Martha Stewart's Absolute Favorite Dessert Recipes
Over the course of her career, Martha has shared hundreds of recipes for meal-ending sweets—but which are her all-time favorites? When pressed, she narrowed it down to these 32 recipes. That might seem like an unwieldy number but taking a closer look at her picks for desserts greatest hits reveals certain themes. Martha's preferred treats often come in the form of cookies or bars, though she also loves a good layer cake. Of course, lemon makes a number of appearances.
A good portion of Martha's round-up reads like a who's who of American classics, from chocolate chip cookies and brownies, to strawberry shortcake and apple pie (and surely these desserts would be on anyones list?). And her picks span all seasons, whether you've got a bounty of summer fruits (rhubarb, peaches, plums, nectarines, blueberries, apricots, you name it) or are looking for a warm and cozy treat on a chilly night.
It's also a crash course in dessert fundamentals. Pick a recipe and you just might learn how to make pâte à choux (necessary for making Cream Puffs with Pastry Cream and Maple-Espresso Glaze—as well as profiteroles); or pâte brisée, the flaky pastry that makes Martha's apple pie so spectacular (well, three different kinds of apples—and lots of them—also contribute to its magnificence). There are also crepes, meringue-based seven-minute frosting, and other recipes that you'll use again and again, in myriad ways.
Whether it's a birthday, a holiday, or just a regular Wednesday night, there's definitely a dessert on Martha's best-of list that'll fit the bill, deliciously so.
Alexis's Brown-Sugar Chocolate-Chip Cookies
This beloved recipe comes from Martha's daughter, Alexis. The batter produces very flat and crisp chocolate-chip cookies. Use an ice-cream scoop to ensure even baking and uniform size and remember that they spread wide on the pan during baking.
Old-Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies
A classic lemony flavor; a chewy texture; and glistening, crackly tops created with a double sprinkling of sanding sugar—these large cookies have it all.
Martha likes the beautiful drawn icing decoration on these red, white, and blue cookies.
These delicate, crumbly cookies hail from the Normandy region of France and are delicious plain, dipped in dark chocolate, or sandwiched with jam. Once you have a handle on the basic recipe, try adding almonds, orange zest, or other flavorings. This recipe is adapted from Martha's book
Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies
Zesty Lemon Bars
This recipe can be used as the basis for any crepe creation. (The buckwheat variation has a heartier texture and a more robust flavor and is best paired with savory fillings.)
Red Velvet Cupcakes
With its distinctive look, this popular cupcake is a top contender for favorite flavor.
White Layer Cake with Lemon Curd Filling
Coconut Layer Cake
A towering creation of tender sour-cream cake, coconut filling, and piles of fluffy frosting, this dessert is the last word in coconut.
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
More sophisticated than the average carrot cake, this tall layered confection is altogether irresistible.
Edward Kostyra's Birthday Cake
This orange-curd-filled cake topped with Mrs. Milman's chocolate frosting was Martha's father's favorite. Make it as a birthday treat for someone special in your life.
Classic Angel Food Cake
Devil's Food Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Sour Lemon Cake
Mile-High Apple Pie
Mile-High Lemon Pie
New York Crumb Cake
Cream Puffs with Pastry Cream and Maple-Espresso Glaze
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
Pear Brown Bettys
A Betty is a spiced fruit dessert with buttered breadcrumbs or a cake-crumb topping that turns golden brown as it cooks. Martha's individual Bettys have two layers of Bartlett pears. In between and on top is a blend of torn sourdough bread, butter, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a splash of apple cider.
This dessert has British origins: a crumble is a blend of berries or other fruit with a textured sugary topping, often with oats, the result is all but synonymous with a crisp. Martha's individual crumbles include rhubarb, strawberries, and raspberries nestled under an oatless blend of butter, brown sugar, flour, salt, and grated orange zest.
Usually sweetened with brown sugar or molasses, a pandowdy is a fruit dessert that's closely related to a pie though without the bottom crust. Its pastry top is broken with a spoon halfway through cooking so the collapsed bits soak up the juices and soften. For ours, we used brown sugar and apples and raisins laced with cardamom and allspice.
A classic grunt is a dumpling-topped fruit dessert that's cooked on the stove; it is often called a slump. Martha's grunt has blackberries and raspberries that are simmered together. Then dollops of ginger-spiked dumpling batter are added to the pan, to steam in berry juice. Give everyone a dumpling and a splash of heavy cream.