The final months of the year always make us crave comfort and coziness. Even in Texas, where dreams of a white Christmas won’t come true (or at least, after last year’s freeze, we sure hope they won’t), we long to curl up on the couch with a steaming mug of cocoa, flick on the string lights, and, if not get a fire going, at least put a candle in the window. The hygge mentality also shows up in wintertime food, as decreased daylight hours in the winter months have us chasing the dopamine hit of sugar. Enter Christmas cookies and assorted chocolate boxes and candy canes.
All across Texas this month, food purveyors from H-E-B to the tiniest artisanal specialty markets have rolled out their holiday cheer, their cakes and jellies, their red and green mints. Look for these festive holiday-themed groceries on store shelves and online.
Cafe Olé Holiday Blend Coffee
For the duration of the holiday season, you can find seasonal coffee flavors at H-E-B such as—in increasing order of festiveness—Pan Dulce, Chocolate Cheer, and Christmas Kiss Cherry Chocolate. The medium roast is smooth and a little bit sweet, and the holiday flavors will add some cheer to your morning cup.
Christmas Morning Coffee Cake & Champagne Jelly
Online at The Jelly Queens of McKinney
Former MasterChef contestant Donna Collins Yamini and fellow chef Cameron Spencer are the Jelly Queens of McKinney, whipping up jellies and jams from organic, “locally and ethically sourced” ingredients. The Jelly Queens offer a slew of holiday treats, including the delicious-sounding mouthful known as Christmas morning cranberry honey caramel pecan coffee cake (in-store pickup only) and champagne jelly, the perfect spread for ringing in the new year.
Neighbor’s House Grocery, Fort Worth
This family-owned, “chef-driven” grocery store is selling homemade bonbons in fifteen holiday flavors such as eggnog, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, peppermint mocha, and gingerbread. With its picture windows, artful displays, and rustic feel, Neighbor’s House Grocery is one of those stores that makes you want to linger, so while you’re there, check out the other holiday offerings—bite-size tea cakes decorated like Christmas tree ornaments, hand-pressed apple cider, and pumpkin-spiced or cranberry granola.
Creamy Creations Candy Cane Ice Cream
The grocer’s “Select Ingredients” products are free of high-fructose corn syrup, synthetic color additives, and other artificial things, so you can feel good about eating as much of this candy cane–flavored ice cream as you want. Red and white candy cane bits add crunch to this cool peppermint ice cream, which H-E-B will sell until the end of December or until the supply runs out—whichever happens first.
Eggnog Ice Cream
Online at Blue Bell Creameries
Crank up your thermostat and celebrate with some ice cream from the mother of all Texas ice cream companies. Blue Bell rolls out Christmas Cookies (chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and sugar cookies in sugar cookie ice cream with red sprinkles and a green icing swirl) and Peppermint (peppermint ice cream sprinkled with peppermint candy) every year, but this year it’s adding one more to the holiday roster: eggnog-flavored ice cream with flecks of nutmeg and a whipped topping swirl.
Jenny Wren Truffles
The festive packaging on these truffles from the U.K. make them a wrapped-and-ready gift for the holidays. Jenny Wren Chocolates is a subsidiary of the century-old chocolate company Beech’s Fine Chocolates, so why not buy these for the vegan in your life? Beech’s uses natural, gluten-free ingredients and fair trade cocoa.
Jimmy’s Food Store, Dallas
Panettone, a sweet bread from Milan, is among the most traditional and beloved Italian holiday treats. Jimmy’s, a small neighborhood Italian grocery store in Dallas, imports it every holiday season from northern Italy. Through New Year’s Day, Jimmy’s is also selling a few more quintessential Italian holiday treats: pandoro (simply put, panettone without the fruit), torrone (a bar of stick-to-your-teeth nougat), and panforte (a chewy fruit and nut dessert from the province of Siena).
Holiday Sherbet Mints
Online at Lammes Candies
The Lamme family started its candy business in Austin in 1878, and it’s been going strong ever since. Lammes Candies prides itself on its deep Texas roots, making its allegiance known with bluebonnet-colored wrappers and an Austin Signature Collection of chocolates. This holiday season, the family is selling refreshing red, white, and green holiday sherbet mints. These soft, creamy wafers will look great in a glass bowl on your holiday table.
Nancy Adams Holiday Peppermint Bark Tin
These festive red and white tins of peppermint confections make delicious stocking stuffers or holiday-season dinner party gifts. Dark chocolate, white chocolate, and crushed peppermint make for a cool, wintry sweetness on the tongue, perfect for a light dessert after that big holiday turkey.
Maple Pecan Pie
In Texas, nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a pie featuring the state nut, which grows from the state tree. Why go to the trouble of baking the state pie of Texas when H-E-B has you covered? Freshly made in-house, this maple pecan pie fuses the classic decadence of sweet filling with the crunch of pecan topping. Take it home, pop it in the oven, and no one has to know you’re not a pastry chef.
Sjaak’s Holiday Chocolates
Rabbit Food Grocery, Austin
Austinites can head to vegan market Rabbit Food Grocery for holiday chocolates from the organic, family-owned chocolate company Sjaak’s—think peppermint bark, chocolate trees, chocolate Santas, or a Holiday Assortment Pack. Locals can also buy Sjaak’s chocolates and other seasonal treats (hello, vegan Advent calendars!) from Rabbit Food Grocery’s website and pick them up or have them delivered.
Red and Green Tortilla Chips
Online at Xochitl
Founded in Dallas in 1995, Xochitl, with its assortment of crispy chips and tangy salsas, is a staple on Texas tables. Until the end of December, chips and salsa lovers (that’s everyone, I think) can order bags of Christmas chips to serve at holiday parties. Just heat up some queso and you’ve got a crowd-pleaser. Or, if you want to stick with red and green, dress up the chips with salsa, guacamole, and diced red and green peppers.