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Desserts

Desserts

Latest Stories

Move over banana bread, this is the new banana trend

Americans love their pudding

A mouthwatering Southern dessert

Cookie, brownie and pie all in one bite!

Use the candies and make a delicious creation

Sweeten up boxed cake mix with an extra ingredient

A classic Southern dish perfect for summer

People will think you made it from scratch

Ghouls and gals, prepare for a treat

Your guests won't even know it's loaded with veggies

Calling all ice cream aficionados

A smash hit at the Halloween party!

Two classic desserts wrapped into one treat

These treats couldn’t be easier

Because there’s no wrong time for dessert


Our Official List of the Best Food Network Kitchen Desserts

Baking is an exact science. So, when it comes to desserts there’s nothing more valuable than a collection of tried-and-true recipes. Ones you can count on. Ones that have been tested, re-tested and perfected — like these ones. That’s why we’re proud to call them our "Bests" — and share them with you.

Related To:

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

The Best Chocolate Mousse

The best chocolate mousse must be perfect. It should taste rich, indulgent and not too sweet, with a texture that is both light-and-airy and silky-and-smooth. After many attempts we nailed it and made a dessert that not only exceeded our standards, it's also quite easy to pull off. Close your eyes and take a bite &mdash you'll be transported to a 4-star French restaurant.

The Best Vanilla Cake

We love the light texture that cake flour gives baked goods, but we didn't want you to buy a whole box of it. So we used a cheat &mdash all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch blocks the formation of gluten in the flour and makes the cake airy and tender. We also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, an old baker's trick, to ensure that the cake stays moist. The heavy cream keeps the frosting light and fluffy.

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

The Best Lemon Meringue Pie

It's the stuff of dreams: a classic sweet and tart dessert with a foolproof meringue topping that won't weep! We use mostly butter in our from-scratch pie dough, but add a little vegetable shortening as well &mdash we found that this combination creates a crust that is both tender and flaky.

The Best Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For our simple and iconic shortcake, we discovered a great double-stacking technique that creates super light and high biscuits that are easy to split. This makes them easy to fill without crumbling. A simple recipe like this one allows its ingredients to shine, so use the very best berries you can find.

The Best Creme Brulee

We wanted a rich and creamy custard that wasn't too sweet, so we could fully enjoy the signature crunchy layer of caramelized sugar on top. By only using egg yolks, we achieved a soft and creamy texture. We tried using milk and half-and-half but, in the end, we landed with heavy cream for its richness. Whole vanilla beans give a more intense, pure vanilla flavor that you can't get from extract. We also like seeing the vanilla seeds flecked throughout the custard.

The Best Coconut Layer Cake

Can something be impossibly light while also being incredibly rich and decadent? Apparently so. This coconut cake is majestic in its height and a beauty &mdash a flurry of tangy frosting, sweet shredded coconut and tender cake. It will truly put all other coconut cakes to shame. The bar has now been set.

The Best Lemon Bars

It's tough to top a classic lemon bar, but we've done it! We kept the tender, buttery crust and bright filling of the original, and made a few improvements. For our luscious lemon layer, we employed a unique double-cooking method. Simmering first on the stovetop like lemon curd allows us to add butter, which balances the tart and sweet elements and adds a richer, smoother texture.

The Best Tiramisu

Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. We start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione &mdash a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then we lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more .

The Best Cheesecake

We&rsquove created the cheesecake of your dreams &mdash rich, dense and creamy with a buttery, not-too-sweet graham cracker crust. Easy-to-follow instructions ensure a smooth, crack -free top every time.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

We've created the perfect brownie by employing a few tips and tricks. Using both semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder gives us the deep and complex chocolate flavor we crave. Cooking the butter until golden brown adds a toasted nuttiness, while the pop of cream provides luscious texture.

The Best Banana Pudding

This creamy banana dessert is our very favorite version, piled high with layers of just-ripe bananas, rich vanilla pudding and tender cookies. We used vanilla bean paste instead of extract in our homemade filling for a bold flavor boost and topped the pudding with swirls of freshly whipped cream. When it all comes together, it's dreamy, luscious and feeds a crowd!

The Best Peanut Brittle

This sweet and salty peanut brittle has the perfect crunch and sheen. With a little patience, you'll have a delicious brittle to serve to party guests or as an edible gift around the holidays.

The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Our sugar dough is easy to roll and cut into all shapes and sizes. The cookies hold their shape during baking and come out firm and strong, perfect for decorating. We made them with a little less sugar, so feel free to load on the icing and sprinkles. Their buttery crispness will still come through.

The Best Apple Pie

We love using a variety of apples in our pie it adds both flavor and texture and makes every bite a little different. Vodka in the pie crust makes the dough easier to work with, and since the alcohol burns off during baking, it doesn't impart any flavor. But feel free to use bourbon or apple brandy instead to complement the filling.

The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over &mdash this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for someone special. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!

The Best Peach Cobbler

In our classic southern-style peach cobbler, we layer the fruit on top of the batter before baking. In the oven, the sweet batter rises through the peaches, creating a light and airy cake-like topping. We left the peaches unpeeled, which adds a nice color and makes the recipe even easier. Serve it with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

We wanted a super peanut buttery treat but found that store-bought peanut butter made the cookies a bit gummy when we used more than 1 cup. So we ground roasted peanuts ourselves and added that to the batter for an additional boost of flavor. Honey and melted butter add richness and create a soft and chewy cookie with an irresistible crackled exterior. We topped the dough balls with raw sugar for extra crunch and a hit of sweetness that balances the salt of the peanuts.

The Best Chocolate Lava Cakes

Go ahead and indulge in these perfectly rich and dreamy chocolate lava cakes! Bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder create a luscious and balanced batter that stays molten in the center during baking.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a dessert that can be made without turning on the oven? This no-bake cheesecake is light and fluffy, thanks to the whipped cream that gets folded into the cream-cheese mixture. Have no fear &mdash it will have the signature creamy, tangy flavor of the classic.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever need. We love these for the deep rich chocolate flavor and their moist and springy interiors. It's the perfect cake base for any frosting.

The Best Banana Cake

This banana cake is delectably moist, perfectly sweet and easy to make. Dark brown sugar and sour cream add depth to the batter, and we added melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a flavor boost. Fluffy cream cheese frosting and swirls of dulce de leche will make you go back for seconds. We also upped the ante by using bananas in two ways &mdash fresh bananas are mixed into the cake while maple-candied banana chips create a crunchy topping.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you like chewy cookies? Or do you prefer cakey ones? Our oatmeal-raisin cookies can be both! For a chewy cookie, bake them right away. For a cakey cookie, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight works even better) to allow the oatmeal to hydrate.

The Best Bread Pudding

Toasting the challah adds flavor, but more importantly, it helps the cubes to soak up and hold onto more of the deliciously rich custard. And if that wasn&rsquot enough, we use not 1 but 2 vanilla beans to amp up the custard &mdash plain old extract just doesn&rsquot do it justice.

The Best Carrot Cake

Our classic carrot cake is nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and has toasted pecans both in the cake and on top. Plumped golden raisins and a full pound of carrots make it nice and moist while buttermilk lends tang and tenderness. Our homemade cream-cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness.

The Best M&M Cookies

We took our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and increased the brown sugar to make these cookies extra moist and chewy. Then we super-sized them &mdash the better to get in more of our favorite candy-coated chocolates. Save some extra candy for topping each cookie before baking. The result, cookies that look just as good as they taste!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes taste as delicious as they look (which is often not the case when it comes to vanilla cupcakes!). Mixing flour with cornstarch gives the cake a light and airy texture that stays perfectly moist with a bit of added vegetable oil. Each cupcake is topped with a swirl of creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream that&rsquos super easy to make.

The Best Crepes

Our classic crepe is versatile enough to go sweet or savory, just omit the vanilla if going the savory route. The rest time here is key the flour absorbs the milk as it sits giving you a more tender crepe and golden color.

The Best Angel Food Cake

Even though there are just a few ingredients in this simple cake, there are also a few techniques that will make or break it. First, be sure to use the correct pan &mdash an angel food cake pan &mdash and do not grease it. Additionally, superfine sugar, sifted cake flour and perfectly whipped egg whites are key components that set you up for success &mdash and set this cake apart from the rest.

The Best Key Lime Pie

A Floridian classic, this bright, creamy and tart dessert is so simple to make it will become a regular at your summer get togethers. Key lime juice is the star of this pie, adding a slightly more floral note than regular limes. But not to worry if you can't find fresh Key limes or the bottled juice &mdash you can use standard limes with equally delicious results.

The Best New York-Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake replicates all the iconic slices we have enjoyed in the Big Apple, with a dense, creamy texture and that familiar lemony tang paired with plenty of graham-cracker crust. Now you can make New York-Style Cheesecake at home and save yourself a ticket to the city.

The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms

If you're a peanut butter lover then these chewy cookies with a warm, gooey chocolate center will be sure to satisfy. This recipe makes about 4 dozen, so it's perfect for any holiday or big-batch baking.

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is not your everyday chocolate cake. It's a showstopper &mdash very tall and much more of a bakery-style cake than a cake from a box. The frosting has both melted chocolate for smoothness and cocoa for depth of flavor.

The Best Coconut Cream Pie

This old-fashioned pie is filled with rich, creamy custard, then capped with a cloud of toasted meringue and a generous sprinkling of sweet coconut flakes. It tastes as if you pulled it straight from the dessert case of your favorite diner, only better.

The Best Apple Crisp

If you just went apple picking, here's the perfect recipe to enjoy the fruits of your labor. We've included two varieties of fresh apples, plus warm spices and tangy cider. The sweet, buttery crumble topping is flavored with brown sugar and studded with nutty pecans for the ultimate easy apple dessert.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Instead of store-bought pumpkin pie spice, we like using ground cinnamon and nutmeg so we can control of the ratio between the two, opting for a healthy amount of nutmeg as it brings out the flavors in the pumpkin.

The Best Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the thin and crispy style made popular by the Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop. In our version, we've upped the brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips for an even more flavorful and decadent treat.

The Best Pecan Pie

This pie delivers plenty of classic flavors like brown sugar, vanilla and toasted nuts. We found that bourbon made a welcome addition. The alcohol bakes off leaving behind irresistible notes of smoke and caramel. Our all-butter crust perfectly balances the sweetness of the filling.

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Here's the perfect holiday cookie recipe for cut-outs and decorating. The balanced blend of warm spices and molasses adds just the right amount of seasonal flavor. A combination of butter and shortening creates a dough that rolls out easily and holds it shape during baking.

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

There's no better way to celebrate pumpkin-spice season! With swirls of pumpkin filling, caramel and a gingersnap crust, this autumnal cheesecake is a delight. We start by whipping up a classic cheesecake batter, then add pumpkin and warm spices to half the batch. Both are used to create a unique bullseye pattern. Nutty spiced seeds add crunch. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature -- this ensures that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy.

The Best Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have become the punchline of many a holiday joke, but this recipe will give the notorious seasonal gift a whole new reputation. Filled with loads of real dried fruit and nuts along with brandy, warm spices and citrus, this cake tastes like the holidays. The recipe makes two loaves so you can gift one.


Our Official List of the Best Food Network Kitchen Desserts

Baking is an exact science. So, when it comes to desserts there’s nothing more valuable than a collection of tried-and-true recipes. Ones you can count on. Ones that have been tested, re-tested and perfected — like these ones. That’s why we’re proud to call them our "Bests" — and share them with you.

Related To:

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

The Best Chocolate Mousse

The best chocolate mousse must be perfect. It should taste rich, indulgent and not too sweet, with a texture that is both light-and-airy and silky-and-smooth. After many attempts we nailed it and made a dessert that not only exceeded our standards, it's also quite easy to pull off. Close your eyes and take a bite &mdash you'll be transported to a 4-star French restaurant.

The Best Vanilla Cake

We love the light texture that cake flour gives baked goods, but we didn't want you to buy a whole box of it. So we used a cheat &mdash all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch blocks the formation of gluten in the flour and makes the cake airy and tender. We also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, an old baker's trick, to ensure that the cake stays moist. The heavy cream keeps the frosting light and fluffy.

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

The Best Lemon Meringue Pie

It's the stuff of dreams: a classic sweet and tart dessert with a foolproof meringue topping that won't weep! We use mostly butter in our from-scratch pie dough, but add a little vegetable shortening as well &mdash we found that this combination creates a crust that is both tender and flaky.

The Best Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For our simple and iconic shortcake, we discovered a great double-stacking technique that creates super light and high biscuits that are easy to split. This makes them easy to fill without crumbling. A simple recipe like this one allows its ingredients to shine, so use the very best berries you can find.

The Best Creme Brulee

We wanted a rich and creamy custard that wasn't too sweet, so we could fully enjoy the signature crunchy layer of caramelized sugar on top. By only using egg yolks, we achieved a soft and creamy texture. We tried using milk and half-and-half but, in the end, we landed with heavy cream for its richness. Whole vanilla beans give a more intense, pure vanilla flavor that you can't get from extract. We also like seeing the vanilla seeds flecked throughout the custard.

The Best Coconut Layer Cake

Can something be impossibly light while also being incredibly rich and decadent? Apparently so. This coconut cake is majestic in its height and a beauty &mdash a flurry of tangy frosting, sweet shredded coconut and tender cake. It will truly put all other coconut cakes to shame. The bar has now been set.

