Desserts that bring the party, but not the fuss – The Denver Post

By Alison Roman, The New York Times

Cookies have always had a monopoly on holiday desserts, which is great if you’re into cookies. But in my opinion, tiny, delicate, ornamental desserts are a touch anticlimactic at the end of a holiday meal.

For cocktail parties and giftable tins, of course, roll and bake to your heart’s content. But after a giant ham, I’m looking for something that shouts “celebratory abundance!” Something that encourages a mix of intimacy and bacchanalian behavior. Something tall and dramatic to be sliced and shared and eaten without forks or plates, a giant bowl of something rich and creamy eaten with several spoons at once. (We’re all friends here, right?)

Here are four holiday desserts that capture that vibe without trying too hard. (There are no bûches de Noël.) Equal parts festive and fuss-free, they’ll leave you with plenty of time to focus on that ham.

Salted Chocolate Pudding With Whipped Sour Cream

Johnny Miller, The New York Times

Alison Roman’s unfussy salted chocolate pudding with whipped sour cream, in New York, Oct. 7, 2019. Here are some holiday desserts that are equal parts festive and fuss-free, and shout “celebratory abundance!” Prop Stylist: Cindy DiPrima (Johnny Miller/The New York Times)

If there is something more fun than eating a comically large bowl of chocolate pudding layered with whipped cream and crushed cookies with a very small spoon, I don’t want to know about it.

While you can absolutely make and serve chocolate pudding in individual cups, there is something delightfully communal about sharing one giant vessel, and to me that’s part of what makes it holiday-spectacle worthy. The vessel can be nearly anything you want, be it trifle bowl or baking dish, but I will say this pudding is best when whatever you choose is tall and deep so you can build as many layers as possible.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Total time: 45 minutes, plus 3 hours’ chilling


For the pudding:

  • 8 ounces/225 grams bittersweet chocolate (65% to 70%), finely chopped
  • 3 cups/720 milliliters heavy cream
  • 3 cups/720 milliliters whole milk
  • 1/3 cup/30 grams cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups/300 grams sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup/45 grams cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

For assembly:

  • 3 cups/720 milliliters heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup/90 grams powdered sugar
  • 3 cups/720 milliliters sour cream
  • 12 ounces/340 grams thin wafer cookies, such as gingerbread, vanilla wafers or chocolate wafers
  • Flaky sea salt


1. Make the pudding: Place chocolate in a large bowl; set aside.