dessert has some pretty big shoes — well, bellies — to fill.
Not to worry! As always, the countless guests who have whipped up memorable treats in the TODAY kitchen are here to help with dozens of desserts. Each one is different, making it easy to pick a few based on how you want the dessert course to flow, and all are so delicious, they’ve earned their place on the list for the last feast of 2022.
You want the desserts to be special enough for a snazzy end-of-year shindig but not so time-consuming you're stuck in the kitchen putting on the finishing touches when the ball starts to drop. Our best desserts are here for every type of host — from the last-minute cook who wants to whip up a gourmet-looking bark in just 20 minutes to the pastry pro who wants to try their hand at making their own tarts There’s even an easy-to-follow guide to creating a gorgeous cream puff tower. And we don’t know about you, but we’ve never served a tower of anything food-related without having guests go on about it for years to follow.
Whether the closing of 2022 calls for something rich and comforting, scooped warm from a casserole dish or a portable, chocolate-filled doughnut that’ll ensure everyone can keep dancing until this year’s worries melt into next year’s fortunes, these desserts will make New Year’s Eve the sweetest celebration. All that’ll be left to do is toast a special cocktail at midnight!
This is a super easy way to impress guests using store-bought puff pastry (no one needs to know!). The tarts are great on their own, or as part of a larger charcuterie board.
Bomboloni are Italian doughnuts, and they are as much fun to say as they are to make and eat. They are like a party in your mouth, with their gooey centers and sugary, soft dough.
This recipe is a fantastic take on two classic desserts: pumpkin pie and cheesecake. Its texture is creamy and light while still providing a cozy-spiced flavor that is perfect for fall. A crust made with gingersnaps adds a zingy, sweetness that gets enhanced by the crunchy pecan and pumpkin seed brittle topping. Finished with a maple whipped cream, it's exquisite! Preparing the cheesecake in individual portions adds elegance that's perfect for New Year's Eve.
This is Christina Tosi's ode to the Take 5 bar — one of the simplest, most salty-sweet, brilliant flavor combos — in snap form.
These cookies are dead simple to make but they taste special. You can make the dough well in advance and freeze it. Even the baked cookies freeze well. Who doesn't love a recipe that can be prepped ahead?
This cheesecake uses ricotta instead of cream cheese for a slightly more textured cake. Lemon zest and candied lemon slices provide some contrast in flavor and the crust is biscotti, not graham crackers, so it’s Italian-coffee-friendly.
The name of these nutty shortbread cookies comes from the word "polvo," which means dust in Spanish. It references the powdery sugar and crumbly texture of the cookie itself. Many know these as Mexican Wedding Cookies or even Russian Tea Cakes. It seems every country has their own version — and with good reason, for they are as easy to make as they are delicious to enjoy.
Coffee is the secret ingredient for making chocolate cake super moist and flavorful. This recipe is easy to make — and the jolt of caffeine will help keep you up until midnight to ring in the New Year.
If you want an interactive element to your party, create a cream puff bar! Provide filled cream puffs (or let guests fill their own!), a variety of melted chocolates and topping and let your friends go crazy with their own cream puff creations.
If you've never tried these little, pop-in-your-mouth chocolates filled with cookie butter, you must. And then you must make them so all your friends and family can feel as satiated as you will.
The classic combo of milk and cookies is transformed into an easy party dessert that will make everyone feel just like a kid again. You can bake mini versions of your favorite homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe or keep things simple by picking up a box from your local grocery store or bakery.
Try serving this lovely orange cake with a citrusy sparkling cocktail for a refreshing dessert-and-drink combo. And don't forget a scoop of ice cream!
These silky vanilla bean cheesecake panna cottas are just the thing to end a festive meal. They are rich and creamy, and just the right size to satisfy. Plus, they look like little votive candles on the table!
Hummingbird cake is a classic Southern dessert that's perfect for the holidays with its cream cheese frosting, pineapples, bananas and pecans. The recipe calls for dividing the batter into 12 individual Bundt cake pans, so each person gets their own cake.
