One of my favorite holiday treats (and believe me, I have a lot of favorites) is back on the shelves at gourmet grocer Trader Joe's: Candy Cane Joe-Joe's, the cookie sensation that miraculously combines the minty crunch of candy cane with the sweet convenience of a chocolate sandwich cookie.

Candy Cane Joe-Joe's are a tasty yuletide twist on the Oreo. (I'll take regular chocolate-and-vanilla Joe-Joe's over standard Oreos any day -- Trader's cookies are made with natural ingredients, and you can taste it.)

The cookies' particular flavor combination -- crisp peppermint, chocolate and creamy vanilla -- also holds some Christmas nostalgia for me. They taste a lot like a seasonal dessert my mom makes, from a family recipe she got from her grandmother: Itís a sort of peppermint cookie log, made by crushing candy canes, folding into real whipped cream, and then spreading between and around a stack of old-fashioned chocolate wafers.

Like the sweet holiday season, Candy Cane Joe-Joe's can't last forever. They're available for a limited time, and in limited quantities. Last year, after I got hooked, I couldn't find the things about half the time I went to Trader's. Once, when I asked, a friendly staffer said he had just restocked the shelves that day -- and he was surprised when I told him the shelves were empty. They had been cleared out in just a few hours!

So far this year I've scored during every visit, and I've been smart -- I've got a stockpile of Candy Cane Joe-Joe's in my freezer that should last well into January.

Trader Joe's 3888 Townsfair Way, Easton 614-473-0794 Web:

Trader Joe's 6355 Sawmill Rd., Dublin 614-793-8505 Web: