20 Showstopping Boozy Holiday Desserts

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Jenny's Black Forest Cake on a white cake plate
Photo: misheclark

Seeking an alternative to rum-soaked fruitcake that's still plenty spirited? These holiday desserts — spiked with flavors straight out of your liquor cabinet — deliver with style. Scroll through to find rum balls, eggnog cheesecake, classic tiramisu, and more. But you'd better watch out! Everyone's going to want the recipes.

01 of 20

Chocolate Decadence Yule Log

overhead view of homemade Chocolate Decadence Yule Log decorated with holly and berries

A powdered sugar "snow"-dusted yule log is already one of the most festive holiday desserts. But add a splash of coffee liqueur to both the batter and the frosting and you have a treat that will most certainly get everyone buzzing. Featuring flavors similar to a mocha, "all I can say is 'WOW!' I made this for our Christmas Day dinner and it knocked people out! Chocolaty and creamy," says DLA IN BETHANY. "Truly decadent!"

02 of 20

Mudslide Pie

a slice of mudslide ice cream pie
Marianne Williams

Freeze! This coffee dessert is designed to be made ahead and kept on ice; ideal to cut down on day-of prep (and stress). It features a chocolate cookie crust, fudge, and a cream filling that's spiked with not one but two liqueurs—coffee and Irish cream—to complement the coffee ice cream. Garnish with whipped cream, a cherry, naturally, plus chocolate-covered espresso beans to hint at the flavors hiding inside.

Buy it: Hill Farm Gourmet Dark Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans ($24.99 for 2 pounds; amazon.com)

03 of 20

Classic Cherries Jubilee

A serving of classic cherries jubilee served over vanilla ice cream. Sauté pan of cooked cherries sit in the background.
Meredith Food Studios

"This is a great, refreshing dessert, especially after a hearty meal," says recipe contributor Wilemom. "This does have to be prepared immediately before serving but does not take a lot of time. Your guests will enjoy the blue flames when the brandy is ignited!"

04 of 20

Mini Christmas Cakes

cupcake-sized fruitcakes decorated with smooth royal icing and snowflake designs

Fruitcake might just be the original boozy holiday dessert. These single-serving cakes stand out from the fruitcake competition not only due to their (conflict-reducing) no-splicing-required format, but also for the enticing mix of dried fruits, nuts, and spices. We also love that each brandy-spiked cake allows a different "canvas" for the family to help decorate.

Buy it: Open Kitchen by Williams Sonoma Porcelain Ramekin ($13.96 for four; williams-sonoma.com)

05 of 20

Tiramisu Cheesecake

overhead view of Tiramisu Cheesecake recipe decorated with chocolate shavings and frosting rosettes

"Perfection!!! You'll swear this is something straight out of Cheesecake Factory if not better," raves a home baker of this mash-up dessert. Store-bought ladyfingers and coffee liqueur offer all the pick-me-up qualities of tiramisu, while mascarpone and cream cheese deliver decadent cheesecake vibes.

06 of 20

Canelés de Bordeaux

"These crispy French custard cakes are traditionally baked in special fluted molds, but the molds were no longer available in my local shop. So I improvised with muffin tins and the results were pretty amazing," Chef John explains. His creative muffin tin recipe variation on the classic still is made with familiar baking staples you probably already have in your kitchen (butter, egg yolks, flour, sugar, vanilla extract) in perfectly-balanced and totally-decadent quantities. Oh yes, and don't forget about ¼ cup of rum!

Buy it: Non-stick Canelé Mold Cake Pan ($17.99; amazon.com)

07 of 20

Grasshopper Cheesecake

Grasshopper Cheesecake

Inspired by the minty dessert cocktail that's popular at many nostalgic supper clubs, this refreshing cheesecake includes a scoop of tangy sour cream to balance out the sweet cookies, chocolate, and sugar in the cream cheese-based batter. Crème de menthe and chocolate liqueur team up to echo the mint-chocolate flavors in the crust, the filling, and the topping.

Buy it: Nordic Ware 9-inch Silver Springform Pan ($13.99; target.com)

08 of 20

Chocolate Rum Cake

Chocolate Rum Cake
James Alexander

Shh...it will be our little secret that this showy Bundt cake starts with boxed cake mix and instant pudding mix. Once you doctor it up with walnuts, a bit more fat, and a rum glaze, everyone will be convinced you made this 100 percent from scratch. "This is fantastic. Definitely let the glaze soak in overnight," five-star reviewer Dawn Egan recommends. "I love rum cake and this recipe was delicious! A definite keeper!"

09 of 20

Dark Guinness Brownies

overhead view of Dark Guinness® Brownies recipe baked in a 9x13 white ceramic baking dish and cut into squares
Allrecipes Magazine

"Delicate, dark, rich, and tempting brownies that no one can resist are made with what you would not expect," hints recipe creator J. Evans. Well, you'd never guess until you read the brownie recipe's name. It's Guinness beer! In addition to four (!) sources of chocolate, the brownie batter includes 10 ounces of the strong stout. The coffee and dark chocolate notes in the beer amplify the decadent dark chocolate so the finished product is, "super-sweet, super-rich fudgy brownies," according to Allrecipes member sueb.

