Looking for a fun and stress-free way to gather friends and family this holiday season? Host a dessert party.

Everyone likes to indulge a little, and the holidays are the perfect excuse. Hold an open house so friends can come and go, or make it an "after" party where folks can gather after a play, concert or other event.


Here are three of my top decadent holiday desserts

1. Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle

What a showstopper! This trifle makes a pretty presentation, and, I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate and peanut butter? A trifle is great to serve a crowd since it can easily be doubled or even tripled. Plus, this is a make-ahead recipe, so it's one less thing to do on party day. While guests serve themselves, you can enjoy the party.

2. Red Velvet Cheesecake

You will love my holiday twist on this classic luscious dessert. And it's another one that can be made ahead of time and kept in the freezer. Just pull it out before the party, and you're well on your way to a stress-free event. You can also wow your friends with my White Chocolate Cheesecake topped with Raspberries, which you can find online at thehealthycookingblog.com/easy-white-chocolate-cheesecake. Since cheesecakes freeze well, go ahead and make several so that when you need that unexpected gift, you will be prepared.

3. Holiday Bars

This is the perfect bar cookie for this time of year, with lots of good "holiday" ingredients, like dried cranberries, white chocolate and pecans over an easy gingersnap crust. Bar cookies are easier to make than regular cookies and a real timesaver because you make them in just one pan.

Here's some trim and terrific holiday tips:

  • If you don’t have a trifle bowl, use a large glass bowl so you can see all the layers for a pretty presentation.
  • Use the chocolate pie crust from the store. (If you'd rather make your own, I've included the recipe with the Red Velvet Cheesecake.)
  • Besides my cookbooks, trim and terrific treats make great gifts. 
  • At dessert parties I like to serve flavored coffee and always have a pot of decaffeinated available.

Holly Clegg, best-selling national cookbook author of the trim&TERRIFIC & Eating Well cookbook series, specializes in easy, healthy, everyday recipes. Visit her website, The Healthy Cooking Blog. Follow her on facebook.com/HollyClegg, instagram.com/holly_clegg and twitter.com/hollyclegg. Email her at holly@hollyclegg.com.