Wherein We Try Every Holiday Peppermint Treat

Dec 20 2013 - 4:45pm

The Christmas season is making an bigger appearance than ever with the abundant limited-edition, peppermint-flavored sweets filling grocery store shelves. We raided the aisles to bring you the very worst and best of the holiday-themed candies, cookies, chocolates, and more. (To show you just how many chocolate-minty treats are on shelves right now, we crammed some of the manifold treats together to create the ultimate holiday peppermint explosion.) See how each one of them fared when you keep reading.

M&M's White Chocolate Peppermint

Eek, M&M's White Chocolate Peppermint [1] ($3) has it all wrong. The chocolate tastes fake, the candy is too sweet, and the mint flavoring is just bad. Avoid at all costs. Save the sugar and calories for something delicious . . . like something further down the slideshow.

Trader Joe's Peppermint Bark

Trader Joe's [2] Peppermint Bark ($10) comes in four thick squares of chocolate that, no matter how much force is applied, do not break up into bite-size bark pieces. The chocolate itself is waxy and bitter. This is no bark worth touching.

Hershey's Candy Cane Bar

We don't have time for imitation treats! Hershey's Candy Cane Bar [3] ($1) tastes disappointingly fake. Where's the white chocolate? The product is sickeningly sweet.

Peeps Candy Cane Flavored Marshmallows Dipped in Chocolate

We love Peeps, but add cheap, waxy chocolate to the mix, as in these Peeps Candy Cane Flavored Marshmallows Dipped in Chocolate [4] ($3), and it ruins the whole thing.

Hershey's Kisses Candy Cane

We know the same chocolate is used across all Hershey's products, but the iconic shape and stripes of the Kisses make the flavor's shortcomings more forgivable than in the chocolate bar. The sprinkles in Hershey's Kisses Candy Cane [5] ($3) add an element of surprise and textural contrast. We'd snag one or two if we saw them in a candy bowl.

Edward Marc Peppermint Snowflake

Though pretty and expensive, Edward Marc Peppermint Snowflake [6] ($5) didn't blow us away in the mint department. We found it more decorative than delicious.

Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark Marshmallow

We found ourselves digging through the coating of the Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark Marshmallow [7] ($20) to get to the fluffy, vanilla marshmallow, which we argue is the only good part. The peppermint on top is soggy and the chocolate coating is too thick. Instead of buying a two-in-one, buy the vanilla marshmallows and the peppermint bark separately, and eat them together.

Theo Coconut Mint

Coconut lovers will enjoy Theo Coconut Mint [8] ($3) for its prominent coconut flavor, slightly bitter chocolate, and nice meltability. There's only a subtle menthol-y aftertaste, so don't expect a huge mint flavor.

Trader Joe's Mini Peppermint Waffle Cookies

While a noble attempt, the Trader Joe's [9] Mini Peppermint Waffle Cookies ($3) have a cinnamon-flavored waffle that we're not quite sure goes well with the chocolate and mint.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Roca

The Dark Chocolate Peppermint Roca [10] ($1), though strange in theory, tastes weirdly satisfying. The roasted toffee flavor is studded with peppermint and has a fresh, crunchy flavor.

Pretzel Crisps Dark Chocolate and Peppermint

Though fans of the white chocolate flavor, we found that the flavors in the Pretzel Crisps Dark Chocolate and Peppermint [11] ($3) compete too much. It's a stretch to pull off pretzel, dark chocolate, and mint in a balanced way.

Gourmet Peppermint Twists Marshmallows

With an old-school peppermint flavor, Gourmet Peppermint Twists Marshmallows [12] ($2) have a refreshing, cooling aftertaste. The pillowy texture is near perfect, with just enough chewiness.

365 Chocolate Candy Cane Sandwich Cremes

Compared to Joe-Joe's and Oreos, 365 Chocolate Candy Cane Sandwich Cremes [13] ($4) fall short. The generic brand has a smaller cookie, less filling, and less mint flavor than the others.

Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Tea

This Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Tea [14] ($3) is no plain mint tea. It has a distinct, sweet peppermint candy flavor and the addition of vanilla, cinnamon, and orange peel. We'd sip on it all season long.

Ghirardelli Squares Peppermint Bark With Dark Chocolate

Though the mint flavor of Ghirardelli Squares Peppermint Bark With Dark Chocolate [15] ($4) is pleasant and not too sweet, the texture is extremely waxy.

Trader Joe's Peppermint Pretzel Slims

The Trader Joe's Peppermint Pretzel Slims [16] ($3) have a white-chocolate coating and saltiness that make us want to reach our hands back into the bag for more. The only downside is they aren't pepperminty enough.

