It's the holiday season and retailers everywhere are battling for peoples money left and right. And food vendors don't want to be left out in the cold either so they constantly strive to come up with holiday themed foods to entice people to plunk down their dough for their Christmas product. Some can be inspired while others just add green or red colors, which doesn't take much thought (I'm looking at you Oreo) or they add, ugh, peppermint to some chocolate and call it a day. Yuck. Again, see Oreo. And peppermint bark is its own special hell to me. Ghirardelli Chocolates is known for it and the SO loves it but me--ick. I have, however, succumbed to several other holiday food treats that fortunately for me only come out once a year, otherwise I would be as big as Santa from scarfing it down on a daily basis. Herewith, then, are a three of my favorites. First up is red velvet chocolate milk put out by Target.
Upon first hearing about this I was dubious to say the least, but after trying it, I was magically surprised. Yes the main ingredient is chocolate milk with a heavy dose of red food coloring but something about has that red velvet cake taste and it is literally like drinking cake batter. That's a good thing, like eating raw cookie dough, this stuff is delicioso! Now to get all Sandra Lee on you there are ways to make it even better. One is to add a shot of brandy to an 8 ounce glass, it's a great alternative to egg nog--and very smooth. Other options include warming it up or freezing it to serve like an ice cream. And if you want to go all out, take half a tub of whipped cream cheese and mix it with 1/4 cup of powder sugar and a pint of heavy whipping cream. Mix it till it's frosting like then you put a table spoon or dollop on top of either warm, frozen or cold and it will be like the cake plus the frosting in liquid form. If you have sweet tooth this will definitely satisfy it several times over. Next are fudge iced gingerbread men from Trader Joe's.
These little cookies are like ginger crack--you just can't stop eating them--so I have found out to my waistlines despair. Yet we've gone through 4 boxes in the last 2 weeks. The cookies are crunchy on the outside and chewy inside with bits of candied ginger inside the cookie. They have a very strong ginger taste, one that borders ever so slightly on bitter but is pulled back by the fudge icing on the back. Together it makes these cookies a must have taste treat. If only the Trader Joe's were closer to my house I could get more, but then again maybe it's a good thing it's not. Finally I now take a stand for what I call--In Defense of Fruitcake.
Yes I like fruitcake. It gets a bad rap and has many a joke written or cartooned about it. I think one of the problems is people eat too big a piece. You wouldn't eat a whole stick of butter (well most people wouldn't) and you shouldn't eat a whole log of fruitcake. It is meant to be enjoyed in small squares. I like Claxton's version and I have also enjoyed the ones made by Hostess (but sadly that company is going away). Maybe it's the candied green and red cherries that throw people off or maybe it's too sweet, which it is, but that is just another reason to try small pieces. I would suggest you also heat a small square for 20 seconds in the microwave and try it warm, it adds a whole new layer of flavor. You can also add a teaspoon of brandy or dark rum to soak through it a bit to give it a little kick if one is so inclined. Either way I don't think folks should just shudder and refuse to try a piece. Full of nuts and fruit the right fruitcake can be a delicious treat in small doses served warm or cold with a cup or cider or cocoa and I think they will come away with a whole new appreciation for it.
There you have it, my favorite holiday treats to eat and expand your waistline at the same time! But remember, these are holiday releases and once the new year comes these will disappear and not be available until the holidays come knocking again next year. So stock up now! The milk may not last very long but the fruitcake will and so will the cookies as long as you don't open the box, once you do--well, I guess you will just have to eat them all.