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Taste test: new peppermint, eggnog and other seasonal holiday treats

We tried the latest holiday treats so you can enjoy the sugar, spice and everything nice and avoid a lump of coal in your stocking this season.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Before you deck the halls with holiday cheer, get a sugar high with some seasonal treats. There are many ways to get your peppermint or sugar cookie fix—and these snacks offer up a far superior range of flavors compared to the wave of pumpkin overkill before it. But not every treat is jolly. We took on the tough job of sampling some sugary confections ourselves. From minty meltdowns to runny nogs, here are the busts and musts this holiday season. 

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Winter taste test

Cranberry Sage Triscuits

Cranberry Sage Triscuits

Off the bat, one person stated the obvious: Who wants sweet and salty triscuits? That said, topped with a bit of cheddar, these weren’t so bad, so we’ll keep them around for holiday cheese plates this season.

Candy Cane Hershey Kisses

Candy Cane Hershey Kisses

The bits of candy cane crunch were pleasant, but not enough to offset the waxy white chocolate flavor.

Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses

Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses

These are the superior seasonal Hershey kisses. They have a rich truffle texture and are almost on Andes mint level in taste. 

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Holiday Mint M&Ms

Holiday Mint M&Ms

The mint didn’t come through with these M&Ms. They’re inoffensive overall, but one taste tester compared the experience to eating candy after using mouthwash.  

Peppermint Oreos

Peppermint Oreos

It's unanimous. These are better than regular Oreos, akin in flavor to a Thin Mint. That said, we wish these cookies had a bit of candy crunch in them. 

Chips Ahoy! hot cocoa cookies

Chips Ahoy! hot cocoa cookies

Sometimes a soft cookie is perfect, like one fresh from the oven. But a soft packaged cookie comes off soggy and tastes uncooked, and sadly that's the fate of this cookie company's latest endeavor. We also weren’t fans of the fake marshmallow taste, which, oddly enough, also had a crunch.

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Nonni's cranberry chocolate biscotti

Nonni's cranberry chocolate biscotti

We can’t quite explain it, but we didn't like this surprisingly savory tasting snack. The cranberries were too small too. 

Nonni's gingerbread biscotti

Nonni's gingerbread biscotti

This was a bazillion times better than the cranberry chocolate biscotti, but what we really learned is we just don’t like packaged biscotti. 

Maxwell House Cinnamon Spice

Maxwell House Cinnamon Spice

Despite measuring out more than suggested, this tasted weak and lacked any discernible spice flavor. Maxwell House suggests using it with coffee as creamer, which at least would give it some backbone. 

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Celestial Seasonings sugar cookie tea

Celestial Seasonings sugar cookie tea

If you like warm water that smells like a cookie but has no flavor, we’ve found the tea for you. 

Cracker Jack holiday sugar cookie popcorn

Cracker Jack holiday sugar cookie popcorn

Remember those frosted animal crackers you ate as a kid? Now they come in festive holiday popcorn form. These also give off a vanilla birthday cake Lip Smackers vibe. 

Chex Mex Peppermint Muddy Buddy

Chex Mex Peppermint Muddy Buddy

As Puppy Chow fans, we had high hopes, but Chex missed the mark with a total lack of chocolate to balance the powdered sugar. It's Chex with a faint peppermint taste, a weak substitute for puppy chow. 

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Junior Mint peppermint crunch

Junior Mint peppermint crunch

Why try to improve on candy perfection? We love regular Junior Mints, and although the addition of candy cane crunch was nice, these had a grainy feel.

Pillsbury peppermint icing

Pillsbury peppermint icing

This smells like something went wrong. You know the gritty toothpaste at the dentist? This could easily stand in for that. It reminded us of paste. 

Graeter's peppermint ice cream

Graeter's peppermint ice cream

Creamy and refreshing, this ice cream has the perfect amount of perfectly sized hunks of candy. It tastes like peppermint without being offensive, and it was a tasty treat we’d enjoy again. It's one of the few things that won’t remain for long in our office freezer.

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Eggnog Kefir

Eggnog Kefir

The tartness takes away any rich fattiness of eggnog, leaving us with regular old kefir, which we love, but we felt left out in the cold with the promise of nog. 

Southern Comfort Eggnog

Southern Comfort Eggnog

It’s got a booze flavor, but no booze. That just makes us sad. While one person said it made them feel “all Christmas-y inside,” most of the staff wished for homemade instead. 

The Christian Brothers Holiday Nog

The Christian Brothers Holiday Nog

If you like thin eggnog with a cheap booze burn aftertaste, grab this. 

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