Riley Heruska
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'Tis the season for non-stop baking! Gingerbread houses, cookies for Santa, pies, fudge, peanut brittle... The list of seasonal treats goes on and on. In search of a few ideas to spice up your usual dessert showcase? Here are a few recipes that play on traditional sweets while adding a fun holiday twist. 

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate 

Hot chocolate is a staple during December, but have you ever tried to make it with a slow cooker? This recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction will help you create the most decadent, soul-warming hot chocolate ever. Dump some whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, chocolate, cocoa powder, and vanilla into your Crock Pot, then leave everything to simmer. Approximately six hours later, you'll have a delectable liquid treat that can keep the whole family toasty. Who wants to stir in a packet of premade hot cocoa when you can have a batch of thick, homemade goodness? 

Christmas Cookie Dough Dip 

If you really want to take your gingerbread house party to the next level, consider serving this dip. Fluffy and wonderfully creamy, the dip by Dinner at the Zoo goes perfectly with cookies, fruits, pretzels, and other easy snacks. All you'll need is some yogurt, cream cheese, flour, sugar, vanilla, sprinkles, and butter. However, heed this warning: once you start dunking a few gingerbread men into this delicious concoction, you might not be able to stop. 

Gingerbread Cheesecake 

Speaking of gingerbread, let's add a little to an amazing cheesecake recipe! Lindsay from Life, Love and Sugar whipped up a cheesecake that comes with a delicious shortbread crust, gingerbread filling, and a molasses mouse topping. You really couldn't ask for a better holiday twist. Although cheesecakes can be a little difficult to make on your first try, Linday's easy-to-follow recipe will walk you through the process smoothly. 

Candy Cane Crescent Roll

If you want to wow your overnight guests in the morning or plan something special for early Christmas day, this crescent roll breakfast pastry is the way to go. The recipe from 3 Yummy Tummies is full of gooey cream cheese and cherry pie filling, and the festive shape makes the breakfast even more festive. The best part? You can use refrigerated crescent rolls as the base, so this dish only takes fifteen minutes to prepare! 

Eggnog Snickerdoodles 

Snickerdoodles are a common cookie favorite, but why not make them a little more special by adding a splash of a traditional Christmas drink? The added eggnog flavor makes these perfectly chewy snickerdoodles even better, and the recipe from Amy's Healthy Baking is incredibly simple to follow. An added bonus: each cookie is less than 100 calories, so you can indulge without feeling guilty.

Reindeer Rice Krispies 

Rice Krispie Treats are hardly a unique idea, but you can make them a little more Christmas-themed by adding some cute antlers, eyes, and a button nose. Mique from Thirty Handmade Days turned an ordinary batch of plain Rice Krispie Treats into adorable reindeer. Simple, but downright cute and delicious. 

Grinch Popcorn 

Little kids gobble up popcorn on a regular basis, but they'll get a real kick out of this lime-green treat mixed with red M&Ms and marshmallows. The popcorn looks like something straight out of Whoville, and it's the perfect companion for a family viewing of Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Nancy from Two Sisters Crafting can show you to mix a bowl quickly and easily. 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge 

Sure, everyone loves a classic chocolate fudge, but why not add an extra layer of mouth-watering salted caramel? The Recipe Critic can show you how to bake a batch quickly, and the yummy fudge squares are sure to win the hearts of all your holiday guests. Stick some in a sealed container and gift it to your neighbors or your children's teachers. Trust me, no one will turn down this addictive treat. 

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