The Best Lemon Bars

It's tough to top a classic lemon bar, but we've done it! We kept the tender, buttery crust and bright filling of the original, and made a few improvements. For our luscious lemon layer, we employed a unique double-cooking method. Simmering first on the stovetop like lemon curd allows us to add butter, which balances the tart and sweet elements and adds a richer, smoother texture.

The Best Tiramisu

Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. We start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione &mdash a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then we lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more .

The Best Cheesecake

We&rsquove created the cheesecake of your dreams &mdash rich, dense and creamy with a buttery, not-too-sweet graham cracker crust. Easy-to-follow instructions ensure a smooth, crack -free top every time.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

We've created the perfect brownie by employing a few tips and tricks. Using both semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder gives us the deep and complex chocolate flavor we crave. Cooking the butter until golden brown adds a toasted nuttiness, while the pop of cream provides luscious texture.

The Best Banana Pudding

This creamy banana dessert is our very favorite version, piled high with layers of just-ripe bananas, rich vanilla pudding and tender cookies. We used vanilla bean paste instead of extract in our homemade filling for a bold flavor boost and topped the pudding with swirls of freshly whipped cream. When it all comes together, it's dreamy, luscious and feeds a crowd!

The Best Peanut Brittle

This sweet and salty peanut brittle has the perfect crunch and sheen. With a little patience, you'll have a delicious brittle to serve to party guests or as an edible gift around the holidays.

The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Our sugar dough is easy to roll and cut into all shapes and sizes. The cookies hold their shape during baking and come out firm and strong, perfect for decorating. We made them with a little less sugar, so feel free to load on the icing and sprinkles. Their buttery crispness will still come through.

The Best Apple Pie

We love using a variety of apples in our pie it adds both flavor and texture and makes every bite a little different. Vodka in the pie crust makes the dough easier to work with, and since the alcohol burns off during baking, it doesn't impart any flavor. But feel free to use bourbon or apple brandy instead to complement the filling.

The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over &mdash this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for someone special. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!

The Best Peach Cobbler

In our classic southern-style peach cobbler, we layer the fruit on top of the batter before baking. In the oven, the sweet batter rises through the peaches, creating a light and airy cake-like topping. We left the peaches unpeeled, which adds a nice color and makes the recipe even easier. Serve it with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

We wanted a super peanut buttery treat but found that store-bought peanut butter made the cookies a bit gummy when we used more than 1 cup. So we ground roasted peanuts ourselves and added that to the batter for an additional boost of flavor. Honey and melted butter add richness and create a soft and chewy cookie with an irresistible crackled exterior. We topped the dough balls with raw sugar for extra crunch and a hit of sweetness that balances the salt of the peanuts.

The Best Chocolate Lava Cakes

Go ahead and indulge in these perfectly rich and dreamy chocolate lava cakes! Bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder create a luscious and balanced batter that stays molten in the center during baking.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a dessert that can be made without turning on the oven? This no-bake cheesecake is light and fluffy, thanks to the whipped cream that gets folded into the cream-cheese mixture. Have no fear &mdash it will have the signature creamy, tangy flavor of the classic.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever need. We love these for the deep rich chocolate flavor and their moist and springy interiors. It's the perfect cake base for any frosting.

The Best Banana Cake

This banana cake is delectably moist, perfectly sweet and easy to make. Dark brown sugar and sour cream add depth to the batter, and we added melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a flavor boost. Fluffy cream cheese frosting and swirls of dulce de leche will make you go back for seconds. We also upped the ante by using bananas in two ways &mdash fresh bananas are mixed into the cake while maple-candied banana chips create a crunchy topping.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you like chewy cookies? Or do you prefer cakey ones? Our oatmeal-raisin cookies can be both! For a chewy cookie, bake them right away. For a cakey cookie, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight works even better) to allow the oatmeal to hydrate.

The Best Bread Pudding

Toasting the challah adds flavor, but more importantly, it helps the cubes to soak up and hold onto more of the deliciously rich custard. And if that wasn&rsquot enough, we use not 1 but 2 vanilla beans to amp up the custard &mdash plain old extract just doesn&rsquot do it justice.

The Best Carrot Cake

Our classic carrot cake is nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and has toasted pecans both in the cake and on top. Plumped golden raisins and a full pound of carrots make it nice and moist while buttermilk lends tang and tenderness. Our homemade cream-cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness.

The Best M&M Cookies

We took our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and increased the brown sugar to make these cookies extra moist and chewy. Then we super-sized them &mdash the better to get in more of our favorite candy-coated chocolates. Save some extra candy for topping each cookie before baking. The result, cookies that look just as good as they taste!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes taste as delicious as they look (which is often not the case when it comes to vanilla cupcakes!). Mixing flour with cornstarch gives the cake a light and airy texture that stays perfectly moist with a bit of added vegetable oil. Each cupcake is topped with a swirl of creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream that&rsquos super easy to make.

The Best Crepes

Our classic crepe is versatile enough to go sweet or savory, just omit the vanilla if going the savory route. The rest time here is key the flour absorbs the milk as it sits giving you a more tender crepe and golden color.

The Best Angel Food Cake

Even though there are just a few ingredients in this simple cake, there are also a few techniques that will make or break it. First, be sure to use the correct pan &mdash an angel food cake pan &mdash and do not grease it. Additionally, superfine sugar, sifted cake flour and perfectly whipped egg whites are key components that set you up for success &mdash and set this cake apart from the rest.

The Best Key Lime Pie

A Floridian classic, this bright, creamy and tart dessert is so simple to make it will become a regular at your summer get togethers. Key lime juice is the star of this pie, adding a slightly more floral note than regular limes. But not to worry if you can't find fresh Key limes or the bottled juice &mdash you can use standard limes with equally delicious results.

The Best New York-Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake replicates all the iconic slices we have enjoyed in the Big Apple, with a dense, creamy texture and that familiar lemony tang paired with plenty of graham-cracker crust. Now you can make New York-Style Cheesecake at home and save yourself a ticket to the city.

The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms

If you're a peanut butter lover then these chewy cookies with a warm, gooey chocolate center will be sure to satisfy. This recipe makes about 4 dozen, so it's perfect for any holiday or big-batch baking.

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is not your everyday chocolate cake. It's a showstopper &mdash very tall and much more of a bakery-style cake than a cake from a box. The frosting has both melted chocolate for smoothness and cocoa for depth of flavor.

The Best Coconut Cream Pie

This old-fashioned pie is filled with rich, creamy custard, then capped with a cloud of toasted meringue and a generous sprinkling of sweet coconut flakes. It tastes as if you pulled it straight from the dessert case of your favorite diner, only better.

The Best Apple Crisp

If you just went apple picking, here's the perfect recipe to enjoy the fruits of your labor. We've included two varieties of fresh apples, plus warm spices and tangy cider. The sweet, buttery crumble topping is flavored with brown sugar and studded with nutty pecans for the ultimate easy apple dessert.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Instead of store-bought pumpkin pie spice, we like using ground cinnamon and nutmeg so we can control of the ratio between the two, opting for a healthy amount of nutmeg as it brings out the flavors in the pumpkin.

The Best Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the thin and crispy style made popular by the Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop. In our version, we've upped the brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips for an even more flavorful and decadent treat.

The Best Pecan Pie

This pie delivers plenty of classic flavors like brown sugar, vanilla and toasted nuts. We found that bourbon made a welcome addition. The alcohol bakes off leaving behind irresistible notes of smoke and caramel. Our all-butter crust perfectly balances the sweetness of the filling.

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Here's the perfect holiday cookie recipe for cut-outs and decorating. The balanced blend of warm spices and molasses adds just the right amount of seasonal flavor. A combination of butter and shortening creates a dough that rolls out easily and holds it shape during baking.

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

There's no better way to celebrate pumpkin-spice season! With swirls of pumpkin filling, caramel and a gingersnap crust, this autumnal cheesecake is a delight. We start by whipping up a classic cheesecake batter, then add pumpkin and warm spices to half the batch. Both are used to create a unique bullseye pattern. Nutty spiced seeds add crunch. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature -- this ensures that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy.

The Best Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have become the punchline of many a holiday joke, but this recipe will give the notorious seasonal gift a whole new reputation. Filled with loads of real dried fruit and nuts along with brandy, warm spices and citrus, this cake tastes like the holidays. The recipe makes two loaves so you can gift one.


Our Official List of the Best Food Network Kitchen Desserts

Baking is an exact science. So, when it comes to desserts there’s nothing more valuable than a collection of tried-and-true recipes. Ones you can count on. Ones that have been tested, re-tested and perfected — like these ones. That’s why we’re proud to call them our "Bests" — and share them with you.

Related To:

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

The Best Chocolate Mousse

The best chocolate mousse must be perfect. It should taste rich, indulgent and not too sweet, with a texture that is both light-and-airy and silky-and-smooth. After many attempts we nailed it and made a dessert that not only exceeded our standards, it's also quite easy to pull off. Close your eyes and take a bite &mdash you'll be transported to a 4-star French restaurant.

The Best Vanilla Cake

We love the light texture that cake flour gives baked goods, but we didn't want you to buy a whole box of it. So we used a cheat &mdash all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch blocks the formation of gluten in the flour and makes the cake airy and tender. We also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, an old baker's trick, to ensure that the cake stays moist. The heavy cream keeps the frosting light and fluffy.

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

The Best Lemon Meringue Pie

It's the stuff of dreams: a classic sweet and tart dessert with a foolproof meringue topping that won't weep! We use mostly butter in our from-scratch pie dough, but add a little vegetable shortening as well &mdash we found that this combination creates a crust that is both tender and flaky.

The Best Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For our simple and iconic shortcake, we discovered a great double-stacking technique that creates super light and high biscuits that are easy to split. This makes them easy to fill without crumbling. A simple recipe like this one allows its ingredients to shine, so use the very best berries you can find.

The Best Creme Brulee

We wanted a rich and creamy custard that wasn't too sweet, so we could fully enjoy the signature crunchy layer of caramelized sugar on top. By only using egg yolks, we achieved a soft and creamy texture. We tried using milk and half-and-half but, in the end, we landed with heavy cream for its richness. Whole vanilla beans give a more intense, pure vanilla flavor that you can't get from extract. We also like seeing the vanilla seeds flecked throughout the custard.

The Best Coconut Layer Cake

Can something be impossibly light while also being incredibly rich and decadent? Apparently so. This coconut cake is majestic in its height and a beauty &mdash a flurry of tangy frosting, sweet shredded coconut and tender cake. It will truly put all other coconut cakes to shame. The bar has now been set.

The Best Lemon Bars

It's tough to top a classic lemon bar, but we've done it! We kept the tender, buttery crust and bright filling of the original, and made a few improvements. For our luscious lemon layer, we employed a unique double-cooking method. Simmering first on the stovetop like lemon curd allows us to add butter, which balances the tart and sweet elements and adds a richer, smoother texture.

The Best Tiramisu

Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. We start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione &mdash a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then we lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more .

The Best Cheesecake

We&rsquove created the cheesecake of your dreams &mdash rich, dense and creamy with a buttery, not-too-sweet graham cracker crust. Easy-to-follow instructions ensure a smooth, crack -free top every time.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

We've created the perfect brownie by employing a few tips and tricks. Using both semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder gives us the deep and complex chocolate flavor we crave. Cooking the butter until golden brown adds a toasted nuttiness, while the pop of cream provides luscious texture.

The Best Banana Pudding

This creamy banana dessert is our very favorite version, piled high with layers of just-ripe bananas, rich vanilla pudding and tender cookies. We used vanilla bean paste instead of extract in our homemade filling for a bold flavor boost and topped the pudding with swirls of freshly whipped cream. When it all comes together, it's dreamy, luscious and feeds a crowd!

The Best Peanut Brittle

This sweet and salty peanut brittle has the perfect crunch and sheen. With a little patience, you'll have a delicious brittle to serve to party guests or as an edible gift around the holidays.

The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Our sugar dough is easy to roll and cut into all shapes and sizes. The cookies hold their shape during baking and come out firm and strong, perfect for decorating. We made them with a little less sugar, so feel free to load on the icing and sprinkles. Their buttery crispness will still come through.

The Best Apple Pie

We love using a variety of apples in our pie it adds both flavor and texture and makes every bite a little different. Vodka in the pie crust makes the dough easier to work with, and since the alcohol burns off during baking, it doesn't impart any flavor. But feel free to use bourbon or apple brandy instead to complement the filling.

The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over &mdash this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for someone special. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!

The Best Peach Cobbler

In our classic southern-style peach cobbler, we layer the fruit on top of the batter before baking. In the oven, the sweet batter rises through the peaches, creating a light and airy cake-like topping. We left the peaches unpeeled, which adds a nice color and makes the recipe even easier. Serve it with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

We wanted a super peanut buttery treat but found that store-bought peanut butter made the cookies a bit gummy when we used more than 1 cup. So we ground roasted peanuts ourselves and added that to the batter for an additional boost of flavor. Honey and melted butter add richness and create a soft and chewy cookie with an irresistible crackled exterior. We topped the dough balls with raw sugar for extra crunch and a hit of sweetness that balances the salt of the peanuts.

