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"Top 40" favorite dessert recipes

My very good friend is turning 40 in a few weeks and I wanted to put together a "Top 40" list of delicious dessert recipes for her. I am looking for help from fellow chowhounders to share their favorite recipes for sweet treats! Please share your all-time favorites with me. Thanks!

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  1. Chewy Chocolate Cookies. Some people prefer adding more flour so they're not so thin; I prefer the flatter cookies with a blob of chocolate here and there from the chips. :-)


    1. I made these at Christmas and they were a huge hit...so addictive and delicious! And you can pretend they are good for you :)


      5 Replies
      1. re: gator28

        Oh my freaking MY! They look wonderful! Thanks for the link!

        1. re: gator28

          Ooh! That's brilliant! I can't wait to try these!

          1. re: gator28

            Those look amazing - thanks for posting that, will have to try those soon.

            1. re: gator28

              Those look prety damn good !!!

              1. re: gator28

                Please let me know if you do make them! They are wonderful cold from the fridge :) I like them from the freezer too, but others have found them too hard at that temp. I am thinking of making them with raspberries next time.

              2. My favorite chocolate cake, which can be halved and baked as a bundt: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                No one has ever not loved these butterscotch cashew bars. They should be cut in small squares, as they are really rich: http://www.bakeorbreak.com/2008/03/bu...

                1. Tiramisu and Pastel de Tres Leches (with rum).

                  Those two send me to a different place....

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: lilgi

                    Thanks lilgi. Do you have a recipe for Pastel de Tres Leches....sounds amazing!

                    1. re: principessa del pisello

                      Sure! This is the one that I use. There are other cake recipes that include fat in the batter, but I prefer mine without - and it gives the cake a wonderful lightness to it even with the milks added.

                      1 cup all-purpose flour
                      1 tablespoon baking powder
                      Pinch of salt
                      6 large eggs, separated
                      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                      1 cup sugar

                      Milk Glaze
                      One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
                      One 12-ounce can whole evaporated milk
                      1 1/2 cups heavy cream
                      1/2 cup dark rum
                      1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)

                      Topping - Whipped Cream Frosting
                      1 cup heavy cream
                      2 to 3 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar
                      1 teaspoon vanilla


                      Combine the three milks in a sauce pan and heat until warm. Refrigerate for a few hours and whisk in rum before using.

                      Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk beat till soft-peak stage, add a Tablespoon of the sugar to stabilize, and continue beating until stiff. Pour the meringue into a large bowl (you can reuse the same bowl for the next step, no need to rinse).

                      Beat the egg yolks in the mixer with the sugar and vanilla until thick and pale. Stir in the dry mixture to blend, then incorporate the meringue until mixture is somewhat even, but still very light and fluffy; try not to overmix.

                      Pour into butter and floured 9-inch square pan. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 30 minutes, lower the temperature to 310 and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. Cake should be firm and golden; toothpick should come out clean.

                      Let the cake cool before inverting onto a rack to cool. Invert cake right side up on a rimmed platter, poke holes through-out.

                      Milk Glaze

                      Stir the rum into the milk glaze and slowly pour the glaze over the top of the cake while it seeps in, try to get as close to the sides as possible without spilling onto plate; add as much as the cake will hold; a little excess is okay and will eventually get absorbed by the cake; the idea here is to pour slowly as the cake absorbs the glaze, and not allow the cake to sit in more liquid than necessary.

                      Refrigerate the cake overnight. Frost the cake with whipped cream topping, lightly dust with powdered cocoa and drizzle dulce de leche swirls over the topping. Cut into squares (if you haven't already) and serve.

                      Top with Whipped cream topping lightly dusted with natural cocoa powder, dulce de leche drizzle if desired, and garnish serving pieces with maraschino cherries.

                  2. I am a pastry moron, but I love this apple pie recipe. SUPERB w/ a scoop of vanilla.

                      1. Two from Julia Child:

                        Creme Caramel (ridulously easy. delicious, and impressive, good with fruit)


                        My go-to chocolate cake, Reine de Saba, a luscious chocolate-almond cake. I add more chocolate than Julia says, though.


                        1. for serious chocolate-ites, i'd say it's worth including La Bete Noire recipe from Epicurious.

                          i have a lot of recipes for different kinds, but i'd say a fruit/custard tart belongs somewhere in the classic portion of the list.

                          along with french apple pie.

                          Tiramisu with homemade ladyfingers - have recipes if nec
                          -i also mix this up with variations like Plum Tiramisu

                          Lemon or Grapefruit Pudding Cake - where the batter separates into custard and cake.

                          Browned Butter Vanilla Bread Pudding

                          Cookies and brownies...

