The holidays bring out the very best in fast food restaurants (and sometimes in their customers who can be more easily shamed into not behaving like dingleberries in long lines), especially when it comes to seasonal drinks and desserts of the minty, eggnoggy and gingerbread-y type that we don't have access to the rest of the year. And absence makes the heart and digestive system grow fonder. Here's our list of the top five 2012 fast food holiday items. If only there was a holiday-themed McRib. Maybe if everyone asks Santa this year?
5. Peppermint Pinkberry
People are far less likely to be diet-nazis during the holiday season, and although Pinkberry does have lower cal frogurt options, once you blanket your cup in caramel sauce and cut-up candy bars you are pretty much f*cked. This year's holiday season is being made just a bit brighter with Pinkberry's lovely pink-hued peppermint frozen yogurt -- fantastic by itself -- but even better smothered in chocolate sauce and crushed peppermint bark candy. (Don't bother resisting.)
4. Starbucks Caramel Brulee
With the salted caramel food trend at a peak, it's actually refreshing that Starbucks is offering something caramelly but different than its roster of other holiday beverages. This sweet, burnt-caramel latte is a fine addition to its pantheon of already-insanely-popular ones like the peppermint mocha, white chocolate mint mocha, gingerbread and eggnog lattes, and whatever Frappuccino flavors the elves at Buckies conjure up to keep us all coming back to get coffee three times a day, every day.
3. Chick-Fil-A Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake
It is an absolute pity that the powers-that-be at Chick's are continuing to be homophobic jerk-asses down to their mistletoenails, because their minty, chocolate-chippy shake is super-delicious. But alas, not one of these frozen treats will touch my lips this year -- or any other year -- until the anti-gay Scrooges put an end to the fowl play at Chick-Fil-A.
2. Sonic's Red Velvet Cheesecake Blast
I didn't think it was possible for Sonic to top its already-famous menu of pie and cake-flavored shakes, but churning red velvet cake batter ice cream and cheesecake bites into a shake at the same time? Sonic should get some sort of award for coming up with the most decadent, diet-skewering, miraculous frozen dessert treat of the 2012 holiday season.
1. McDonald's holiday pies
The first time I ordered a couple of holiday pies from McDonald's I was surprised to discover they were not pumpkin, gingerbread, eggnog or mint-flavored. They are an odd, confetti-candy sugar cookie crust filled with warm vanilla custard, and by traditional standards, not holiday-ish at all. But after the first bite of the first pie I was in the throes of a permanent pudding-lust, and I can't make it through the drive-thru with buying at least four of these weird little creations -- two for now, two for later.
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I barely-legally stalk the McDoo up the street from my house starting around Halloween, and I'm usually one of the last customers to order them every January, and I was even more delighted this year to find -- after extensive Googling -- that I am far from the only jacked-up obsessive customer who goes way overboard with the holiday pies. There are a lot of us, and we are well on the way to being an actual cult following. Now there's a happy holiday notion that is equal parts creepy and endearing.