10 of 20

Rum or Bourbon Balls

confections rolled in different coatings: chocolate sprinkles, red, white and green nonpareils, powdered sugar, and chopped nuts

"Rum Balls are a tradition in Germany during the Christmas holidays," says reviewer MOTTOS. "I usually buy them online at a German store but decided to make them myself this year. Remembering how my grandmother used to make them I took this as a basic recipe using milk chocolate. One week before making the rum balls I took a ½ cup of raisins (a must in the original rum ball), chopped them up, and soaked them in the rum for the week. If you do not like rum you can also try using amaretto. Then finished the recipe. The closest thing I found to the original thus far."

11 of 20

Jenny's Black Forest Cake

Jenny's Black Forest Cake on a white cake plate

This rich, indulgent cake takes its name from the kirschwasser (cherry liqueur) that originated in the Black Forest region of Germany and which flavors the cherry filling. "This recipe is from a friend of my mother's," says recipe contributor REB_99. "She used it for catering and has won the hearts of most who've tasted it. I've had to share this recipe with everyone who's been to one of my parties."

12 of 20

Eggnog Gingerbread Trifle

Eggnog Gingerbread Trifle
All recipes Magazine

"Combining two of the holiday season's best flavors, this dessert is easy to make and a crowd pleaser! If you are feeling fancy, you can pipe your top layer of whipped cream on the trifle. Since I normally travel with this dessert and put a lid on it, I just spread a nice thick layer on top and then sprinkle with some chopped dried cranberries and crumbled gingerbread cookies." – Jen Graham

13 of 20

Eggnog Custard

overhead view of Eggnog Custard recipe in an individual ramekin and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings
Christy Cooks

"If you like eggnog you might try this," says recipe creator shannasfour. That's one of just four ingredients — the only other item you'll need: sugar, egg, and nutmeg. For a boozy dessert, start with something spirited like this Amazingly Good Eggnog. Or discover the top five ways to spike store-bought eggnog (which generally comes alcohol-free).

14 of 20

White Chocolate Cheesecake with White Chocolate Brandy Sauce

White Chocolate Cheesecake with White Chocolate Brandy Sauce

Take a classic, creamy white chocolate cheesecake over the top with a drizzle of three-ingredient dessert sauce. Brandy, heavy cream and white chocolate melt down into a topping that's "absolutely decadent. This is my new favorite cheesecake," according to one Allrecipes member who tried it at home.

15 of 20

Brownie Pops

homemade Brownie Pops on sticks and decorated with candy sprinkles
LaDonna Langwell

Brownies are often a quick-selling bake sale feature. But these brownie-filled cake pops are for adults only! Orange liqueur in the pop filling and the chocolate coating taste a bit like those chocolate-covered oranges we remember finding stuffed inside our stockings come Christmas morning.

16 of 20

Rum Truffles

rum truffles with a silver gift box next to them

Snag a slice of chocolate cake from your local bakery or supermarket—or use this as an excuse to whip up another pan to add to your dessert spread. Either way, the crumbled cake pieces will transform into something unforgettable once you add more chocolate, cream, butter, and dark rum. "This was my first time making truffles and I have to say they tasted like a small bite of heaven," says Roxanne J.R. of these craveable chocolate truffles.

17 of 20

Classic Tiramisu

classic tiramisu
Monique J Gagnier

It does take time to assemble this stunning Italian dessert, but store-bought ladyfinger sponge cookies add a welcome shortcut. The ladyfingers are moistened with coffee liqueur before lining up to form the walls that hold in layers of more ladyfingers and fluffy, creamy mascarpone. A dusting of cocoa powder and chocolate curls add the finishing touches to this centerpiece dessert.

18 of 20

Gloria's Rum Cake

looking at a plate with four rum cakes on it

These showy mini Bundt cakes make for a lovely host gift or dinner party dessert. Semi-homemade shortcuts, including boxed yellow cake mix and instant French vanilla pudding, trim down prep time to a mere 15 minutes. Rum is featured in the spiffed-up batter and the glaze so you can "taste the yummy rum flavor without it being too powerful! Excellent cake," according to SQUEEZIECAKE.

Buy it: Wilton Non-Stick Mini Fluted Tube Pan ($14.99; amazon.com)

19 of 20

Panna Cotta with Berry Sauce

dish of panna cotta with berry compote topping

This silky smooth Italian dessert has earned a solid 5-star rating from Allrecipes home cooks, who were pleased by how easy it is to make. A touch of brandy flavors the homemade berry sauce. Recipe contributor Military Cook recommends you make the berry sauce at least an hour before serving the dessert.

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