Photograph by Clau T., National Geographic Your Shot
Read Caption
Iced holiday cookies help Santa through his Christmas eve rounds.
Photograph by Clau T., National Geographic Your Shot

11 Sugary Desserts to Make the Holidays Sweeter

We all know the holidays are a time for friends, family, and for many, faith and reflection.

But let’s not forget (as if we could) that the holidays are also about … sweets! (Best enjoyed, of course, in tandem with the other essential elements above—and washed down with eggnog.) (See The Hale and Hearty History of Eggnog.) Across the United States, gingerbread men, candy canes, and chocolate bark abound at Christmas time; even die hard dessert fans cry uncle as the cookies and cakes pile up.

But there’s more to holiday sweets than those tasty standbys. At year’s end you’ll encounter the coconut pudding cake bebinca or bibik in Goa, India; deep-fried, nutmeg-scented chin chin cookies in Nigeria and Cameroon; and buñuelos, fried fritters of various shapes and sizes, across Latin America.

And if you really want to delight your eyes as well as your sweet tooth, Europe may be your best stop. Walking past a bakery in France or Germany is a joy any time; come December and the towers of truffles, marzipan, gingerbread—not to mention whimsical bûche de Noel—can leave you positively dizzy.

If you haven’t done your holiday baking yet, it’s not too late—take a look through our syrupy-sweet Your Shot gallery of holiday desserts for a little inspiration.