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5 Timeless Holiday Desserts for Making Spirits Bright

Why search the latest trends in holiday desserts when you can try these time-tested treats? We've reached into the archives for vintage recipes that will turn today into the good old days. Become a Better Homes & Gardens Insider today to gain exclusive access to 95+ years of archived inspiration, experience the magazine like never before, and view all of the recipes below. With Insider access, your holiday season is sure to be truly unforgettable.

1929: Poinsettia Snowballs

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Pretty Poinsettia Snowballs spread cheer to anyone receiving them in a holiday gift box. When this recipe was introduced in 1929, Americans needed help getting into a festive spirit. By the time the holiday issue of Better Home & Gardens reached newsstands and mailboxes, the stock market had crashed and the country was already feeling the effects of the Great Depression.

Cue these ingeniously-decorated Poinsettia Snowballs for a much-needed dose of holiday spirit. On the surface, they're standard cupcakes. But the clever poinsettia design stands out in a gift box or on a holiday table. For even more timeless holiday cheer, the editors suggested decorating your holiday package with tiny sprigs of snowberries, holly, bittersweet and red berries.


1947: Kris Kringles

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With the end of World War II, all previously rationed ingredients were back in full supply, and recipes for cookies and candy were now chocked full of sugar. The article, "Christmas cookies and candies," from the December 1947 issue of Better Homes & Gardens, serves as living proof that sugar was back in a big way.

Bursting with ideas for cookies, divinity puffs, popcorn balls, molasses taffy, and Yule cakes, the story's recommended recipes were a welcome relief for every sweet tooth that just couldn't get enough sugar during the war. While sweet treats are everywhere today, there's still room for a classic like Kris Kringles, touted as "rich, tender cookies." Undoubtedly, it's that old favorite ingredient shortening that gives them their light, flaky texture.


1952: St. Nick's Cookies

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No one had heard of binge-watching back then, but all the nibble-worthy snacks suggested in the 1952 holiday issue of Better Home & Gardens would have been enough to keep a roomful of rabid Lucy fans busy for hours. "Festive snacks for your open house," mapped out a plan for ambitious hosts and hostesses to cover the coffee table, bitsy buffet, and card table with snacks of every sort.

The menu in this article features crunchy Fruitcake Delight, refreshing Cranberry Sparkle Cocktail, three colors and flavors of popcorn balls, St. Nick's Cookies sugarcoated in green and red, and so much more. The name may suggest that these adorably round cookies are really meant for Mr. Claus, but the recipe also recommends that you "don't let anyone keep count when you start eating these."


1957: Oh, Fudge!

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Legend has it that the first batch of fudge came about by accident in the late 19th century thanks to a bungled batch of caramels. The errant baker apparently exclaimed, "Oh fudge!" While we can't vouch for the veracity of that tale, we can testify that 70 years later fudge was so popular that the 1957 holiday issue of Better Homes & Gardens featured 10 different fudge recipes for every sweet tooth.

We're still giving thanks for this happy accident, as we'd take a batch of fudge over caramels any day. The 10 timeless fudge recipes allow holiday cooks to slip something a little extra into their cookie tins. Take a few tips from the pages of the 1957 issue and try your hand at fudge this holiday—we're certain it won't disappoint!


1959: Christmas Cookie Cut-Outs

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In 1959, Better Homes & Gardens holiday issue was there with a promise to make the holidays "the merriest yet," With their article titled, "Christmas Cookies," which featured recipes for hospitality, the holiday tree, and family. In addition to cookie recipes, this festive issue was brimming with trim tricks to turn basic cookies into holiday delicacies.

Everyone needs a reliable basic sugar cookie recipe. You can count on the one we featured in 1959. Could it be the grated orange peel that gives it just the right kick? Give this recipe a whirl and see for yourself! But it's the decorating tips that really make the cookies stand out. Whether you're looking to create an icing that's just right, add colorful candies, or even build double- or triple-decker cookies, this recipe should be your go-to this holiday.