We Tried All Of Jeni's Holiday Ice Cream Flavors, So You Don't Have To

There are plenty of reasons to love the holiday season but when it comes to dessert, more often than not, we tend to get Scrooged. The ubiquitous cement block Christmas fruit cake has long been a culinary punchline, yet unlike the previously scorned Brussels sprouts, we somehow haven't come up with a solution to make it palatable. Then there's gelt, Hanukkah's answer to the sugary scourges that are Easter Peeps and Valentine's Day Conversation Hearts. The sad sack of waxy, flavorless gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins taste more Madame Tussauds than Willy Wonka. And don't get us started on that evil temptress the gingerbread house, which offers a cookie, candy, and frosting feast for the eyes, rather than the stomach.

Luckily, craft ice cream sensation Jeni's has gifted us a holiday dessert miracle. Its winter seasonal flavor assortment, which will be available online, at Jeni's scoop shops, and at select retailers nationwide starting November 4, is like a delivery from Santa Claus, or Hanukkah Harry — or whoever your present provider may be.

To be clear, these are some pricey pints — the five-pack Splendid Holiday collection will set you back a cool $68. But if you're looking to treat a friend, family member, loved one, or even yourself, there are plenty of worse ways to melt your money away.

Here's the scoop on what Jeni's has to offer for this coming holiday season.

White Chocolate Peppermint

White chocolate and peppermint tend to be polarizing, but that's certainly ideal for winter because, you know, "polar." Unlike that "joke," this spin on mint chip ice cream actually delivers, even if you're a hater of either flavor.

The knock against white chocolate tends to be that it's way too sweet (which it is), but in this case that works in its favor. It needs to pack a punch when paired with the aggressive cotton candy pink peppermint swirl (just like the container, the ice cream itself has a candy cane-like appearance), which is made with actual peppermint oil, which means it doesn't leave that phony toothpaste aftertaste in your mouth. Instead, each cooling bite is like a breath of fresh air. It's almost like a creamier version of the interior of a York Peppermint Patty.

This big bold battle of flavors is essentially the ice cream version of a heavyweight boxing match and it's thankfully far more Muhammed Ali slugging it out with Joe Frasier than Jake Paul against anyone who chooses to beclown themselves against Jake Paul. Like a pair of protective boxing gloves, the addition of mini white chocolate "freckles" and just a touch of salt helps to soften the blow and ensure that your taste buds don't get completely knocked out.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

New York's famed Serendipity 3 may have put Frozen Hot Chocolate (or rather, Frrrozen Hot Chocolate) on the map, but we don't recall it tasting as good as Jeni's Mexican Hot Chocolate ice cream. Indeed, this isn't like your standard mug of hot chocolate because, well, it's cold. Obviously. But there's also a welcome South of the Border spin, which will delight fans of Nestlé Abuelita or your actual abuelita's superior hot chocolate recipe.

Let's start with the milk chocolate base which may ruffle the feathers of cocoa connoisseurs who prefer the depth of dark chocolate. Enter cinnamon and cayenne, the "Mexican" portion of this equation, and neither addition is subtle. You'll feel the spice of the cinnamon immediately as it smacks your palate on impact. Next, the cayenne will begin to grip the back of your throat and hold on for dear life. If you're a fan of custard, get ready, because the mouthfeel is especially thick and luscious. Put it all together and Mexican Hot Chocolate is a cool treat that definitely brings the heat.

Pistachio Macaron

If you're scratching your head over the inclusion of Pistachio Macaron in a Holiday package, well, our scalps are raw too. Don't get us wrong, this was quite an enjoyable pint, especially considering we're big proponents of pistachio ice cream. The nuttiness in this one is at absolute peak intensity, which we love. Perhaps, most importantly, the taste is authentic thanks to the addition of actual freshly roasted, ground pistachios. We've come across plenty of imposter pistachio scoops before and this is the real deal.

As for that macaron billing, that's another perplexing feature of this flavor. Perhaps there's almond in there, but that wouldn't stand a chance against the full-throated pistachio presence. And when we couldn't detect the signature chew of the trendy French cookie, it brought us back to that tragic day we learned Santa was just a myth. (Kids, if you're reading this, that's just another one of our terrible jokes.)

The Grinchy green (perhaps that's why it gets the holiday tag?) and rich yellow swirled ice cream does contain a notable hint of honey which makes us wonder whether baklava would have been the more appropriate baked good reference. In other words, fix the name, make this a year-round release, and we'll have nothing to complain about.

Cognac with Gingerbread

We applaud Jeni's for going the holiday booze route while avoiding the ho ho humness of eggnog, winter's answer to pumpkin spice. Be advised though, that the liquor addition is an extremely light touch that tends to be overwhelmed by the abundance of add-ins. (Cognac fans may want to supplement this ice cream with a pour of Remy Martin or Courvoisier.) Strangely, the ice cream is kinda bananas, as in the actual fruit flavor. That turns out to be a benefit, as the thick swirls of sweet and salty caramel that are laced throughout the pint compliment it nicely. (The resulting flavor profile reminded us of bananas foster.)

Though we bemoaned the fact that you don't actually get to eat a gingerbread house, that may actually be for the best, considering the fair share of bland, tooth-shattering gingerbread people we've consumed over the years. But in this case, Jeni's made the wise move of going with gingerbread cake, and the plentiful pieces scattered throughout the ice cream are miraculously soft as if they were freshly added to the mix. More good news, the sweet spice of ginger is notable without being overbearing.

All in all, this one definitely put us in the holiday spirit.

Sugar Plum

Just like that choice present under the tree or piled by the menorah, we've saved the best for last. If you're familiar with "The Nutcracker," "Twas the Night Before Christmas," or Lou Reed, you're well-versed in the sugar plum. Or perhaps not. While you may reasonably assume that the term has to do with an extra sweet stone fruit, it's actually a reference to comfit, which happens to be the crunchy, sugary coating (think the exterior of M&M's) that houses a nut, seed, or spice scrap (via National Geographic). Well, sorry old-timey candy geeks, this is not that.

It is, however, delicious. The base is sweet and slightly fruity with a super silky mouthfeel and texture that borders on Marshmallow Fluff territory. (According to the label, the actual ice cream flavor is plum wine sweet cream, and we'll just have to take Jeni's word since plum wine has never entered our imbibing repertoire.)

Once again, Jeni's delivers big time on the add-in front. The addition of amaretto cookie tastes freshly baked, offering a booze-soaked almond rush in chewy bite-sized pieces. But it's the jammy swirl of plum that ties it all together like a neat little bow, offering tangy relief from its sweet counterparts. Sugar Plum is a walk on the ice cream wild side that is absolutely worth taking.