The Best Chocolate Lava Cakes

Go ahead and indulge in these perfectly rich and dreamy chocolate lava cakes! Bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder create a luscious and balanced batter that stays molten in the center during baking.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a dessert that can be made without turning on the oven? This no-bake cheesecake is light and fluffy, thanks to the whipped cream that gets folded into the cream-cheese mixture. Have no fear &mdash it will have the signature creamy, tangy flavor of the classic.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever need. We love these for the deep rich chocolate flavor and their moist and springy interiors. It's the perfect cake base for any frosting.

The Best Banana Cake

This banana cake is delectably moist, perfectly sweet and easy to make. Dark brown sugar and sour cream add depth to the batter, and we added melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a flavor boost. Fluffy cream cheese frosting and swirls of dulce de leche will make you go back for seconds. We also upped the ante by using bananas in two ways &mdash fresh bananas are mixed into the cake while maple-candied banana chips create a crunchy topping.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you like chewy cookies? Or do you prefer cakey ones? Our oatmeal-raisin cookies can be both! For a chewy cookie, bake them right away. For a cakey cookie, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight works even better) to allow the oatmeal to hydrate.

The Best Bread Pudding

Toasting the challah adds flavor, but more importantly, it helps the cubes to soak up and hold onto more of the deliciously rich custard. And if that wasn&rsquot enough, we use not 1 but 2 vanilla beans to amp up the custard &mdash plain old extract just doesn&rsquot do it justice.

The Best Carrot Cake

Our classic carrot cake is nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and has toasted pecans both in the cake and on top. Plumped golden raisins and a full pound of carrots make it nice and moist while buttermilk lends tang and tenderness. Our homemade cream-cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness.

The Best M&M Cookies

We took our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and increased the brown sugar to make these cookies extra moist and chewy. Then we super-sized them &mdash the better to get in more of our favorite candy-coated chocolates. Save some extra candy for topping each cookie before baking. The result, cookies that look just as good as they taste!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes taste as delicious as they look (which is often not the case when it comes to vanilla cupcakes!). Mixing flour with cornstarch gives the cake a light and airy texture that stays perfectly moist with a bit of added vegetable oil. Each cupcake is topped with a swirl of creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream that&rsquos super easy to make.

The Best Crepes

Our classic crepe is versatile enough to go sweet or savory, just omit the vanilla if going the savory route. The rest time here is key the flour absorbs the milk as it sits giving you a more tender crepe and golden color.

The Best Angel Food Cake

Even though there are just a few ingredients in this simple cake, there are also a few techniques that will make or break it. First, be sure to use the correct pan &mdash an angel food cake pan &mdash and do not grease it. Additionally, superfine sugar, sifted cake flour and perfectly whipped egg whites are key components that set you up for success &mdash and set this cake apart from the rest.

The Best Key Lime Pie

A Floridian classic, this bright, creamy and tart dessert is so simple to make it will become a regular at your summer get togethers. Key lime juice is the star of this pie, adding a slightly more floral note than regular limes. But not to worry if you can't find fresh Key limes or the bottled juice &mdash you can use standard limes with equally delicious results.

The Best New York-Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake replicates all the iconic slices we have enjoyed in the Big Apple, with a dense, creamy texture and that familiar lemony tang paired with plenty of graham-cracker crust. Now you can make New York-Style Cheesecake at home and save yourself a ticket to the city.

The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms

If you're a peanut butter lover then these chewy cookies with a warm, gooey chocolate center will be sure to satisfy. This recipe makes about 4 dozen, so it's perfect for any holiday or big-batch baking.

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is not your everyday chocolate cake. It's a showstopper &mdash very tall and much more of a bakery-style cake than a cake from a box. The frosting has both melted chocolate for smoothness and cocoa for depth of flavor.

The Best Coconut Cream Pie

This old-fashioned pie is filled with rich, creamy custard, then capped with a cloud of toasted meringue and a generous sprinkling of sweet coconut flakes. It tastes as if you pulled it straight from the dessert case of your favorite diner, only better.

The Best Apple Crisp

If you just went apple picking, here's the perfect recipe to enjoy the fruits of your labor. We've included two varieties of fresh apples, plus warm spices and tangy cider. The sweet, buttery crumble topping is flavored with brown sugar and studded with nutty pecans for the ultimate easy apple dessert.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Instead of store-bought pumpkin pie spice, we like using ground cinnamon and nutmeg so we can control of the ratio between the two, opting for a healthy amount of nutmeg as it brings out the flavors in the pumpkin.

The Best Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the thin and crispy style made popular by the Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop. In our version, we've upped the brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips for an even more flavorful and decadent treat.

The Best Pecan Pie

This pie delivers plenty of classic flavors like brown sugar, vanilla and toasted nuts. We found that bourbon made a welcome addition. The alcohol bakes off leaving behind irresistible notes of smoke and caramel. Our all-butter crust perfectly balances the sweetness of the filling.

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Here's the perfect holiday cookie recipe for cut-outs and decorating. The balanced blend of warm spices and molasses adds just the right amount of seasonal flavor. A combination of butter and shortening creates a dough that rolls out easily and holds it shape during baking.

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

There's no better way to celebrate pumpkin-spice season! With swirls of pumpkin filling, caramel and a gingersnap crust, this autumnal cheesecake is a delight. We start by whipping up a classic cheesecake batter, then add pumpkin and warm spices to half the batch. Both are used to create a unique bullseye pattern. Nutty spiced seeds add crunch. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature -- this ensures that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy.

The Best Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have become the punchline of many a holiday joke, but this recipe will give the notorious seasonal gift a whole new reputation. Filled with loads of real dried fruit and nuts along with brandy, warm spices and citrus, this cake tastes like the holidays. The recipe makes two loaves so you can gift one.


Our Official List of the Best Food Network Kitchen Desserts

Baking is an exact science. So, when it comes to desserts there’s nothing more valuable than a collection of tried-and-true recipes. Ones you can count on. Ones that have been tested, re-tested and perfected — like these ones. That’s why we’re proud to call them our "Bests" — and share them with you.

Related To:

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

The Best Chocolate Mousse

The best chocolate mousse must be perfect. It should taste rich, indulgent and not too sweet, with a texture that is both light-and-airy and silky-and-smooth. After many attempts we nailed it and made a dessert that not only exceeded our standards, it's also quite easy to pull off. Close your eyes and take a bite &mdash you'll be transported to a 4-star French restaurant.

The Best Vanilla Cake

We love the light texture that cake flour gives baked goods, but we didn't want you to buy a whole box of it. So we used a cheat &mdash all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch blocks the formation of gluten in the flour and makes the cake airy and tender. We also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, an old baker's trick, to ensure that the cake stays moist. The heavy cream keeps the frosting light and fluffy.

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

The Best Lemon Meringue Pie

It's the stuff of dreams: a classic sweet and tart dessert with a foolproof meringue topping that won't weep! We use mostly butter in our from-scratch pie dough, but add a little vegetable shortening as well &mdash we found that this combination creates a crust that is both tender and flaky.

The Best Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For our simple and iconic shortcake, we discovered a great double-stacking technique that creates super light and high biscuits that are easy to split. This makes them easy to fill without crumbling. A simple recipe like this one allows its ingredients to shine, so use the very best berries you can find.

The Best Creme Brulee

We wanted a rich and creamy custard that wasn't too sweet, so we could fully enjoy the signature crunchy layer of caramelized sugar on top. By only using egg yolks, we achieved a soft and creamy texture. We tried using milk and half-and-half but, in the end, we landed with heavy cream for its richness. Whole vanilla beans give a more intense, pure vanilla flavor that you can't get from extract. We also like seeing the vanilla seeds flecked throughout the custard.

The Best Coconut Layer Cake

Can something be impossibly light while also being incredibly rich and decadent? Apparently so. This coconut cake is majestic in its height and a beauty &mdash a flurry of tangy frosting, sweet shredded coconut and tender cake. It will truly put all other coconut cakes to shame. The bar has now been set.

The Best Lemon Bars

It's tough to top a classic lemon bar, but we've done it! We kept the tender, buttery crust and bright filling of the original, and made a few improvements. For our luscious lemon layer, we employed a unique double-cooking method. Simmering first on the stovetop like lemon curd allows us to add butter, which balances the tart and sweet elements and adds a richer, smoother texture.

The Best Tiramisu

Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. We start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione &mdash a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then we lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more .

The Best Cheesecake

We&rsquove created the cheesecake of your dreams &mdash rich, dense and creamy with a buttery, not-too-sweet graham cracker crust. Easy-to-follow instructions ensure a smooth, crack -free top every time.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

We've created the perfect brownie by employing a few tips and tricks. Using both semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder gives us the deep and complex chocolate flavor we crave. Cooking the butter until golden brown adds a toasted nuttiness, while the pop of cream provides luscious texture.

The Best Banana Pudding

This creamy banana dessert is our very favorite version, piled high with layers of just-ripe bananas, rich vanilla pudding and tender cookies. We used vanilla bean paste instead of extract in our homemade filling for a bold flavor boost and topped the pudding with swirls of freshly whipped cream. When it all comes together, it's dreamy, luscious and feeds a crowd!

The Best Peanut Brittle

This sweet and salty peanut brittle has the perfect crunch and sheen. With a little patience, you'll have a delicious brittle to serve to party guests or as an edible gift around the holidays.

The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Our sugar dough is easy to roll and cut into all shapes and sizes. The cookies hold their shape during baking and come out firm and strong, perfect for decorating. We made them with a little less sugar, so feel free to load on the icing and sprinkles. Their buttery crispness will still come through.

The Best Apple Pie

We love using a variety of apples in our pie it adds both flavor and texture and makes every bite a little different. Vodka in the pie crust makes the dough easier to work with, and since the alcohol burns off during baking, it doesn't impart any flavor. But feel free to use bourbon or apple brandy instead to complement the filling.

The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over &mdash this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for someone special. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!

The Best Peach Cobbler

In our classic southern-style peach cobbler, we layer the fruit on top of the batter before baking. In the oven, the sweet batter rises through the peaches, creating a light and airy cake-like topping. We left the peaches unpeeled, which adds a nice color and makes the recipe even easier. Serve it with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

We wanted a super peanut buttery treat but found that store-bought peanut butter made the cookies a bit gummy when we used more than 1 cup. So we ground roasted peanuts ourselves and added that to the batter for an additional boost of flavor. Honey and melted butter add richness and create a soft and chewy cookie with an irresistible crackled exterior. We topped the dough balls with raw sugar for extra crunch and a hit of sweetness that balances the salt of the peanuts.

The Best Chocolate Lava Cakes

Go ahead and indulge in these perfectly rich and dreamy chocolate lava cakes! Bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder create a luscious and balanced batter that stays molten in the center during baking.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a dessert that can be made without turning on the oven? This no-bake cheesecake is light and fluffy, thanks to the whipped cream that gets folded into the cream-cheese mixture. Have no fear &mdash it will have the signature creamy, tangy flavor of the classic.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever need. We love these for the deep rich chocolate flavor and their moist and springy interiors. It's the perfect cake base for any frosting.

The Best Banana Cake

This banana cake is delectably moist, perfectly sweet and easy to make. Dark brown sugar and sour cream add depth to the batter, and we added melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a flavor boost. Fluffy cream cheese frosting and swirls of dulce de leche will make you go back for seconds. We also upped the ante by using bananas in two ways &mdash fresh bananas are mixed into the cake while maple-candied banana chips create a crunchy topping.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you like chewy cookies? Or do you prefer cakey ones? Our oatmeal-raisin cookies can be both! For a chewy cookie, bake them right away. For a cakey cookie, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight works even better) to allow the oatmeal to hydrate.

The Best Bread Pudding

Toasting the challah adds flavor, but more importantly, it helps the cubes to soak up and hold onto more of the deliciously rich custard. And if that wasn&rsquot enough, we use not 1 but 2 vanilla beans to amp up the custard &mdash plain old extract just doesn&rsquot do it justice.

The Best Carrot Cake

Our classic carrot cake is nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and has toasted pecans both in the cake and on top. Plumped golden raisins and a full pound of carrots make it nice and moist while buttermilk lends tang and tenderness. Our homemade cream-cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness.

The Best M&M Cookies

We took our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and increased the brown sugar to make these cookies extra moist and chewy. Then we super-sized them &mdash the better to get in more of our favorite candy-coated chocolates. Save some extra candy for topping each cookie before baking. The result, cookies that look just as good as they taste!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes taste as delicious as they look (which is often not the case when it comes to vanilla cupcakes!). Mixing flour with cornstarch gives the cake a light and airy texture that stays perfectly moist with a bit of added vegetable oil. Each cupcake is topped with a swirl of creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream that&rsquos super easy to make.

The Best Crepes

Our classic crepe is versatile enough to go sweet or savory, just omit the vanilla if going the savory route. The rest time here is key the flour absorbs the milk as it sits giving you a more tender crepe and golden color.

The Best Angel Food Cake

Even though there are just a few ingredients in this simple cake, there are also a few techniques that will make or break it. First, be sure to use the correct pan &mdash an angel food cake pan &mdash and do not grease it. Additionally, superfine sugar, sifted cake flour and perfectly whipped egg whites are key components that set you up for success &mdash and set this cake apart from the rest.