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Emme

                            Would mind sharing the recipe for the lemon pudding cakes,please? TY

                            1. re: angelsmom

                              Lemon Custard Cakes

                              175 g Sugar
                              85 g Butter, Unsalted
                              1 tbsp. Lemon Peel
                              3 whole Eggs, separated
                              22.5 g Flour
                              1 cup Buttermilk
                              ΒΌ cup Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

                              Beat butter with sugar, stir in lemon peel.
                              Stir in egg yolks.
                              Add flour alternately with buttermilk in three turns. Stir in lemon juice.
                              Beat egg whites til stiff. Fold in.
                              Spoon into 6 ramekins.
                              Bake at 350 in a water bath for 30-40 minutes until just set on the top... Definitely don't overbake or the custard will set. Mine usually take 35 minutes, but I never know with other people's ovens and wouldn't want to ruin it for you.

                            2. re: Emme

                              Would you please send the tiramisu as well? This is one I've always wanted to make. Thank you!

                              1. re: auburnselkie

                                do you want plain tiramisu? homemade ladyfingers (love these!)? plum tiramisu?

                                1. re: Emme

                                  Yes please, double yes please, and I've never heard of such but that sounds lovely! I think I might be asking too much now, though!

                                  1. re: auburnselkie

                                    will get these to you once i'm back home.

                            3. I constantly make "sweet treats" for my son and his friends, and now that they are all off at college, I get regular requests for care packages. :-) One that is ALWAYS requested by every single kid, is Oreo Balls. They are not quick to make, but they are always the very first thing to go at a party. Butter cookies also go quickly. And the Pralines that are on a thread here somewhere...those things are the DEVIL.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: FitMom4Life

                                I have never heard of Oreo Balls and they sound amazing. Would you mind sharing the recipe? I will look for the pralines that you mentioned as well. Thanks!

                                1. re: FitMom4Life

                                  Which praline recipe do you mean? I am always happy to try a new one!

                                  1. re: auburnselkie

                                    FitMom4Life mentioned there was a praline recipe on this board that was amazing. I had a look and found this one mentioned in another thread http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... I wonder if this is the one she meant.

                                2. You have to include something "nutty." This is a delicious, dense, moist cake.

                                  Almond Cake with Raspberry Sauce

                                  8" springform pan
                                  Preheat oven to 350

                                  3/4 cup granulated sugar
                                  8 oz almond paste (NOT marzipan, NOT "filling")
                                  1/4 lb butter, room temp
                                  3 large eggs
                                  1/2 tsp salt
                                  1 Tbs almond liqueur (optional)
                                  1/4 tsp almond extract
                                  1/4 cup AP flour
                                  1/3 tsp baking powder

                                  Butter and flour pan. Combine butter, paste (pressed through a strainer if necessary to avoid lumps), and sugar. Beat well. Add eggs, liqueur, extract (or a little more extract if omitting the liqueur).

                                  Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together. Add to wet ingredients, mixing only until blended. Do not overbeat.

                                  Bake 40-50 minutes until tester comes out clean. Cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with raspberry sauce.

                                  Raspberry Sauce

                                  Fresh or frozen raspberries, sugar to taste, pureed in a blender, strained. Shot of raspberry liqueur, if desired. Make 1-1/2 to 2 cups of sauce. It's surprising how much you need for a decent puddle on the plate.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: nemo

                                    That sounds amazing. I've been looking for an almond cake recipe, esp. one with almond paste. I was going to make a David Lebovitz recipe, but you've enticed me toward this one instead!

                                    1. re: GFHappyPlace

                                      Claudia Roden has a couple of wonderful almond cakes in The Food of Spain book. I made a plain one and added a bit of orange blossom water to it - everyone loved it. There is another one with chocolate that I want to try.

                                  2. My favorite cookie; new last year in 2011 - everyone I feed one to asks for the recipe. Addictive!

                                    Salted Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chunks: http://orangette.blogspot.com/2011/10...

                                    You will thank me after you make 'em!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                      These look sooo good. Next on my baking list

                                    2. My ideal dessert isn't chocolate or fancy, but, in season, peach crisp is truly the best thing on earth. Sometimes I mix in some blackberries or raspberries which make a tasty and beautiful contrast, and I alternate between crumble toppings that do and don't have oatmeal in them. I'm a lover of fruit-based desserts, but this is my favorite.

                                      1. I keep thinking that I will offer tapioca pudding to somebody who will hate it but that hasn't happened yet---just the opposite. I use the Fluffy Tapioca recipe on the Minute Tapioca box but double it and increase the eggs to 3. For guests I serve real whipped cream and some kind of fruit on the side, maybe crushed sugared strawberries or just canned crushed pineapple. My husband used to pour liqueur over tapioca. People who are sick extra-appreciate it. For one purpose or another, I make it every week. I think that homemade tapioca pudding is a generally underrated dessert.