Come dessert time, serving individual glasses of tiramisu is a piece of cake (well, not literally). Not only will these impress your guests, but everyone is guaranteed to get one! This recipe easily doubles and can be prepared in any 8-ounce glass, ramekin or custard cup.
Store-bought chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding mix are the secrets behind this easy cake from Valerie Bertinelli. But with its rich mascarpone-ricotta filling and luscious cocoa-mascarpone frosting, it tastes like a labor of love.
Chocolate and coconut are a match made in heaven. This recipe is easy, so decadent and just happen to be gluten-free, so you'll have a dessert that even more people can enjoy.
Sometimes a dessert needs a savory twist takes the edge off the sweetness. These lemony pecan bars have an earthy element that even non-dessert lovers won’t be able to resist.
New Year's Eve wouldn't be complete without a few options of decadent shots, right. All kid-friendly, these pie shots are sweet and creamy, and a guaranteed hit at any get-together. Plus, they’re served in shot glasses, which provides the perfect portion for everyone.
Use your microwave to prepare this molten chocolate cake for your special someone and see just how romantic things get! Chocolate truffles tucked into the batter melt and create the lava center for a decadent treat. They're easy for a dinner party, too, and a great way to ring in the New Year.
These little pies are packed with a sweet cherry and goat cheese filling and topped off with a savory salt-pepper-sugar coating. The filling is made using both frozen and dried cherries, which adds a complexity of texture and tartness.
These cookies are an ode to gingerbread, a holiday classic. The recipe uses zesty lemon for a unique twist on the flavor profile that results in a cookie that's gently crunchy on the outside with a soft, chewy center.
"These bars have been a favorite of mine since I was a kid," says Siri Daly. "They're so easy to make because the topping ideas are endless … and they are always a crowd-pleaser!"
The combination of smooth peanut butter and rich chocolate make this five-ingredient dessert incredibly decadent and irresistible to any peanut butter cup fan. It's longstanding family recipe that uses boxed cake mix as a base: as simple as it is delicious.
This recipe is a deconstruction of the Almond Joy, reassembled in the best possible way. One bite of this cake, coated in a chocolate fudge sauce and adorned in almonds, and you’ll be hooked. It's your favorite chocolate bar from childhood, all grown up.
Warm, vanilla-scented bread pudding made with Italian Christmas bread is a must-make for the holidays. While it's hearty enough to enjoy with breakfast, the sweet maple and dried fruits make this a wonderful dessert, especially when guests may be snacking on it up until midnight.
These irresistible, five-ingredient patties from New Orleans have sweet notes of creamy caramel and earthy pecans. They're not only packed with flavor but also a fascinating history — which you can read about here.
Roughly bashed salted pretzels and toasted hazelnuts are stirred into melted chocolate, then decorated with crushed freeze-dried red strawberries and green pistachios for extra color and flavor to complete this delicious treat.
These sour cherry and pistachio bars boast strong cookie, pie and cobbler vibes, all in one. While the sour cherry gives a vibrant tartness perfect for wintry gatherings, feel free to swap out with any jam you enjoy. Do not forget the coconut — that's what makes these bars truly shine!
An ode to a classic flavor combo, this pie couldn't be simpler to make. Whether it's eaten warm out of the oven or cold the next morning for breakfast, your family or friends will go crazy for it.
This berry-studded cake is festive enough for the holiday table but comes together so easily, you can mix it up anytime. Pop it in the oven as you're sitting down for dinner. If you have leftovers, no one will judge you for digging in at breakfast New Year's morning.
This is a super-simple, earthy tasting shortbread recipe that combines sweet and savory notes and smells unfathomably like a cozy fire on a cold winter night.
A good croissant is a beautiful thing, but a xuixo is for the gods. This incredible pastry, which is pronounced "choo-cho," was invented in the 1920s in the Catalonian city of Girona. The legend says that a famous acrobat fell in love with a pastry chef's daughter. They were caught in the bakery together when the pastry chef heard the acrobat sneeze ("shoo!"). The acrobat then gifted the pastry chef the recipe for xuixos ... and promised to marry his daughter. Maybe that's a stretch, but no matter what, it's an amazing creation.