The Best Key Lime Pie

A Floridian classic, this bright, creamy and tart dessert is so simple to make it will become a regular at your summer get togethers. Key lime juice is the star of this pie, adding a slightly more floral note than regular limes. But not to worry if you can't find fresh Key limes or the bottled juice &mdash you can use standard limes with equally delicious results.

The Best New York-Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake replicates all the iconic slices we have enjoyed in the Big Apple, with a dense, creamy texture and that familiar lemony tang paired with plenty of graham-cracker crust. Now you can make New York-Style Cheesecake at home and save yourself a ticket to the city.

The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms

If you're a peanut butter lover then these chewy cookies with a warm, gooey chocolate center will be sure to satisfy. This recipe makes about 4 dozen, so it's perfect for any holiday or big-batch baking.

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is not your everyday chocolate cake. It's a showstopper &mdash very tall and much more of a bakery-style cake than a cake from a box. The frosting has both melted chocolate for smoothness and cocoa for depth of flavor.

The Best Coconut Cream Pie

This old-fashioned pie is filled with rich, creamy custard, then capped with a cloud of toasted meringue and a generous sprinkling of sweet coconut flakes. It tastes as if you pulled it straight from the dessert case of your favorite diner, only better.

The Best Apple Crisp

If you just went apple picking, here's the perfect recipe to enjoy the fruits of your labor. We've included two varieties of fresh apples, plus warm spices and tangy cider. The sweet, buttery crumble topping is flavored with brown sugar and studded with nutty pecans for the ultimate easy apple dessert.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Instead of store-bought pumpkin pie spice, we like using ground cinnamon and nutmeg so we can control of the ratio between the two, opting for a healthy amount of nutmeg as it brings out the flavors in the pumpkin.

The Best Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the thin and crispy style made popular by the Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop. In our version, we've upped the brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips for an even more flavorful and decadent treat.

The Best Pecan Pie

This pie delivers plenty of classic flavors like brown sugar, vanilla and toasted nuts. We found that bourbon made a welcome addition. The alcohol bakes off leaving behind irresistible notes of smoke and caramel. Our all-butter crust perfectly balances the sweetness of the filling.

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Here's the perfect holiday cookie recipe for cut-outs and decorating. The balanced blend of warm spices and molasses adds just the right amount of seasonal flavor. A combination of butter and shortening creates a dough that rolls out easily and holds it shape during baking.

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

There's no better way to celebrate pumpkin-spice season! With swirls of pumpkin filling, caramel and a gingersnap crust, this autumnal cheesecake is a delight. We start by whipping up a classic cheesecake batter, then add pumpkin and warm spices to half the batch. Both are used to create a unique bullseye pattern. Nutty spiced seeds add crunch. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature -- this ensures that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy.

The Best Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have become the punchline of many a holiday joke, but this recipe will give the notorious seasonal gift a whole new reputation. Filled with loads of real dried fruit and nuts along with brandy, warm spices and citrus, this cake tastes like the holidays. The recipe makes two loaves so you can gift one.


Our Official List of the Best Food Network Kitchen Desserts

Baking is an exact science. So, when it comes to desserts there’s nothing more valuable than a collection of tried-and-true recipes. Ones you can count on. Ones that have been tested, re-tested and perfected — like these ones. That’s why we’re proud to call them our "Bests" — and share them with you.

Related To:

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

The Best Chocolate Mousse

The best chocolate mousse must be perfect. It should taste rich, indulgent and not too sweet, with a texture that is both light-and-airy and silky-and-smooth. After many attempts we nailed it and made a dessert that not only exceeded our standards, it's also quite easy to pull off. Close your eyes and take a bite &mdash you'll be transported to a 4-star French restaurant.

The Best Vanilla Cake

We love the light texture that cake flour gives baked goods, but we didn't want you to buy a whole box of it. So we used a cheat &mdash all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch blocks the formation of gluten in the flour and makes the cake airy and tender. We also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, an old baker's trick, to ensure that the cake stays moist. The heavy cream keeps the frosting light and fluffy.

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

The Best Lemon Meringue Pie

It's the stuff of dreams: a classic sweet and tart dessert with a foolproof meringue topping that won't weep! We use mostly butter in our from-scratch pie dough, but add a little vegetable shortening as well &mdash we found that this combination creates a crust that is both tender and flaky.

The Best Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For our simple and iconic shortcake, we discovered a great double-stacking technique that creates super light and high biscuits that are easy to split. This makes them easy to fill without crumbling. A simple recipe like this one allows its ingredients to shine, so use the very best berries you can find.

The Best Creme Brulee

We wanted a rich and creamy custard that wasn't too sweet, so we could fully enjoy the signature crunchy layer of caramelized sugar on top. By only using egg yolks, we achieved a soft and creamy texture. We tried using milk and half-and-half but, in the end, we landed with heavy cream for its richness. Whole vanilla beans give a more intense, pure vanilla flavor that you can't get from extract. We also like seeing the vanilla seeds flecked throughout the custard.

The Best Coconut Layer Cake

Can something be impossibly light while also being incredibly rich and decadent? Apparently so. This coconut cake is majestic in its height and a beauty &mdash a flurry of tangy frosting, sweet shredded coconut and tender cake. It will truly put all other coconut cakes to shame. The bar has now been set.

The Best Lemon Bars

It's tough to top a classic lemon bar, but we've done it! We kept the tender, buttery crust and bright filling of the original, and made a few improvements. For our luscious lemon layer, we employed a unique double-cooking method. Simmering first on the stovetop like lemon curd allows us to add butter, which balances the tart and sweet elements and adds a richer, smoother texture.

The Best Tiramisu

Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. We start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione &mdash a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then we lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more .

The Best Cheesecake

We&rsquove created the cheesecake of your dreams &mdash rich, dense and creamy with a buttery, not-too-sweet graham cracker crust. Easy-to-follow instructions ensure a smooth, crack -free top every time.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

We've created the perfect brownie by employing a few tips and tricks. Using both semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder gives us the deep and complex chocolate flavor we crave. Cooking the butter until golden brown adds a toasted nuttiness, while the pop of cream provides luscious texture.

The Best Banana Pudding

This creamy banana dessert is our very favorite version, piled high with layers of just-ripe bananas, rich vanilla pudding and tender cookies. We used vanilla bean paste instead of extract in our homemade filling for a bold flavor boost and topped the pudding with swirls of freshly whipped cream. When it all comes together, it's dreamy, luscious and feeds a crowd!

The Best Peanut Brittle

This sweet and salty peanut brittle has the perfect crunch and sheen. With a little patience, you'll have a delicious brittle to serve to party guests or as an edible gift around the holidays.

The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Our sugar dough is easy to roll and cut into all shapes and sizes. The cookies hold their shape during baking and come out firm and strong, perfect for decorating. We made them with a little less sugar, so feel free to load on the icing and sprinkles. Their buttery crispness will still come through.

The Best Apple Pie

We love using a variety of apples in our pie it adds both flavor and texture and makes every bite a little different. Vodka in the pie crust makes the dough easier to work with, and since the alcohol burns off during baking, it doesn't impart any flavor. But feel free to use bourbon or apple brandy instead to complement the filling.

The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over &mdash this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for someone special. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!

The Best Peach Cobbler

In our classic southern-style peach cobbler, we layer the fruit on top of the batter before baking. In the oven, the sweet batter rises through the peaches, creating a light and airy cake-like topping. We left the peaches unpeeled, which adds a nice color and makes the recipe even easier. Serve it with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

We wanted a super peanut buttery treat but found that store-bought peanut butter made the cookies a bit gummy when we used more than 1 cup. So we ground roasted peanuts ourselves and added that to the batter for an additional boost of flavor. Honey and melted butter add richness and create a soft and chewy cookie with an irresistible crackled exterior. We topped the dough balls with raw sugar for extra crunch and a hit of sweetness that balances the salt of the peanuts.

The Best Chocolate Lava Cakes

Go ahead and indulge in these perfectly rich and dreamy chocolate lava cakes! Bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder create a luscious and balanced batter that stays molten in the center during baking.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a dessert that can be made without turning on the oven? This no-bake cheesecake is light and fluffy, thanks to the whipped cream that gets folded into the cream-cheese mixture. Have no fear &mdash it will have the signature creamy, tangy flavor of the classic.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever need. We love these for the deep rich chocolate flavor and their moist and springy interiors. It's the perfect cake base for any frosting.

The Best Banana Cake

This banana cake is delectably moist, perfectly sweet and easy to make. Dark brown sugar and sour cream add depth to the batter, and we added melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a flavor boost. Fluffy cream cheese frosting and swirls of dulce de leche will make you go back for seconds. We also upped the ante by using bananas in two ways &mdash fresh bananas are mixed into the cake while maple-candied banana chips create a crunchy topping.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you like chewy cookies? Or do you prefer cakey ones? Our oatmeal-raisin cookies can be both! For a chewy cookie, bake them right away. For a cakey cookie, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight works even better) to allow the oatmeal to hydrate.

The Best Bread Pudding

Toasting the challah adds flavor, but more importantly, it helps the cubes to soak up and hold onto more of the deliciously rich custard. And if that wasn&rsquot enough, we use not 1 but 2 vanilla beans to amp up the custard &mdash plain old extract just doesn&rsquot do it justice.

The Best Carrot Cake

Our classic carrot cake is nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and has toasted pecans both in the cake and on top. Plumped golden raisins and a full pound of carrots make it nice and moist while buttermilk lends tang and tenderness. Our homemade cream-cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness.

The Best M&M Cookies

We took our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and increased the brown sugar to make these cookies extra moist and chewy. Then we super-sized them &mdash the better to get in more of our favorite candy-coated chocolates. Save some extra candy for topping each cookie before baking. The result, cookies that look just as good as they taste!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes taste as delicious as they look (which is often not the case when it comes to vanilla cupcakes!). Mixing flour with cornstarch gives the cake a light and airy texture that stays perfectly moist with a bit of added vegetable oil. Each cupcake is topped with a swirl of creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream that&rsquos super easy to make.

The Best Crepes

Our classic crepe is versatile enough to go sweet or savory, just omit the vanilla if going the savory route. The rest time here is key the flour absorbs the milk as it sits giving you a more tender crepe and golden color.

The Best Angel Food Cake

Even though there are just a few ingredients in this simple cake, there are also a few techniques that will make or break it. First, be sure to use the correct pan &mdash an angel food cake pan &mdash and do not grease it. Additionally, superfine sugar, sifted cake flour and perfectly whipped egg whites are key components that set you up for success &mdash and set this cake apart from the rest.

The Best Key Lime Pie

A Floridian classic, this bright, creamy and tart dessert is so simple to make it will become a regular at your summer get togethers. Key lime juice is the star of this pie, adding a slightly more floral note than regular limes. But not to worry if you can't find fresh Key limes or the bottled juice &mdash you can use standard limes with equally delicious results.

The Best New York-Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake replicates all the iconic slices we have enjoyed in the Big Apple, with a dense, creamy texture and that familiar lemony tang paired with plenty of graham-cracker crust. Now you can make New York-Style Cheesecake at home and save yourself a ticket to the city.

The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms

If you're a peanut butter lover then these chewy cookies with a warm, gooey chocolate center will be sure to satisfy. This recipe makes about 4 dozen, so it's perfect for any holiday or big-batch baking.

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is not your everyday chocolate cake. It's a showstopper &mdash very tall and much more of a bakery-style cake than a cake from a box. The frosting has both melted chocolate for smoothness and cocoa for depth of flavor.

The Best Coconut Cream Pie

This old-fashioned pie is filled with rich, creamy custard, then capped with a cloud of toasted meringue and a generous sprinkling of sweet coconut flakes. It tastes as if you pulled it straight from the dessert case of your favorite diner, only better.

The Best Apple Crisp

If you just went apple picking, here's the perfect recipe to enjoy the fruits of your labor. We've included two varieties of fresh apples, plus warm spices and tangy cider. The sweet, buttery crumble topping is flavored with brown sugar and studded with nutty pecans for the ultimate easy apple dessert.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Instead of store-bought pumpkin pie spice, we like using ground cinnamon and nutmeg so we can control of the ratio between the two, opting for a healthy amount of nutmeg as it brings out the flavors in the pumpkin.

The Best Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the thin and crispy style made popular by the Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop. In our version, we've upped the brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips for an even more flavorful and decadent treat.

The Best Pecan Pie

This pie delivers plenty of classic flavors like brown sugar, vanilla and toasted nuts. We found that bourbon made a welcome addition. The alcohol bakes off leaving behind irresistible notes of smoke and caramel. Our all-butter crust perfectly balances the sweetness of the filling.

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Here's the perfect holiday cookie recipe for cut-outs and decorating. The balanced blend of warm spices and molasses adds just the right amount of seasonal flavor. A combination of butter and shortening creates a dough that rolls out easily and holds it shape during baking.

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

There's no better way to celebrate pumpkin-spice season! With swirls of pumpkin filling, caramel and a gingersnap crust, this autumnal cheesecake is a delight. We start by whipping up a classic cheesecake batter, then add pumpkin and warm spices to half the batch. Both are used to create a unique bullseye pattern. Nutty spiced seeds add crunch. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature -- this ensures that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy.

