Cullenary #4: Holiday Candystravaganza

Welcome back to The Shield, and happy holidays to all!

Ed. Note—This is going to be a slightly different article from most. We’ve collected a few of the Shield’s best writers to go head-to-head defending their favorite holiday candies, and at the end of this article, we’ll poll you on what your favorite is.

With that said:

The classic: candy canes.

Candy Canes (Elliot Aguirre)

The candy cane is easily the best holiday candy—it never gets old! They come in all different flavors, as you can almost get any flavor you think of, and they last quite a while before they’re gone. I think the best flavor is probably cherry, but I can think of ten other flavors that are amazing, and they’re in almost every stocking. Furthermore, candy canes have a range of various sizes, which means you can customize your eating experience quite a bit.

Sour Patch Kids (Ian Cullen)

Short answer: They’re good. Long answer: they’re good and you should vote for them.

Hot take of hot takes: Sour Patch Kids, the kings of Christmas.

I know that this may not seem like a holiday candy, given that they don’t have any of the typical flavors like peppermint, ginger, or chocolate. I of course chose these because I love them, and some may even consider this to be a childish choice of mine, but Sour Patch Kids are on my list because they are an all-time great when it comes to stocking gifts.

Sweet and incredibly sour, these guys are an all-time classic during just about any given time, and that includes Christmas.

Hot Chocolate (Sammy Goodwin)

Ah, hot chocolate. Just hearing its name conjures up cozy images of sitting close to a fire, wrapped up in a blanket, after a long day outside in the cold. It is a refreshing, delicious drink, perfect for the holiday season. This is especially true in New York, considering the cold weather and thick snowfall. After trampling through the snow, what is a candy cane going to do for you? I think we can all agree that hot chocolate is the best holiday candy.

You will say, “this is not my beautiful mug.”

What’s that? You don’t think it counts as a candy? You fool. It has chocolate in the name. Just because it’s a beverage it doesn’t count? What are you, thermophobic? Grow up. The future is now, old man. Second of all, you’re a coward. Candy canes? Have fun eating toothpaste. Eggnog? You fiends. Hot chocolate is the drink of champions, the nectar of kings, and the choice beverage of the NFL (don’t look it up).

Consider the flavor. Consider the versatility. Can you put marshmallows in hot chocolate? Darn straight. Can you put marshmallows in candy canes? Please. Whipped cream goes great with that sweet Swiss mix, but not with that poor attitude of yours.

Peppermint Bark (The Morales)

Insert joke about bark vs. bite here.

You know, winter gets a bum rap. Fall gets pumpkin spice everything—pie and coffee was one thing, but when you’ve seen pumpkin spice chicken sausage, you tend to lose your appetite. In general, not just for the particular spice mix.

Meanwhile, in winter, we have all managed to agree that you can eat as much of the beautiful cooling flavor known as peppermint as you want, and stick it firmly under the umbrella of holiday candy. What’s not to love about a delicious layer of creamy white chocolate—please direct your takes on how white chocolate is not real chocolate to [email protected]—flavored with peppermint extract and spread over the half-sharp bite of semisweet chocolate, topped with the sugary and crunchy detritus of well-stricken candy canes? You let it sit in the fridge, get completely solid, and then break yourself off pieces over the course of the next week, devouring them whenever you get a chance, experiencing a mix of warm and cool flavors that autumn simply can’t compete with that easily.

Honestly, you owe it to yourself to make some, and it takes basically no time or effort, except the arm strength you need to appropriately pulverize the candy canes. Go do that now, please. Let me know how it goes. We can compare notes some other time.

Honorable Mentions

While we couldn’t find writers for chocolate oranges or gingerbread cookies, we figure they’re popular enough that they should be options as well. Enjoy, and happy holidays!

What's your favorite holiday candy?

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