Top 8 Best Limited-Edition Holiday Treats Appearing on Grocery Store Shelves NOW

Categories: Season's Eating

yuckfruitcake.jpg
Photo by Matthew Bietz
Just kidding, fruitcake is NOT on the list.
Fall has always been my favorite time of year, partially because I long for the first cold front and the changing of the leaves, and partially because fall and winter foods are my absolute favorites.

As a child, I'd look forward every year to when chocolate oranges would reappear on grocery store shelves and gingerbread-house kits would find their way to my kitchen table. Then there was everything pumpkin-flavored and filled with seasonal apples and overflowing with walnuts, pecans and chestnuts. Even now that I'm older, I still get excited by the first seasonal beers to hit the shelves or stores that sell eggnog with actual bourbon in it.

So sorry, spring and summer. I love your Easter candy and fresh fruit and whatnot, but fall and winter totally have you beat, foodwise.

If you're not convinced, allow me to present the following arguments.

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Photo by Steve Nakatani
It's not clear why candy canes are that shape, but man, is it handy.
8. Candy Canes
Peppermints are great and all, but you know what's even better? Peppermints with handles. Peppermints with handles that come in flavors other than peppermint. Seriously, if you don't like peppermint, there's another flavor of candy cane out there that you're bound to dig -- from chocolate to Sriracha. According to the textbook Introduction to Food Science, the candy cane was invented in Cologne, Germany, in 1670. A choirmaster had sugar sticks made to keep his young singers quiet when they weren't performing, and in order to give them more of a religious twist (pun intended), he bent the warm sugar sticks to form the shape of a shepherd's crook. That sounds a little far-fetched to me, but if it took noisy kids and murky religious symbolism to bring us the holiday season's most versatile candy, then I'll buy it.

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Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Get it before it's gone!
7. Anything with pecans
Pecan season is usually September through February, which means it peaks in November and December. And since Texas is one of the largest pecan producers in the country, we tend to have pecan products everywhere during the holidays. I'm partial to homemade pecan pies, so my favorite grocery store pecan product is Blue Bell's Spiced Pumpkin Pecan ice cream. It's available only in the fall, and it's a dream for anyone who loves pumpkin (sorry, I will never be over that flavor) and good ol' Texas pecans. Even with the price of pecans going up this year as a result of a poor growing season and increased demand from China, my beloved Blue Bell Spiced Pumpkin Pecan ice cream will still be around $4 for a half-gallon.

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Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Nothing warms you up like apple cider on a chilly day.
6. Apple Cider
H-E-B now has entire shelves and end caps devoted to huge jugs of apple cider ready to take home and heat up for a soothing seasonal treat. Starbucks also makes a caramel apple cider, but I find theirs a tad too sweet, so I tend to stick to the grocery store variety with the least amount of sugar. Central Market has fresh cider in the refrigerated juice section with as few additives as possible for the purest apple taste. And, of course, everyone knows the best way to consume cider is to heat it up in a mug with a cinnamon stick for stirring and maybe top it with a dollop of just-whipped cream. Oh, and this should all be done while sitting in front of a fireplace and listening to Christmas carols. Just sayin'.



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10 comments
kimmyog
kimmyog

Excellent list. I'd add to the eggnog craze: Eggnog Coffee Creamer. Logically it doesn't make sense because you just might as well add eggnog to your coffee, but man is it exciting to see.

JMTexas
JMTexas

Pfeffernusse...anyone?

pennylove
pennylove

You forgot my favorites, you grinchy little hobbit woman!

Panettone (dreamy with butter after a quick toast in the oven)

Lebkuchen (Spec's has a great variety-- dark chocolate covered, frosted, plain) 

Stollen--German Christmas cakes better than fruitcake

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@pennylove Hobbit woman? I'm 5'5" thankyouverymuch!

But you're right, there should be some lebkuchen on the list. All of these things are available at H-E-B or Kroger though. I don't think the average grocery store carries lebkuchen, does it?

pennylove
pennylove

@KaitlinS @pennylove 

Spec's and Fiesta have a good selection of all these. Central Market too probably if you want to pay more.

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