The Best Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have become the punchline of many a holiday joke, but this recipe will give the notorious seasonal gift a whole new reputation. Filled with loads of real dried fruit and nuts along with brandy, warm spices and citrus, this cake tastes like the holidays. The recipe makes two loaves so you can gift one.


Our Official List of the Best Food Network Kitchen Desserts

Baking is an exact science. So, when it comes to desserts there’s nothing more valuable than a collection of tried-and-true recipes. Ones you can count on. Ones that have been tested, re-tested and perfected — like these ones. That’s why we’re proud to call them our "Bests" — and share them with you.

Related To:

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

The Best Chocolate Mousse

The best chocolate mousse must be perfect. It should taste rich, indulgent and not too sweet, with a texture that is both light-and-airy and silky-and-smooth. After many attempts we nailed it and made a dessert that not only exceeded our standards, it's also quite easy to pull off. Close your eyes and take a bite &mdash you'll be transported to a 4-star French restaurant.

The Best Vanilla Cake

We love the light texture that cake flour gives baked goods, but we didn't want you to buy a whole box of it. So we used a cheat &mdash all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch blocks the formation of gluten in the flour and makes the cake airy and tender. We also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, an old baker's trick, to ensure that the cake stays moist. The heavy cream keeps the frosting light and fluffy.

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

The Best Lemon Meringue Pie

It's the stuff of dreams: a classic sweet and tart dessert with a foolproof meringue topping that won't weep! We use mostly butter in our from-scratch pie dough, but add a little vegetable shortening as well &mdash we found that this combination creates a crust that is both tender and flaky.

The Best Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For our simple and iconic shortcake, we discovered a great double-stacking technique that creates super light and high biscuits that are easy to split. This makes them easy to fill without crumbling. A simple recipe like this one allows its ingredients to shine, so use the very best berries you can find.

The Best Creme Brulee

We wanted a rich and creamy custard that wasn't too sweet, so we could fully enjoy the signature crunchy layer of caramelized sugar on top. By only using egg yolks, we achieved a soft and creamy texture. We tried using milk and half-and-half but, in the end, we landed with heavy cream for its richness. Whole vanilla beans give a more intense, pure vanilla flavor that you can't get from extract. We also like seeing the vanilla seeds flecked throughout the custard.

The Best Coconut Layer Cake

Can something be impossibly light while also being incredibly rich and decadent? Apparently so. This coconut cake is majestic in its height and a beauty &mdash a flurry of tangy frosting, sweet shredded coconut and tender cake. It will truly put all other coconut cakes to shame. The bar has now been set.

The Best Lemon Bars

It's tough to top a classic lemon bar, but we've done it! We kept the tender, buttery crust and bright filling of the original, and made a few improvements. For our luscious lemon layer, we employed a unique double-cooking method. Simmering first on the stovetop like lemon curd allows us to add butter, which balances the tart and sweet elements and adds a richer, smoother texture.

The Best Tiramisu

Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. We start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione &mdash a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then we lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more .

The Best Cheesecake

We&rsquove created the cheesecake of your dreams &mdash rich, dense and creamy with a buttery, not-too-sweet graham cracker crust. Easy-to-follow instructions ensure a smooth, crack -free top every time.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

We've created the perfect brownie by employing a few tips and tricks. Using both semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder gives us the deep and complex chocolate flavor we crave. Cooking the butter until golden brown adds a toasted nuttiness, while the pop of cream provides luscious texture.

The Best Banana Pudding

This creamy banana dessert is our very favorite version, piled high with layers of just-ripe bananas, rich vanilla pudding and tender cookies. We used vanilla bean paste instead of extract in our homemade filling for a bold flavor boost and topped the pudding with swirls of freshly whipped cream. When it all comes together, it's dreamy, luscious and feeds a crowd!

The Best Peanut Brittle

This sweet and salty peanut brittle has the perfect crunch and sheen. With a little patience, you'll have a delicious brittle to serve to party guests or as an edible gift around the holidays.

The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Our sugar dough is easy to roll and cut into all shapes and sizes. The cookies hold their shape during baking and come out firm and strong, perfect for decorating. We made them with a little less sugar, so feel free to load on the icing and sprinkles. Their buttery crispness will still come through.

The Best Apple Pie

We love using a variety of apples in our pie it adds both flavor and texture and makes every bite a little different. Vodka in the pie crust makes the dough easier to work with, and since the alcohol burns off during baking, it doesn't impart any flavor. But feel free to use bourbon or apple brandy instead to complement the filling.

The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over &mdash this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for someone special. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!

The Best Peach Cobbler

In our classic southern-style peach cobbler, we layer the fruit on top of the batter before baking. In the oven, the sweet batter rises through the peaches, creating a light and airy cake-like topping. We left the peaches unpeeled, which adds a nice color and makes the recipe even easier. Serve it with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

We wanted a super peanut buttery treat but found that store-bought peanut butter made the cookies a bit gummy when we used more than 1 cup. So we ground roasted peanuts ourselves and added that to the batter for an additional boost of flavor. Honey and melted butter add richness and create a soft and chewy cookie with an irresistible crackled exterior. We topped the dough balls with raw sugar for extra crunch and a hit of sweetness that balances the salt of the peanuts.

The Best Chocolate Lava Cakes

Go ahead and indulge in these perfectly rich and dreamy chocolate lava cakes! Bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder create a luscious and balanced batter that stays molten in the center during baking.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a dessert that can be made without turning on the oven? This no-bake cheesecake is light and fluffy, thanks to the whipped cream that gets folded into the cream-cheese mixture. Have no fear &mdash it will have the signature creamy, tangy flavor of the classic.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever need. We love these for the deep rich chocolate flavor and their moist and springy interiors. It's the perfect cake base for any frosting.

The Best Banana Cake

This banana cake is delectably moist, perfectly sweet and easy to make. Dark brown sugar and sour cream add depth to the batter, and we added melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a flavor boost. Fluffy cream cheese frosting and swirls of dulce de leche will make you go back for seconds. We also upped the ante by using bananas in two ways &mdash fresh bananas are mixed into the cake while maple-candied banana chips create a crunchy topping.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you like chewy cookies? Or do you prefer cakey ones? Our oatmeal-raisin cookies can be both! For a chewy cookie, bake them right away. For a cakey cookie, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight works even better) to allow the oatmeal to hydrate.

The Best Bread Pudding

Toasting the challah adds flavor, but more importantly, it helps the cubes to soak up and hold onto more of the deliciously rich custard. And if that wasn&rsquot enough, we use not 1 but 2 vanilla beans to amp up the custard &mdash plain old extract just doesn&rsquot do it justice.

The Best Carrot Cake

Our classic carrot cake is nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and has toasted pecans both in the cake and on top. Plumped golden raisins and a full pound of carrots make it nice and moist while buttermilk lends tang and tenderness. Our homemade cream-cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness.

The Best M&M Cookies

We took our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and increased the brown sugar to make these cookies extra moist and chewy. Then we super-sized them &mdash the better to get in more of our favorite candy-coated chocolates. Save some extra candy for topping each cookie before baking. The result, cookies that look just as good as they taste!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes taste as delicious as they look (which is often not the case when it comes to vanilla cupcakes!). Mixing flour with cornstarch gives the cake a light and airy texture that stays perfectly moist with a bit of added vegetable oil. Each cupcake is topped with a swirl of creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream that&rsquos super easy to make.

The Best Crepes

Our classic crepe is versatile enough to go sweet or savory, just omit the vanilla if going the savory route. The rest time here is key the flour absorbs the milk as it sits giving you a more tender crepe and golden color.

The Best Angel Food Cake

Even though there are just a few ingredients in this simple cake, there are also a few techniques that will make or break it. First, be sure to use the correct pan &mdash an angel food cake pan &mdash and do not grease it. Additionally, superfine sugar, sifted cake flour and perfectly whipped egg whites are key components that set you up for success &mdash and set this cake apart from the rest.

The Best Key Lime Pie

A Floridian classic, this bright, creamy and tart dessert is so simple to make it will become a regular at your summer get togethers. Key lime juice is the star of this pie, adding a slightly more floral note than regular limes. But not to worry if you can't find fresh Key limes or the bottled juice &mdash you can use standard limes with equally delicious results.

The Best New York-Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake replicates all the iconic slices we have enjoyed in the Big Apple, with a dense, creamy texture and that familiar lemony tang paired with plenty of graham-cracker crust. Now you can make New York-Style Cheesecake at home and save yourself a ticket to the city.

The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms

If you're a peanut butter lover then these chewy cookies with a warm, gooey chocolate center will be sure to satisfy. This recipe makes about 4 dozen, so it's perfect for any holiday or big-batch baking.

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is not your everyday chocolate cake. It's a showstopper &mdash very tall and much more of a bakery-style cake than a cake from a box. The frosting has both melted chocolate for smoothness and cocoa for depth of flavor.

The Best Coconut Cream Pie

This old-fashioned pie is filled with rich, creamy custard, then capped with a cloud of toasted meringue and a generous sprinkling of sweet coconut flakes. It tastes as if you pulled it straight from the dessert case of your favorite diner, only better.

The Best Apple Crisp

If you just went apple picking, here's the perfect recipe to enjoy the fruits of your labor. We've included two varieties of fresh apples, plus warm spices and tangy cider. The sweet, buttery crumble topping is flavored with brown sugar and studded with nutty pecans for the ultimate easy apple dessert.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Instead of store-bought pumpkin pie spice, we like using ground cinnamon and nutmeg so we can control of the ratio between the two, opting for a healthy amount of nutmeg as it brings out the flavors in the pumpkin.

The Best Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the thin and crispy style made popular by the Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop. In our version, we've upped the brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips for an even more flavorful and decadent treat.

The Best Pecan Pie

This pie delivers plenty of classic flavors like brown sugar, vanilla and toasted nuts. We found that bourbon made a welcome addition. The alcohol bakes off leaving behind irresistible notes of smoke and caramel. Our all-butter crust perfectly balances the sweetness of the filling.

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Here's the perfect holiday cookie recipe for cut-outs and decorating. The balanced blend of warm spices and molasses adds just the right amount of seasonal flavor. A combination of butter and shortening creates a dough that rolls out easily and holds it shape during baking.

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

There's no better way to celebrate pumpkin-spice season! With swirls of pumpkin filling, caramel and a gingersnap crust, this autumnal cheesecake is a delight. We start by whipping up a classic cheesecake batter, then add pumpkin and warm spices to half the batch. Both are used to create a unique bullseye pattern. Nutty spiced seeds add crunch. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature -- this ensures that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy.

The Best Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have become the punchline of many a holiday joke, but this recipe will give the notorious seasonal gift a whole new reputation. Filled with loads of real dried fruit and nuts along with brandy, warm spices and citrus, this cake tastes like the holidays. The recipe makes two loaves so you can gift one.


Our Official List of the Best Food Network Kitchen Desserts

Baking is an exact science. So, when it comes to desserts there’s nothing more valuable than a collection of tried-and-true recipes. Ones you can count on. Ones that have been tested, re-tested and perfected — like these ones. That’s why we’re proud to call them our "Bests" — and share them with you.

Related To:

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

The Best Chocolate Mousse

The best chocolate mousse must be perfect. It should taste rich, indulgent and not too sweet, with a texture that is both light-and-airy and silky-and-smooth. After many attempts we nailed it and made a dessert that not only exceeded our standards, it's also quite easy to pull off. Close your eyes and take a bite &mdash you'll be transported to a 4-star French restaurant.

The Best Vanilla Cake

We love the light texture that cake flour gives baked goods, but we didn't want you to buy a whole box of it. So we used a cheat &mdash all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch blocks the formation of gluten in the flour and makes the cake airy and tender. We also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, an old baker's trick, to ensure that the cake stays moist. The heavy cream keeps the frosting light and fluffy.

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

The Best Lemon Meringue Pie

It's the stuff of dreams: a classic sweet and tart dessert with a foolproof meringue topping that won't weep! We use mostly butter in our from-scratch pie dough, but add a little vegetable shortening as well &mdash we found that this combination creates a crust that is both tender and flaky.

The Best Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For our simple and iconic shortcake, we discovered a great double-stacking technique that creates super light and high biscuits that are easy to split. This makes them easy to fill without crumbling. A simple recipe like this one allows its ingredients to shine, so use the very best berries you can find.

The Best Creme Brulee

We wanted a rich and creamy custard that wasn't too sweet, so we could fully enjoy the signature crunchy layer of caramelized sugar on top. By only using egg yolks, we achieved a soft and creamy texture. We tried using milk and half-and-half but, in the end, we landed with heavy cream for its richness. Whole vanilla beans give a more intense, pure vanilla flavor that you can't get from extract. We also like seeing the vanilla seeds flecked throughout the custard.

The Best Coconut Layer Cake

Can something be impossibly light while also being incredibly rich and decadent? Apparently so. This coconut cake is majestic in its height and a beauty &mdash a flurry of tangy frosting, sweet shredded coconut and tender cake. It will truly put all other coconut cakes to shame. The bar has now been set.

The Best Lemon Bars

It's tough to top a classic lemon bar, but we've done it! We kept the tender, buttery crust and bright filling of the original, and made a few improvements. For our luscious lemon layer, we employed a unique double-cooking method. Simmering first on the stovetop like lemon curd allows us to add butter, which balances the tart and sweet elements and adds a richer, smoother texture.

