Abby: Hit the Spot

From Ghirardelli’s iconic holiday bark squares to Dairy Queen’s candy cane-flavored Blizzard of the Month, one flavor has always ruled my holiday season: peppermint.

When I found this Christmas staple on Crumbl Cookies’ revolving menu one crisp December morning, I knew the treat—the Peppermint Cupcake cookie—would be my first of hopefully many purchases at Normal’s new gourmet cookie shop.

As I inched up the white- and pink-painted bakery’s inevitably long line, slowly nearing the flavors of the week arranged on a glossy counter by the register, it became evident that I was a Crumbl first-timer.

No amount of website stalking could have prepared me for the impressive height and nearly snow globe-sized circumference of my target cookie: a chocolate base brimming with Oreo crumbs, topped with a swirl of peppermint cream cheese frosting and candy cane shavings.

Fortunately, from an aerial view, the cookie looked exactly as advertised on the Crumbl website—a welcome anomaly in a world of misleading food presentation.

For nearly five inches and four servings of perfectly spaced peppermint swirls, the cookie’s price tag—an initially daunting $4.88—suddenly seemed less deserving of a place on Santa’s naughty list.

Of course, the true test of the product’s merit would be its fittingness for the man in red himself—its taste.

After hearing countless Crumbl customers rave about the bakery—reviews that the cookie’s refreshing mint scent only reinforced—I anticipated that first bite like a five-year-old in bed on Christmas Eve. This was my first foray into Crumbl’s outside-of-the-gift box cookie variations, so my opinion of the franchise as a whole was on the line.

With one taste of the rich holiday treat, I knew: I would return to Crumbl for seasons to come.

The first few bites of the classic chocolate and mint pairing were perfection.

The cookie itself was delightfully fudgy, a flavor the dusting of Oreo crumbs highlighted flawlessly.

The frosting struck a nice balance between mint and cream cheese, a pairing that could be tragic if mixed in the wrong proportions. Even the candy cane pieces, included mostly for aesthetic, were well-chopped to create a satisfying, but not excessively hard, crunch.

For the first few bites, that is.

Several bites later, like countless well-meaning children, the treat began to enter the gray area between naughty and nice—but the bakery promotes cookie cutters designed to split their massive treats in fourths for a reason.

After eating about a quarter of the cookie, the dense base becomes overwhelming, and the peppermint frosting begins to resemble sticky toothpaste. Holiday decorations and lights are destined to be stuck to rooftops in December, but holiday desserts stuck to the roof of your mouth…not so much.

Still, the cookie’s progressively worsening quality can be chalked up to user error.

The entire premise of the franchise and its iconic cookie cutters is for consumers to test its experimental flavors in sharable, fractionated quantities—not to consume all 680 calories of cookie in one sitting.

Claiming the cookie begins to worsen after exceeding one serving is like complaining an Elf on the Shelf is defective after Mom and Dad forgot to move it.

As long as one uses the product properly—one serving at a time—and leaves the rest of the dessert to be savored later, Crumbl’s Peppermint Cupcake Cookie deserves nothing less than a spot on Santa’s tray.