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Taste test: peppermint treats for the holidays

Move aside, pumpkin: Peppermint has taken over our grocery stores. From biscotti to chocolates to coffee creamers and tea, peppermint is being infused into every treat imaginable, including peanut butter, ice cream, M&M's and cotton candy. Our judges sampled four peppermint-flavored dessert treats to include in their holiday gatherings. They enjoyed all of the options, but every one of the panelists planned to pick up a bag of peppermint Oreo cookies after this tasting. If they don't eat all of the cookies in one sitting, they will sprinkle peppermint Oreo crumbles on ice cream, cheesecake or pudding for a holiday twist.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductJet-Puffed Peppermint Mallows Snyder's of Hanover Peppermint Pretzel Snaps Nabisco Peppermint Oreos Edy's Peppermint Wonderland

Ice Cream

These mini pink-and-white marshmallow pillows would be perfect atop a steaming cup of homemade hot chocolate, judges said. "The peppermint taste is not overpowering, yet it lingers in the mouth," said one taster. "I would use them in peppermint Rice Krispies Treats." Another said, "They have just a hint of mint so as not to take away from the great marshmallow flavor. They would go great with a scoop of rich, dark chocolate ice cream."Tasters said these treats were the perfect combination of salty and sweet, with a pleasant pinch of peppermint topping. "It's just the right balance of mint and salt, too, and has a great crunch to boot," said one judge. Another said he liked the bite-sized, waffle-shaped pretzels because they had plenty of dark chocolate flavor and just enough light peppermint sprinkles. "They are sooooo good," said another panelist. "They would taste great with a party mix, too. I could eat the whole bag."One judge said the pink, peppermint-flavored filling in these Oreos "might make these my favorite Oreos ever." She said, "These are so much better than green-filling, Spearmint ones. They definitely will be a hit." Another added, "Just give me a glass of milk!" Judges spent time trying to figure out ways to incorporate the peppermint Oreos into other seasonal desserts including cakes and pies. "Oh my goodness," said one taster. "These are the perfect crispy, creamy, chocolate and peppermint blend."Several ice cream makers are producing a peppermint version for the holidays. We randomly chose Edy's brand for its reputation for "slow-churned" creaminess. The ice cream scoops looked like creamy mounds dotted with pink confetti. Judges said the peppermint flavor was bold and overwhelmed the vanilla ice cream a bit. "This should be a staple at every holiday meal," said one panelist. "I love the assertiveness of the peppermint," said another. "This would be amazing with a hard shell of dark chocolate."

they buy?
All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information99 cents for a 10-ounce bag from Target.$3 for a 5-ounce bag from Publix.$2.99 for a 10.7-ounce bag from Target.$3.98 for a 1.5-quart container from Walmart.

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Mary Jane Park, executive director of the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District Association; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving sizeTwo-thirds cupOne ounceTwo cookiesHalf cup
Fat/Fiber0g / 0g5g / 1g7g / 0g6g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium16g / 30mg11g / 150mg13g / 90mg16g / 35mg
Carbs/Protein24g / 0g22g / 2g21g / 0g19g / 2g

Taste test: peppermint treats for the holidays 11/30/15 [Last modified: Monday, November 30, 2015 10:05am]
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