The Best Tiramisu

Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. We start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione &mdash a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then we lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more .

The Best Cheesecake

We&rsquove created the cheesecake of your dreams &mdash rich, dense and creamy with a buttery, not-too-sweet graham cracker crust. Easy-to-follow instructions ensure a smooth, crack -free top every time.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

We've created the perfect brownie by employing a few tips and tricks. Using both semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder gives us the deep and complex chocolate flavor we crave. Cooking the butter until golden brown adds a toasted nuttiness, while the pop of cream provides luscious texture.

The Best Banana Pudding

This creamy banana dessert is our very favorite version, piled high with layers of just-ripe bananas, rich vanilla pudding and tender cookies. We used vanilla bean paste instead of extract in our homemade filling for a bold flavor boost and topped the pudding with swirls of freshly whipped cream. When it all comes together, it's dreamy, luscious and feeds a crowd!

The Best Peanut Brittle

This sweet and salty peanut brittle has the perfect crunch and sheen. With a little patience, you'll have a delicious brittle to serve to party guests or as an edible gift around the holidays.

The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Our sugar dough is easy to roll and cut into all shapes and sizes. The cookies hold their shape during baking and come out firm and strong, perfect for decorating. We made them with a little less sugar, so feel free to load on the icing and sprinkles. Their buttery crispness will still come through.

The Best Apple Pie

We love using a variety of apples in our pie it adds both flavor and texture and makes every bite a little different. Vodka in the pie crust makes the dough easier to work with, and since the alcohol burns off during baking, it doesn't impart any flavor. But feel free to use bourbon or apple brandy instead to complement the filling.

The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over &mdash this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for someone special. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!

The Best Peach Cobbler

In our classic southern-style peach cobbler, we layer the fruit on top of the batter before baking. In the oven, the sweet batter rises through the peaches, creating a light and airy cake-like topping. We left the peaches unpeeled, which adds a nice color and makes the recipe even easier. Serve it with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

We wanted a super peanut buttery treat but found that store-bought peanut butter made the cookies a bit gummy when we used more than 1 cup. So we ground roasted peanuts ourselves and added that to the batter for an additional boost of flavor. Honey and melted butter add richness and create a soft and chewy cookie with an irresistible crackled exterior. We topped the dough balls with raw sugar for extra crunch and a hit of sweetness that balances the salt of the peanuts.

The Best Chocolate Lava Cakes

Go ahead and indulge in these perfectly rich and dreamy chocolate lava cakes! Bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder create a luscious and balanced batter that stays molten in the center during baking.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a dessert that can be made without turning on the oven? This no-bake cheesecake is light and fluffy, thanks to the whipped cream that gets folded into the cream-cheese mixture. Have no fear &mdash it will have the signature creamy, tangy flavor of the classic.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever need. We love these for the deep rich chocolate flavor and their moist and springy interiors. It's the perfect cake base for any frosting.

The Best Banana Cake

This banana cake is delectably moist, perfectly sweet and easy to make. Dark brown sugar and sour cream add depth to the batter, and we added melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a flavor boost. Fluffy cream cheese frosting and swirls of dulce de leche will make you go back for seconds. We also upped the ante by using bananas in two ways &mdash fresh bananas are mixed into the cake while maple-candied banana chips create a crunchy topping.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you like chewy cookies? Or do you prefer cakey ones? Our oatmeal-raisin cookies can be both! For a chewy cookie, bake them right away. For a cakey cookie, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight works even better) to allow the oatmeal to hydrate.

The Best Bread Pudding

Toasting the challah adds flavor, but more importantly, it helps the cubes to soak up and hold onto more of the deliciously rich custard. And if that wasn&rsquot enough, we use not 1 but 2 vanilla beans to amp up the custard &mdash plain old extract just doesn&rsquot do it justice.

The Best Carrot Cake

Our classic carrot cake is nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and has toasted pecans both in the cake and on top. Plumped golden raisins and a full pound of carrots make it nice and moist while buttermilk lends tang and tenderness. Our homemade cream-cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness.

The Best M&M Cookies

We took our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and increased the brown sugar to make these cookies extra moist and chewy. Then we super-sized them &mdash the better to get in more of our favorite candy-coated chocolates. Save some extra candy for topping each cookie before baking. The result, cookies that look just as good as they taste!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes taste as delicious as they look (which is often not the case when it comes to vanilla cupcakes!). Mixing flour with cornstarch gives the cake a light and airy texture that stays perfectly moist with a bit of added vegetable oil. Each cupcake is topped with a swirl of creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream that&rsquos super easy to make.

The Best Crepes

Our classic crepe is versatile enough to go sweet or savory, just omit the vanilla if going the savory route. The rest time here is key the flour absorbs the milk as it sits giving you a more tender crepe and golden color.

The Best Angel Food Cake

Even though there are just a few ingredients in this simple cake, there are also a few techniques that will make or break it. First, be sure to use the correct pan &mdash an angel food cake pan &mdash and do not grease it. Additionally, superfine sugar, sifted cake flour and perfectly whipped egg whites are key components that set you up for success &mdash and set this cake apart from the rest.

The Best Key Lime Pie

A Floridian classic, this bright, creamy and tart dessert is so simple to make it will become a regular at your summer get togethers. Key lime juice is the star of this pie, adding a slightly more floral note than regular limes. But not to worry if you can't find fresh Key limes or the bottled juice &mdash you can use standard limes with equally delicious results.

The Best New York-Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake replicates all the iconic slices we have enjoyed in the Big Apple, with a dense, creamy texture and that familiar lemony tang paired with plenty of graham-cracker crust. Now you can make New York-Style Cheesecake at home and save yourself a ticket to the city.

The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms

If you're a peanut butter lover then these chewy cookies with a warm, gooey chocolate center will be sure to satisfy. This recipe makes about 4 dozen, so it's perfect for any holiday or big-batch baking.

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is not your everyday chocolate cake. It's a showstopper &mdash very tall and much more of a bakery-style cake than a cake from a box. The frosting has both melted chocolate for smoothness and cocoa for depth of flavor.

The Best Coconut Cream Pie

This old-fashioned pie is filled with rich, creamy custard, then capped with a cloud of toasted meringue and a generous sprinkling of sweet coconut flakes. It tastes as if you pulled it straight from the dessert case of your favorite diner, only better.

The Best Apple Crisp

If you just went apple picking, here's the perfect recipe to enjoy the fruits of your labor. We've included two varieties of fresh apples, plus warm spices and tangy cider. The sweet, buttery crumble topping is flavored with brown sugar and studded with nutty pecans for the ultimate easy apple dessert.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Instead of store-bought pumpkin pie spice, we like using ground cinnamon and nutmeg so we can control of the ratio between the two, opting for a healthy amount of nutmeg as it brings out the flavors in the pumpkin.

The Best Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the thin and crispy style made popular by the Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop. In our version, we've upped the brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips for an even more flavorful and decadent treat.

The Best Pecan Pie

This pie delivers plenty of classic flavors like brown sugar, vanilla and toasted nuts. We found that bourbon made a welcome addition. The alcohol bakes off leaving behind irresistible notes of smoke and caramel. Our all-butter crust perfectly balances the sweetness of the filling.

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Here's the perfect holiday cookie recipe for cut-outs and decorating. The balanced blend of warm spices and molasses adds just the right amount of seasonal flavor. A combination of butter and shortening creates a dough that rolls out easily and holds it shape during baking.

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

There's no better way to celebrate pumpkin-spice season! With swirls of pumpkin filling, caramel and a gingersnap crust, this autumnal cheesecake is a delight. We start by whipping up a classic cheesecake batter, then add pumpkin and warm spices to half the batch. Both are used to create a unique bullseye pattern. Nutty spiced seeds add crunch. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature -- this ensures that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy.

The Best Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have become the punchline of many a holiday joke, but this recipe will give the notorious seasonal gift a whole new reputation. Filled with loads of real dried fruit and nuts along with brandy, warm spices and citrus, this cake tastes like the holidays. The recipe makes two loaves so you can gift one.


Our Official List of the Best Food Network Kitchen Desserts

Baking is an exact science. So, when it comes to desserts there’s nothing more valuable than a collection of tried-and-true recipes. Ones you can count on. Ones that have been tested, re-tested and perfected — like these ones. That’s why we’re proud to call them our "Bests" — and share them with you.

Related To:

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

The Best Chocolate Mousse

The best chocolate mousse must be perfect. It should taste rich, indulgent and not too sweet, with a texture that is both light-and-airy and silky-and-smooth. After many attempts we nailed it and made a dessert that not only exceeded our standards, it's also quite easy to pull off. Close your eyes and take a bite &mdash you'll be transported to a 4-star French restaurant.

The Best Vanilla Cake

We love the light texture that cake flour gives baked goods, but we didn't want you to buy a whole box of it. So we used a cheat &mdash all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch blocks the formation of gluten in the flour and makes the cake airy and tender. We also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, an old baker's trick, to ensure that the cake stays moist. The heavy cream keeps the frosting light and fluffy.

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

The Best Lemon Meringue Pie

It's the stuff of dreams: a classic sweet and tart dessert with a foolproof meringue topping that won't weep! We use mostly butter in our from-scratch pie dough, but add a little vegetable shortening as well &mdash we found that this combination creates a crust that is both tender and flaky.

The Best Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For our simple and iconic shortcake, we discovered a great double-stacking technique that creates super light and high biscuits that are easy to split. This makes them easy to fill without crumbling. A simple recipe like this one allows its ingredients to shine, so use the very best berries you can find.

The Best Creme Brulee

We wanted a rich and creamy custard that wasn't too sweet, so we could fully enjoy the signature crunchy layer of caramelized sugar on top. By only using egg yolks, we achieved a soft and creamy texture. We tried using milk and half-and-half but, in the end, we landed with heavy cream for its richness. Whole vanilla beans give a more intense, pure vanilla flavor that you can't get from extract. We also like seeing the vanilla seeds flecked throughout the custard.

The Best Coconut Layer Cake

Can something be impossibly light while also being incredibly rich and decadent? Apparently so. This coconut cake is majestic in its height and a beauty &mdash a flurry of tangy frosting, sweet shredded coconut and tender cake. It will truly put all other coconut cakes to shame. The bar has now been set.

The Best Lemon Bars

It's tough to top a classic lemon bar, but we've done it! We kept the tender, buttery crust and bright filling of the original, and made a few improvements. For our luscious lemon layer, we employed a unique double-cooking method. Simmering first on the stovetop like lemon curd allows us to add butter, which balances the tart and sweet elements and adds a richer, smoother texture.

The Best Tiramisu

Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. We start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione &mdash a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then we lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more .

The Best Cheesecake

We&rsquove created the cheesecake of your dreams &mdash rich, dense and creamy with a buttery, not-too-sweet graham cracker crust. Easy-to-follow instructions ensure a smooth, crack -free top every time.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

We've created the perfect brownie by employing a few tips and tricks. Using both semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder gives us the deep and complex chocolate flavor we crave. Cooking the butter until golden brown adds a toasted nuttiness, while the pop of cream provides luscious texture.

The Best Banana Pudding

This creamy banana dessert is our very favorite version, piled high with layers of just-ripe bananas, rich vanilla pudding and tender cookies. We used vanilla bean paste instead of extract in our homemade filling for a bold flavor boost and topped the pudding with swirls of freshly whipped cream. When it all comes together, it's dreamy, luscious and feeds a crowd!

The Best Peanut Brittle

This sweet and salty peanut brittle has the perfect crunch and sheen. With a little patience, you'll have a delicious brittle to serve to party guests or as an edible gift around the holidays.

The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Our sugar dough is easy to roll and cut into all shapes and sizes. The cookies hold their shape during baking and come out firm and strong, perfect for decorating. We made them with a little less sugar, so feel free to load on the icing and sprinkles. Their buttery crispness will still come through.

The Best Apple Pie

We love using a variety of apples in our pie it adds both flavor and texture and makes every bite a little different. Vodka in the pie crust makes the dough easier to work with, and since the alcohol burns off during baking, it doesn't impart any flavor. But feel free to use bourbon or apple brandy instead to complement the filling.

The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over &mdash this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for someone special. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!

The Best Peach Cobbler

In our classic southern-style peach cobbler, we layer the fruit on top of the batter before baking. In the oven, the sweet batter rises through the peaches, creating a light and airy cake-like topping. We left the peaches unpeeled, which adds a nice color and makes the recipe even easier. Serve it with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

We wanted a super peanut buttery treat but found that store-bought peanut butter made the cookies a bit gummy when we used more than 1 cup. So we ground roasted peanuts ourselves and added that to the batter for an additional boost of flavor. Honey and melted butter add richness and create a soft and chewy cookie with an irresistible crackled exterior. We topped the dough balls with raw sugar for extra crunch and a hit of sweetness that balances the salt of the peanuts.

