One of the best things about the holiday season is it becomes totally acceptable for for grown-ups to eat cookies.

Credit: Giphy / Rocket Queen

Because, really, how many did you scarf down over the past month? Wait — no one wants to answer that one. A kinder question: How many different kinds of cookies did you eat? The answer is still probably “a lot.”

There are so many that we had trouble narrowing it down when we put together our Ultimate Holiday Cookie Bracket at the beginning of December. But we did, and came up with 32 cookies that each represented a different Philly tradition. There were butter cookies and snickerdoodles, chrusciki and thin mints, gingersnaps and macaroons.

Credit: Shannon Wink

When it came down to the semifinals, we held a Final Four Cookie Tasting at the Rotunda at the Shoppes at Liberty Place and asked you to sample each one in order to make a more informed decision. The choices: Termini’s cannoli, Famous 4th rugelach, Sarcone’s pignolis and Sweet Box red velvet.

The valiant contenders that made it through to the finals were Sarcone’s Bakery pignolis (classic Italian winter treats made from almond paste and studded with pine nuts) and Sweet Box red velvets, which combine the tang of red velvet dough with sweet white chocolate chips.

And now, we reveal the ultimate winner:

Sweet Box red velvet!

Huge, sugary congrats to Gretchen Fantini of Sweet Box, who runs an adorable bakeshop on 13th Street near Pine, and has also gained legions of fans with the Sweet Box Truck, one of Philly’s first tweeting mobile food vendors. And a big thanks to all the cookie vendors — where would we be without you? — and to everyone who voted. Catch you on the flip side (no “Best New Year’s Diet” bracket, we promise).

Danya Henninger is director and editor of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the membership program. She is a former food...