Candy Cane Tootsie Pop Drops

The Candy Cane Tootsie Pop Drops [17] ($2) are colorful and would look nice in a candy bowl. The peppermint part tastes just as minty sweet as classic starlight mints but with a chewy tootsie roll core.

Fatty Sundays Smooth Mint

Equal parts minty and messy, Fatty Sundays Smooth Mint [18] ($7) tastes like it has Andes chocolate mints crumbled atop a pretzel. However, we hankered for a crunchier coating.

Hershey's Peppermint Bark Bells

The dark chocolate in Hershey's Peppermint Bark Bells [19] ($3) helps temper the sweetness of the white chocolate. We love the adorable shape and the crunchy sprinkles.

Pop Rocks Candy Cane

We detected something like cherry in the Pop Rocks Candy Cane [20] ($1). While there is some sort of minty flavor in the rocks, they are predominately fruity. We still enjoy the fizzy sensation, as always.

Jet-Puffed Peppermint Mallows

Classic in Jet-Puffed flavor and texture, the Jet-Puffed Peppermint Mallows [21] ($1) have a slight, subtle mint flavor that is kid-friendly.

Oreos Candy Cane

Oreos Candy Cane [22] ($4) have a cute holiday design, refreshing minty flavor, and subtle and crunchy candy cane pieces. Though not as good as Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's [23], these red-and-white cookies are still quite delicious.

Pretzel Crisps White Chocolate and Peppermint

Salty-sweet Pretzel Crisps White Chocolate and Peppermint [24] ($3) satisfies with its creamy white chocolate coating and generous peppermint topping.

Jif Whips Whipped Peanut Butter and Chocolate Mint

Peanut butter, chocolate, and mint surprisingly work in these bipartisan cookies [25], so we had no hesitation diving our spoons into Jif Whips Whipped Peanut Butter and Chocolate Mint [26] ($5). Light and mousse-like in consistency, the peanut butter, mint, and chocolate are balanced and don't overpower each other. A tub of this is likely to go fast.

Theo Peppermint Stick

Like an expensive red wine, Theo Peppermint Stick [27] chocolate bar ($3) has sophisticated layers that bloom. It's indulgent, slightly acidic, and rich. The mint hits you on the back end, and one square is likely to satisfy in a sitting.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe-Joe's

The most indulgent peppermint treat goes to Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe-Joe's [28] ($4). The dense shell is a little too thick for our liking, but the flavors themselves are insanely delicious (albeit rich).

Milano Slices Peppermint

Dark-chocolate fans, please meet Milano Slices Peppermint [29] ($3). The thick dark chocolate coats the Milano cookie half, then crunchy peppermint pieces top the whole thing.

Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch

Though the shell lacks the crunchiness promised in the title, Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch [30] ($1) are just as oozy and minty as ever. Here's a pro tip: pop them in the freezer, and then enjoy while watching a Christmas movie with the family.

Trader Joe's Mini Dark Chocolate Mint Stars

Cute and festive Trader Joe's Mini Dark Chocolate Mint stars [31] ($3) could brighten up any holiday party. The teensy shortbread cookies remind us of Mother's Circus Animal [32] cookies in the best way ever. There's only a subtle hint of mint, making them kid-friendly.

Dove Peppermint Bark

Melt-in-your-mouth Dove Peppermint Bark [33] ($4) has, hands down, the smoothest texture to beat. The addition of crunchy peppermint pieces simply sent us swooning.

Milano Minis Candy Cane

Ever eaten a whole bag of Milanos? Yeah, so have we. The next bag with no chance is certainly Milano Minis Candy Cane [34] ($3). The precious size, creamy texture, peppermint flavor, and buttery cookies make us instant fans.

M&M's Holiday Mint

M&M's Holiday Mint [35] ($3) reminds us of those pastel chocolate mints that used to be served by the bowl in restaurants and hotels during the '90s. Beyond having nostalgia in their favor, the M&M's have a mild, sweet mint flavor that we love.

Peeps Peppermint Marshmallow Stars

Peeps Peppermint Marshmallow Stars [36] ($2) have a crushed peppermint exterior that paves the way to puffy mallow heaven.

Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark

The price tag for Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark [37] ($27) sure hurts, but the contents inside nearly make up for the blow to your wallet. With big chunks of crunchy peppermint, just the right proportion of dark and white chocolate, and a nice meltability, just try it to believe.

Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's

Oh, boy — when these hit shelves, prepare to stock up. Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's [38] ($3) have double the creamy stuffing, crunchy pieces of candy cane, and such delicious flavor that we could plow through a box in a sitting.

Peppermint Sundae

Bonus! We combined only the best peppermint and candy cane treats to form an outrageously delicious peppermint sundae, complete with Oreos Candy Cane, Peeps Peppermint Marshmallow Stars, M&M's Holiday Mint, Dove Peppermint Bark, Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch, and Milano Slices Peppermint.

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