The Best Chocolate Lava Cakes

Go ahead and indulge in these perfectly rich and dreamy chocolate lava cakes! Bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder create a luscious and balanced batter that stays molten in the center during baking.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a dessert that can be made without turning on the oven? This no-bake cheesecake is light and fluffy, thanks to the whipped cream that gets folded into the cream-cheese mixture. Have no fear &mdash it will have the signature creamy, tangy flavor of the classic.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever need. We love these for the deep rich chocolate flavor and their moist and springy interiors. It's the perfect cake base for any frosting.

The Best Banana Cake

This banana cake is delectably moist, perfectly sweet and easy to make. Dark brown sugar and sour cream add depth to the batter, and we added melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a flavor boost. Fluffy cream cheese frosting and swirls of dulce de leche will make you go back for seconds. We also upped the ante by using bananas in two ways &mdash fresh bananas are mixed into the cake while maple-candied banana chips create a crunchy topping.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you like chewy cookies? Or do you prefer cakey ones? Our oatmeal-raisin cookies can be both! For a chewy cookie, bake them right away. For a cakey cookie, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight works even better) to allow the oatmeal to hydrate.

The Best Bread Pudding

Toasting the challah adds flavor, but more importantly, it helps the cubes to soak up and hold onto more of the deliciously rich custard. And if that wasn&rsquot enough, we use not 1 but 2 vanilla beans to amp up the custard &mdash plain old extract just doesn&rsquot do it justice.

The Best Carrot Cake

Our classic carrot cake is nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and has toasted pecans both in the cake and on top. Plumped golden raisins and a full pound of carrots make it nice and moist while buttermilk lends tang and tenderness. Our homemade cream-cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness.

The Best M&M Cookies

We took our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and increased the brown sugar to make these cookies extra moist and chewy. Then we super-sized them &mdash the better to get in more of our favorite candy-coated chocolates. Save some extra candy for topping each cookie before baking. The result, cookies that look just as good as they taste!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes taste as delicious as they look (which is often not the case when it comes to vanilla cupcakes!). Mixing flour with cornstarch gives the cake a light and airy texture that stays perfectly moist with a bit of added vegetable oil. Each cupcake is topped with a swirl of creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream that&rsquos super easy to make.

The Best Crepes

Our classic crepe is versatile enough to go sweet or savory, just omit the vanilla if going the savory route. The rest time here is key the flour absorbs the milk as it sits giving you a more tender crepe and golden color.

The Best Angel Food Cake

Even though there are just a few ingredients in this simple cake, there are also a few techniques that will make or break it. First, be sure to use the correct pan &mdash an angel food cake pan &mdash and do not grease it. Additionally, superfine sugar, sifted cake flour and perfectly whipped egg whites are key components that set you up for success &mdash and set this cake apart from the rest.

The Best Key Lime Pie

A Floridian classic, this bright, creamy and tart dessert is so simple to make it will become a regular at your summer get togethers. Key lime juice is the star of this pie, adding a slightly more floral note than regular limes. But not to worry if you can't find fresh Key limes or the bottled juice &mdash you can use standard limes with equally delicious results.

The Best New York-Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake replicates all the iconic slices we have enjoyed in the Big Apple, with a dense, creamy texture and that familiar lemony tang paired with plenty of graham-cracker crust. Now you can make New York-Style Cheesecake at home and save yourself a ticket to the city.

The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms

If you're a peanut butter lover then these chewy cookies with a warm, gooey chocolate center will be sure to satisfy. This recipe makes about 4 dozen, so it's perfect for any holiday or big-batch baking.

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is not your everyday chocolate cake. It's a showstopper &mdash very tall and much more of a bakery-style cake than a cake from a box. The frosting has both melted chocolate for smoothness and cocoa for depth of flavor.

The Best Coconut Cream Pie

This old-fashioned pie is filled with rich, creamy custard, then capped with a cloud of toasted meringue and a generous sprinkling of sweet coconut flakes. It tastes as if you pulled it straight from the dessert case of your favorite diner, only better.

The Best Apple Crisp

If you just went apple picking, here's the perfect recipe to enjoy the fruits of your labor. We've included two varieties of fresh apples, plus warm spices and tangy cider. The sweet, buttery crumble topping is flavored with brown sugar and studded with nutty pecans for the ultimate easy apple dessert.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Instead of store-bought pumpkin pie spice, we like using ground cinnamon and nutmeg so we can control of the ratio between the two, opting for a healthy amount of nutmeg as it brings out the flavors in the pumpkin.

The Best Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the thin and crispy style made popular by the Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop. In our version, we've upped the brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips for an even more flavorful and decadent treat.

The Best Pecan Pie

This pie delivers plenty of classic flavors like brown sugar, vanilla and toasted nuts. We found that bourbon made a welcome addition. The alcohol bakes off leaving behind irresistible notes of smoke and caramel. Our all-butter crust perfectly balances the sweetness of the filling.

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Here's the perfect holiday cookie recipe for cut-outs and decorating. The balanced blend of warm spices and molasses adds just the right amount of seasonal flavor. A combination of butter and shortening creates a dough that rolls out easily and holds it shape during baking.

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

There's no better way to celebrate pumpkin-spice season! With swirls of pumpkin filling, caramel and a gingersnap crust, this autumnal cheesecake is a delight. We start by whipping up a classic cheesecake batter, then add pumpkin and warm spices to half the batch. Both are used to create a unique bullseye pattern. Nutty spiced seeds add crunch. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature -- this ensures that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy.

The Best Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have become the punchline of many a holiday joke, but this recipe will give the notorious seasonal gift a whole new reputation. Filled with loads of real dried fruit and nuts along with brandy, warm spices and citrus, this cake tastes like the holidays. The recipe makes two loaves so you can gift one.


Our Official List of the Best Food Network Kitchen Desserts

Baking is an exact science. So, when it comes to desserts there’s nothing more valuable than a collection of tried-and-true recipes. Ones you can count on. Ones that have been tested, re-tested and perfected — like these ones. That’s why we’re proud to call them our "Bests" — and share them with you.

Related To:

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

The Best Chocolate Mousse

The best chocolate mousse must be perfect. It should taste rich, indulgent and not too sweet, with a texture that is both light-and-airy and silky-and-smooth. After many attempts we nailed it and made a dessert that not only exceeded our standards, it's also quite easy to pull off. Close your eyes and take a bite &mdash you'll be transported to a 4-star French restaurant.

The Best Vanilla Cake

We love the light texture that cake flour gives baked goods, but we didn't want you to buy a whole box of it. So we used a cheat &mdash all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch blocks the formation of gluten in the flour and makes the cake airy and tender. We also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, an old baker's trick, to ensure that the cake stays moist. The heavy cream keeps the frosting light and fluffy.

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

The Best Lemon Meringue Pie

It's the stuff of dreams: a classic sweet and tart dessert with a foolproof meringue topping that won't weep! We use mostly butter in our from-scratch pie dough, but add a little vegetable shortening as well &mdash we found that this combination creates a crust that is both tender and flaky.

The Best Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For our simple and iconic shortcake, we discovered a great double-stacking technique that creates super light and high biscuits that are easy to split. This makes them easy to fill without crumbling. A simple recipe like this one allows its ingredients to shine, so use the very best berries you can find.

The Best Creme Brulee

We wanted a rich and creamy custard that wasn't too sweet, so we could fully enjoy the signature crunchy layer of caramelized sugar on top. By only using egg yolks, we achieved a soft and creamy texture. We tried using milk and half-and-half but, in the end, we landed with heavy cream for its richness. Whole vanilla beans give a more intense, pure vanilla flavor that you can't get from extract. We also like seeing the vanilla seeds flecked throughout the custard.

The Best Coconut Layer Cake

Can something be impossibly light while also being incredibly rich and decadent? Apparently so. This coconut cake is majestic in its height and a beauty &mdash a flurry of tangy frosting, sweet shredded coconut and tender cake. It will truly put all other coconut cakes to shame. The bar has now been set.

The Best Lemon Bars

It's tough to top a classic lemon bar, but we've done it! We kept the tender, buttery crust and bright filling of the original, and made a few improvements. For our luscious lemon layer, we employed a unique double-cooking method. Simmering first on the stovetop like lemon curd allows us to add butter, which balances the tart and sweet elements and adds a richer, smoother texture.

The Best Tiramisu

Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. We start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione &mdash a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then we lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more .

The Best Cheesecake

We&rsquove created the cheesecake of your dreams &mdash rich, dense and creamy with a buttery, not-too-sweet graham cracker crust. Easy-to-follow instructions ensure a smooth, crack -free top every time.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

We've created the perfect brownie by employing a few tips and tricks. Using both semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder gives us the deep and complex chocolate flavor we crave. Cooking the butter until golden brown adds a toasted nuttiness, while the pop of cream provides luscious texture.

The Best Banana Pudding

This creamy banana dessert is our very favorite version, piled high with layers of just-ripe bananas, rich vanilla pudding and tender cookies. We used vanilla bean paste instead of extract in our homemade filling for a bold flavor boost and topped the pudding with swirls of freshly whipped cream. When it all comes together, it's dreamy, luscious and feeds a crowd!

The Best Peanut Brittle

This sweet and salty peanut brittle has the perfect crunch and sheen. With a little patience, you'll have a delicious brittle to serve to party guests or as an edible gift around the holidays.

The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Our sugar dough is easy to roll and cut into all shapes and sizes. The cookies hold their shape during baking and come out firm and strong, perfect for decorating. We made them with a little less sugar, so feel free to load on the icing and sprinkles. Their buttery crispness will still come through.

The Best Apple Pie

We love using a variety of apples in our pie it adds both flavor and texture and makes every bite a little different. Vodka in the pie crust makes the dough easier to work with, and since the alcohol burns off during baking, it doesn't impart any flavor. But feel free to use bourbon or apple brandy instead to complement the filling.

The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over &mdash this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for someone special. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!

The Best Peach Cobbler

In our classic southern-style peach cobbler, we layer the fruit on top of the batter before baking. In the oven, the sweet batter rises through the peaches, creating a light and airy cake-like topping. We left the peaches unpeeled, which adds a nice color and makes the recipe even easier. Serve it with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

We wanted a super peanut buttery treat but found that store-bought peanut butter made the cookies a bit gummy when we used more than 1 cup. So we ground roasted peanuts ourselves and added that to the batter for an additional boost of flavor. Honey and melted butter add richness and create a soft and chewy cookie with an irresistible crackled exterior. We topped the dough balls with raw sugar for extra crunch and a hit of sweetness that balances the salt of the peanuts.

The Best Chocolate Lava Cakes

Go ahead and indulge in these perfectly rich and dreamy chocolate lava cakes! Bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder create a luscious and balanced batter that stays molten in the center during baking.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a dessert that can be made without turning on the oven? This no-bake cheesecake is light and fluffy, thanks to the whipped cream that gets folded into the cream-cheese mixture. Have no fear &mdash it will have the signature creamy, tangy flavor of the classic.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever need. We love these for the deep rich chocolate flavor and their moist and springy interiors. It's the perfect cake base for any frosting.

The Best Banana Cake

This banana cake is delectably moist, perfectly sweet and easy to make. Dark brown sugar and sour cream add depth to the batter, and we added melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a flavor boost. Fluffy cream cheese frosting and swirls of dulce de leche will make you go back for seconds. We also upped the ante by using bananas in two ways &mdash fresh bananas are mixed into the cake while maple-candied banana chips create a crunchy topping.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you like chewy cookies? Or do you prefer cakey ones? Our oatmeal-raisin cookies can be both! For a chewy cookie, bake them right away. For a cakey cookie, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight works even better) to allow the oatmeal to hydrate.

The Best Bread Pudding

Toasting the challah adds flavor, but more importantly, it helps the cubes to soak up and hold onto more of the deliciously rich custard. And if that wasn&rsquot enough, we use not 1 but 2 vanilla beans to amp up the custard &mdash plain old extract just doesn&rsquot do it justice.

The Best Carrot Cake

Our classic carrot cake is nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and has toasted pecans both in the cake and on top. Plumped golden raisins and a full pound of carrots make it nice and moist while buttermilk lends tang and tenderness. Our homemade cream-cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness.

The Best M&M Cookies

We took our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and increased the brown sugar to make these cookies extra moist and chewy. Then we super-sized them &mdash the better to get in more of our favorite candy-coated chocolates. Save some extra candy for topping each cookie before baking. The result, cookies that look just as good as they taste!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes taste as delicious as they look (which is often not the case when it comes to vanilla cupcakes!). Mixing flour with cornstarch gives the cake a light and airy texture that stays perfectly moist with a bit of added vegetable oil. Each cupcake is topped with a swirl of creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream that&rsquos super easy to make.

The Best Crepes

Our classic crepe is versatile enough to go sweet or savory, just omit the vanilla if going the savory route. The rest time here is key the flour absorbs the milk as it sits giving you a more tender crepe and golden color.

The Best Angel Food Cake

Even though there are just a few ingredients in this simple cake, there are also a few techniques that will make or break it. First, be sure to use the correct pan &mdash an angel food cake pan &mdash and do not grease it. Additionally, superfine sugar, sifted cake flour and perfectly whipped egg whites are key components that set you up for success &mdash and set this cake apart from the rest.

The Best Key Lime Pie

A Floridian classic, this bright, creamy and tart dessert is so simple to make it will become a regular at your summer get togethers. Key lime juice is the star of this pie, adding a slightly more floral note than regular limes. But not to worry if you can't find fresh Key limes or the bottled juice &mdash you can use standard limes with equally delicious results.