                                        1. i've been thinking about this, and god knows you could do 40 of each, but i would break it down into categories...
                                          Cakes - Boston Cream Pie, Tres Leches, Yellow, Chocolate, Flourless Chocolate, Angel Food, Genoise, Red Velvet, Champagne
                                          Pies - French Apple, Chocolate Cream, Lemon Meringue, Cherry, Pumpkin
                                          Tarts - Custard Tart, Apple Tarte Tatin, Sand Tart
                                          Cookies - Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, White Choc Macadamia, PB, Shortbread, Black and Whites, Florentines, Meltaways or Mexican Wedding Cakes, Chocolate Crinkles,
                                          Pastries - Cannoli, Napoleon,
                                          Puddings - Rice, Tapioca, Vanilla, Chocolate, Custard Cake
                                          Nostalgic - Rice Krispie Treats, Strawberry Shortcake, s'mores (homemade grahams and mallows), Homemade Thin Mints or Samoas, Nanaimo Bars, Brownies - fudgy, chewy and cakey, Homemade mock candy bars like Twix, Snickers, etc
                                          Feel Less Guilty - Pavlova, Roasted Fruits with a Vanilla Whipped Ricotta, Baked Apples
                                          Nuts - Pecan Pie, Dacquoise, Macarons, Baklava
                                          Boozy - Tiramisu, Rum Cake
                                          Creamy - Coeur a la Creme, Creme Brulee, Flan, Pots de Creme, Cheesecake, Mousses
                                          Miscellaneous - Trifle, Homemade Nutella, Caramelized White Chocolate, Lemon Curd, Liege waffles, crepes
                                          Ice Cream

                                          i could add a ton more, but...

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Emme

                                            Wow! Thanks Emme. It is a great idea to break it down into categories. I don't do a a lot of baking and my friend has a real sweet tooth so I thought this would be a good way to get other people's favorite recipes. Thanks for this list. If you have any great recipes for any of these I would love to see them!

                                            1. re: Emme

                                              You forgot baba au rhum - has to be there too along the boozy ones!

                                              1. re: herby

                                                absolutely. i just started to run out of time at the end there...

                                            2. paula deene has a recipe - "not your mama's banana pudding" - i had made it last thanksgiving and everyone raved - including my kids who have grown up on so many various recipes for that dessert as it is one of their favorites.

                                              1. Thanks everyone! Here is a list of recipes I have compiled (15 so far). I welcome more suggestions for your favorites!

                                                Chewy Chocolate Cookies
                                                Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

                                                Blueberry Pretzel Clusters
                                                Butterscotch Cashew Bars

                                                Apple Pie
                                                Chocolate Stout Cake
                                                Pastel de Tres Leches
                                                Reine de Saba (Chocolate Almond Cake)
                                                Lemon Custard Cake
                                                La Bete Noir
                                                Almond Cake with Raspberry Sauce

                                                Pumpkin Sticky Pudding
                                                Julia Child's Creme Caramel
                                                Banana Pudding (Paula Deen)

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: principessa del pisello

                                                  I would add:

                                                  Cookies: World Peace, Shortbread
                                                  Bars: Nanaimo
                                                  Tarts: Tart Tatin, Lemon
                                                  Cakes: Pavlova, Tiramisu, Baba au Rhum

                                                  1. re: herby

                                                    Thanks herby. Do you have good recipes for any of those?

                                                  2. re: principessa del pisello

                                                    have you seen David Lebovitz's recipe for Caramelized White Chocolate Cakes?

                                                    in the pudding/custard/creamy section, White Chocolate Panna Cotta?

                                                  3. What is her baking level? Novice, intermediate, etc?

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: jsaimd

                                                      I would say she is an intermediate to advanced baker and could be up for a challenge!

                                                      1. re: principessa del pisello

                                                        How about adding marshmallows to the candy column? And add lemon budino as a light, souffle-like pudding? http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                        1. re: principessa del pisello

                                                          Pierre Herme's Lemon Cream Tart - fabulous.
                                                          Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Base - a bit different approach to ice cream and good. Pair that with David Lebowitz Ice Cream Base for an egg custard version.
                                                          Macaron are fun for an aspiring baker. I've done both the French and Italian version and don't have a really big preference. The Italian version is a bit chewier, which is a matter of preference.
                                                          I also like Alice Medrich's Sesame Cookies or Sesame Cake.

                                                      2. Very simple but very tasty dessert - berry syrup over vanilla bean ice cream (also works with angel food cake).
                                                        Take mixed frozen berries or various fresh berries that you like, clean them, put them in a large pot.
                                                        Drizzle some brandy over the berries and a little sugar, how much depends on frozen vs. fresh and how sweet the berries are.
                                                        Simmer the berries until they break down and get a little syrupy.

                                                        Drizzly berry sauce over a good quality vanilla bean ice cream.