Though it may be hard to tell from looking around the SciLi basement, the holiday season is upon us here at Brown. The mail room is playing holiday music, the Ratty has been strung up with garlands, the twinkly lights hanging in everybody's dorm rooms are actually seasonally appropriate, and–most importantly–just down the hill, Knead Doughnuts' holiday flavors have arrived.

If you've ever been to Knead, you know this is exciting news. Just across the river in downtown Providence, Knead Doughnuts makes artisanal, delectable doughnuts year round, with creative flavors like Peanut Butter & Jelly, Brown Butter Pecan, and Passionfruit as well as classics such as Chocolate and Boston Cream. Knead rotates their selection to highlight seasonal flavors–they use fresh and local ingredients, and never any artificial colors or flavors–but their most popular doughnut is a simple classic: Vanilla Glazed. Nothing fancy or over-the-top, just high-quality ingredients made well. No matter what flavor you order, you know you'll be getting something good.

Chris Fethke

You can imagine how excited I was to take the half-mile walk down the hill to Knead Doughnuts–far enough to put some much-needed distance between myself and the SciLi, but still within easy walking distance–to experience traditional holiday flavors in the form of fluffy, delicious doughnuts.

Knead makes three types of doughnuts: brioche, cake, and old-fashioned sour cream doughnuts. They have holiday flavors available of each type, a selection intended to "nail the flavors you think of when you think Christmas," but in fun and creative ways, explains Production Manager Wetherly Rouleau

I went down to Knead (while I should have been studying for finals, but that's a problem for my future self) with some of the team from our Spoon chapter and tried the doughnuts that Knead came up with for the holidays this year. Here's a list of them, ranked from really-freaking-good to wow-this-is-actual-Christmas-magic-amazingness. 

6. Chocolate Frosted

Anessa Petteruti

Though it ranks lowest on this list, let me be clear: the chocolate frosted is a really good doughnut (I took the bite that's missing in the picture; it was definitely not the only bite I had). The brioche dough ferments overnight–when we went in at 10am, the kitchen was already working on the next day's batch–providing it with both an airy texture and a rich flavor. While not as unique as some of Knead's other more holiday-specific flavors, this doughnut is subtly festive (thanks to those adorably tiny sprinkles) and undeniably delicious, making it a classic staple and a solid go-to.

5. Cranberry Pecan Crumble

Anessa Petteruti

The Cranberry Pecan Crumble doughnut was so beautiful I almost didn't want to eat it. Okay, who am I kidding? I never considered not eating it, and it tasted amazing, but you get the point–this is one gorgeous doughnut. Cranberry puree in the glaze on this brioche doughnut provides both a striking color and a sweet-tart flavor, complimented nicely by a rosemary-pecan crumble on top. This was maybe the classiest doughnut I've ever eaten, and certainly among the best.

4. Cranberry Apple Fritter

Anessa Petteruti

While telling myself that tangible bits of apple made this fritter healthy may have been a stretch, they certainly did make it delicious. Like the Cranberry Pecan Crumble, this fritter is made with brioche dough and topped with cranberry glaze, but the apple-cranberry combination and the fritter format–chunks of brioche dough and apple jumbled together, making it particularly conducive to pulling apart and getting a perfect bite every time–land the Cranberry Apple Fritter at a slightly higher spot in the rankings.

3. Mint Chocolate Cake

Anessa Petteruti

The only cake doughnut on this list, the Mint Chocolate Cake doughnut is slightly smaller than those made with brioche dough, though be warned: pretty much every doughnut at Knead is huge. Made from a liquid batter rather than a solid, kneadable dough, cake doughnuts are more moist and a bit more dense–so, in other words, more cake-like. This one is topped with an intensely minty glaze, giving it a tasty and festive finish. At any time of year and in any type of dessert, mint and chocolate are a flavor power duo. At Christmastime in a locally-sourced, freshly-made doughnut, they're magical.

2. Chocolate Gingerbread

Anessa Petteruti

This one was inspired by an employee who makes chocolate gingerbread every year around the holidays and thought it would make a good doughnut flavor. Wow, they were so right. The Chocolate Gingerbread is an old-fashioned doughnut, using sour cream and resulting in a texture slightly less fluffy than brioche doughnuts–but only slightly. Its consistency and texture are quite similar to traditional gingerbread (not gingerbread cookies, but actual gingerbread), but with a crunchier exterior typical of old fashioned doughnuts. The subtle chocolate flavor and the spice in the glaze earn this doughnut its spot at number two on the list.

1. Eggnog Cream Filled

Anessa Petteruti

An exterior of fluffy, sweet brioche dough. Rich, flavorful eggnog pastry cream bursting from inside. A delicate sprinkling of powdered sugar. Not to be too dramatic, but this doughnut changed my life–or at least my opinion about eggnog, which I have spent the past twenty years thinking I don't like. With such an impressive selection, I don't take the number one spot on this ranking lightly, but Knead's Eggnog Cream Filled Doughnut really takes the cake (or, in this case, the brioche).

Knead changes their flavors pretty often to continue highlighting local, in-season ingredients. These holiday flavors will be around until late January or early February, but you can check the Knead Doughnuts website to see what's currently available. Get one of these doughnuts to congratulate yourself for doing well on your finals, or to make yourself feel better after taking a major L. Bring your backpack and study in Knead's airy café, or come to celebrate the fact that you're done studying for a whole month. The holiday season is short, and what remains of this semester is even shorter, so get down the hill and try these doughnuts while you can.

Want More Doughnuts? Check Out:

- All of Dunkin' Donuts Holiday Flavors, Ranked

- Everything You Need to Know About Doughnuts

- Every Guy You Dated in College, as defined by Doughnuts