The Best New York-Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake replicates all the iconic slices we have enjoyed in the Big Apple, with a dense, creamy texture and that familiar lemony tang paired with plenty of graham-cracker crust. Now you can make New York-Style Cheesecake at home and save yourself a ticket to the city.

The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms

If you're a peanut butter lover then these chewy cookies with a warm, gooey chocolate center will be sure to satisfy. This recipe makes about 4 dozen, so it's perfect for any holiday or big-batch baking.

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is not your everyday chocolate cake. It's a showstopper &mdash very tall and much more of a bakery-style cake than a cake from a box. The frosting has both melted chocolate for smoothness and cocoa for depth of flavor.

The Best Coconut Cream Pie

This old-fashioned pie is filled with rich, creamy custard, then capped with a cloud of toasted meringue and a generous sprinkling of sweet coconut flakes. It tastes as if you pulled it straight from the dessert case of your favorite diner, only better.

The Best Apple Crisp

If you just went apple picking, here's the perfect recipe to enjoy the fruits of your labor. We've included two varieties of fresh apples, plus warm spices and tangy cider. The sweet, buttery crumble topping is flavored with brown sugar and studded with nutty pecans for the ultimate easy apple dessert.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Instead of store-bought pumpkin pie spice, we like using ground cinnamon and nutmeg so we can control of the ratio between the two, opting for a healthy amount of nutmeg as it brings out the flavors in the pumpkin.

The Best Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the thin and crispy style made popular by the Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop. In our version, we've upped the brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips for an even more flavorful and decadent treat.

The Best Pecan Pie

This pie delivers plenty of classic flavors like brown sugar, vanilla and toasted nuts. We found that bourbon made a welcome addition. The alcohol bakes off leaving behind irresistible notes of smoke and caramel. Our all-butter crust perfectly balances the sweetness of the filling.

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Here's the perfect holiday cookie recipe for cut-outs and decorating. The balanced blend of warm spices and molasses adds just the right amount of seasonal flavor. A combination of butter and shortening creates a dough that rolls out easily and holds it shape during baking.

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

There's no better way to celebrate pumpkin-spice season! With swirls of pumpkin filling, caramel and a gingersnap crust, this autumnal cheesecake is a delight. We start by whipping up a classic cheesecake batter, then add pumpkin and warm spices to half the batch. Both are used to create a unique bullseye pattern. Nutty spiced seeds add crunch. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature -- this ensures that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy.

The Best Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have become the punchline of many a holiday joke, but this recipe will give the notorious seasonal gift a whole new reputation. Filled with loads of real dried fruit and nuts along with brandy, warm spices and citrus, this cake tastes like the holidays. The recipe makes two loaves so you can gift one.


Our Official List of the Best Food Network Kitchen Desserts

Baking is an exact science. So, when it comes to desserts there’s nothing more valuable than a collection of tried-and-true recipes. Ones you can count on. Ones that have been tested, re-tested and perfected — like these ones. That’s why we’re proud to call them our "Bests" — and share them with you.

Related To:

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

The Best Chocolate Mousse

The best chocolate mousse must be perfect. It should taste rich, indulgent and not too sweet, with a texture that is both light-and-airy and silky-and-smooth. After many attempts we nailed it and made a dessert that not only exceeded our standards, it's also quite easy to pull off. Close your eyes and take a bite &mdash you'll be transported to a 4-star French restaurant.

The Best Vanilla Cake

We love the light texture that cake flour gives baked goods, but we didn't want you to buy a whole box of it. So we used a cheat &mdash all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch blocks the formation of gluten in the flour and makes the cake airy and tender. We also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, an old baker's trick, to ensure that the cake stays moist. The heavy cream keeps the frosting light and fluffy.

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

The Best Lemon Meringue Pie

It's the stuff of dreams: a classic sweet and tart dessert with a foolproof meringue topping that won't weep! We use mostly butter in our from-scratch pie dough, but add a little vegetable shortening as well &mdash we found that this combination creates a crust that is both tender and flaky.

The Best Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For our simple and iconic shortcake, we discovered a great double-stacking technique that creates super light and high biscuits that are easy to split. This makes them easy to fill without crumbling. A simple recipe like this one allows its ingredients to shine, so use the very best berries you can find.

The Best Creme Brulee

We wanted a rich and creamy custard that wasn't too sweet, so we could fully enjoy the signature crunchy layer of caramelized sugar on top. By only using egg yolks, we achieved a soft and creamy texture. We tried using milk and half-and-half but, in the end, we landed with heavy cream for its richness. Whole vanilla beans give a more intense, pure vanilla flavor that you can't get from extract. We also like seeing the vanilla seeds flecked throughout the custard.

The Best Coconut Layer Cake

Can something be impossibly light while also being incredibly rich and decadent? Apparently so. This coconut cake is majestic in its height and a beauty &mdash a flurry of tangy frosting, sweet shredded coconut and tender cake. It will truly put all other coconut cakes to shame. The bar has now been set.

The Best Lemon Bars

It's tough to top a classic lemon bar, but we've done it! We kept the tender, buttery crust and bright filling of the original, and made a few improvements. For our luscious lemon layer, we employed a unique double-cooking method. Simmering first on the stovetop like lemon curd allows us to add butter, which balances the tart and sweet elements and adds a richer, smoother texture.

The Best Tiramisu

Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. We start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione &mdash a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then we lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more .

The Best Cheesecake

We&rsquove created the cheesecake of your dreams &mdash rich, dense and creamy with a buttery, not-too-sweet graham cracker crust. Easy-to-follow instructions ensure a smooth, crack -free top every time.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

We've created the perfect brownie by employing a few tips and tricks. Using both semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder gives us the deep and complex chocolate flavor we crave. Cooking the butter until golden brown adds a toasted nuttiness, while the pop of cream provides luscious texture.

The Best Banana Pudding

This creamy banana dessert is our very favorite version, piled high with layers of just-ripe bananas, rich vanilla pudding and tender cookies. We used vanilla bean paste instead of extract in our homemade filling for a bold flavor boost and topped the pudding with swirls of freshly whipped cream. When it all comes together, it's dreamy, luscious and feeds a crowd!

The Best Peanut Brittle

This sweet and salty peanut brittle has the perfect crunch and sheen. With a little patience, you'll have a delicious brittle to serve to party guests or as an edible gift around the holidays.

The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Our sugar dough is easy to roll and cut into all shapes and sizes. The cookies hold their shape during baking and come out firm and strong, perfect for decorating. We made them with a little less sugar, so feel free to load on the icing and sprinkles. Their buttery crispness will still come through.

The Best Apple Pie

We love using a variety of apples in our pie it adds both flavor and texture and makes every bite a little different. Vodka in the pie crust makes the dough easier to work with, and since the alcohol burns off during baking, it doesn't impart any flavor. But feel free to use bourbon or apple brandy instead to complement the filling.

The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over &mdash this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for someone special. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!

The Best Peach Cobbler

In our classic southern-style peach cobbler, we layer the fruit on top of the batter before baking. In the oven, the sweet batter rises through the peaches, creating a light and airy cake-like topping. We left the peaches unpeeled, which adds a nice color and makes the recipe even easier. Serve it with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

We wanted a super peanut buttery treat but found that store-bought peanut butter made the cookies a bit gummy when we used more than 1 cup. So we ground roasted peanuts ourselves and added that to the batter for an additional boost of flavor. Honey and melted butter add richness and create a soft and chewy cookie with an irresistible crackled exterior. We topped the dough balls with raw sugar for extra crunch and a hit of sweetness that balances the salt of the peanuts.

The Best Chocolate Lava Cakes

Go ahead and indulge in these perfectly rich and dreamy chocolate lava cakes! Bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder create a luscious and balanced batter that stays molten in the center during baking.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a dessert that can be made without turning on the oven? This no-bake cheesecake is light and fluffy, thanks to the whipped cream that gets folded into the cream-cheese mixture. Have no fear &mdash it will have the signature creamy, tangy flavor of the classic.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever need. We love these for the deep rich chocolate flavor and their moist and springy interiors. It's the perfect cake base for any frosting.

The Best Banana Cake

This banana cake is delectably moist, perfectly sweet and easy to make. Dark brown sugar and sour cream add depth to the batter, and we added melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a flavor boost. Fluffy cream cheese frosting and swirls of dulce de leche will make you go back for seconds. We also upped the ante by using bananas in two ways &mdash fresh bananas are mixed into the cake while maple-candied banana chips create a crunchy topping.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you like chewy cookies? Or do you prefer cakey ones? Our oatmeal-raisin cookies can be both! For a chewy cookie, bake them right away. For a cakey cookie, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight works even better) to allow the oatmeal to hydrate.

The Best Bread Pudding

Toasting the challah adds flavor, but more importantly, it helps the cubes to soak up and hold onto more of the deliciously rich custard. And if that wasn&rsquot enough, we use not 1 but 2 vanilla beans to amp up the custard &mdash plain old extract just doesn&rsquot do it justice.

The Best Carrot Cake

Our classic carrot cake is nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and has toasted pecans both in the cake and on top. Plumped golden raisins and a full pound of carrots make it nice and moist while buttermilk lends tang and tenderness. Our homemade cream-cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness.

The Best M&M Cookies

We took our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and increased the brown sugar to make these cookies extra moist and chewy. Then we super-sized them &mdash the better to get in more of our favorite candy-coated chocolates. Save some extra candy for topping each cookie before baking. The result, cookies that look just as good as they taste!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes taste as delicious as they look (which is often not the case when it comes to vanilla cupcakes!). Mixing flour with cornstarch gives the cake a light and airy texture that stays perfectly moist with a bit of added vegetable oil. Each cupcake is topped with a swirl of creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream that&rsquos super easy to make.

The Best Crepes

Our classic crepe is versatile enough to go sweet or savory, just omit the vanilla if going the savory route. The rest time here is key the flour absorbs the milk as it sits giving you a more tender crepe and golden color.

The Best Angel Food Cake

Even though there are just a few ingredients in this simple cake, there are also a few techniques that will make or break it. First, be sure to use the correct pan &mdash an angel food cake pan &mdash and do not grease it. Additionally, superfine sugar, sifted cake flour and perfectly whipped egg whites are key components that set you up for success &mdash and set this cake apart from the rest.

The Best Key Lime Pie

A Floridian classic, this bright, creamy and tart dessert is so simple to make it will become a regular at your summer get togethers. Key lime juice is the star of this pie, adding a slightly more floral note than regular limes. But not to worry if you can't find fresh Key limes or the bottled juice &mdash you can use standard limes with equally delicious results.

The Best New York-Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake replicates all the iconic slices we have enjoyed in the Big Apple, with a dense, creamy texture and that familiar lemony tang paired with plenty of graham-cracker crust. Now you can make New York-Style Cheesecake at home and save yourself a ticket to the city.

The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms

If you're a peanut butter lover then these chewy cookies with a warm, gooey chocolate center will be sure to satisfy. This recipe makes about 4 dozen, so it's perfect for any holiday or big-batch baking.

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is not your everyday chocolate cake. It's a showstopper &mdash very tall and much more of a bakery-style cake than a cake from a box. The frosting has both melted chocolate for smoothness and cocoa for depth of flavor.

The Best Coconut Cream Pie

This old-fashioned pie is filled with rich, creamy custard, then capped with a cloud of toasted meringue and a generous sprinkling of sweet coconut flakes. It tastes as if you pulled it straight from the dessert case of your favorite diner, only better.

The Best Apple Crisp

If you just went apple picking, here's the perfect recipe to enjoy the fruits of your labor. We've included two varieties of fresh apples, plus warm spices and tangy cider. The sweet, buttery crumble topping is flavored with brown sugar and studded with nutty pecans for the ultimate easy apple dessert.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Instead of store-bought pumpkin pie spice, we like using ground cinnamon and nutmeg so we can control of the ratio between the two, opting for a healthy amount of nutmeg as it brings out the flavors in the pumpkin.

The Best Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the thin and crispy style made popular by the Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop. In our version, we've upped the brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips for an even more flavorful and decadent treat.

The Best Pecan Pie

This pie delivers plenty of classic flavors like brown sugar, vanilla and toasted nuts. We found that bourbon made a welcome addition. The alcohol bakes off leaving behind irresistible notes of smoke and caramel. Our all-butter crust perfectly balances the sweetness of the filling.

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Here's the perfect holiday cookie recipe for cut-outs and decorating. The balanced blend of warm spices and molasses adds just the right amount of seasonal flavor. A combination of butter and shortening creates a dough that rolls out easily and holds it shape during baking.

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

There's no better way to celebrate pumpkin-spice season! With swirls of pumpkin filling, caramel and a gingersnap crust, this autumnal cheesecake is a delight. We start by whipping up a classic cheesecake batter, then add pumpkin and warm spices to half the batch. Both are used to create a unique bullseye pattern. Nutty spiced seeds add crunch. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature -- this ensures that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy.

The Best Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have become the punchline of many a holiday joke, but this recipe will give the notorious seasonal gift a whole new reputation. Filled with loads of real dried fruit and nuts along with brandy, warm spices and citrus, this cake tastes like the holidays. The recipe makes two loaves so you can gift one.