Dessert Tour Part Three: New Twists on Classic Desserts

June 2, 2014
Dessert Flavor Ingredients Trends

Pamela and I selected a variety of trendy restaurants and shops in Chicago to explore and scout their sweet flavor combinations, menu items and unique creations. We wanted a first-hand look at dessert trends and flavors, and we were not disappointed!

During our tour, we noticed five clear trends:

3. Twist on the Classics

4. Local/Sustainability

5. Simplicity

This report looks at #3: Twist on the Classics. You can follow the links above to read earlier reports in the series.


Classic flavors provide people with a sense of security because they know what to expect. Now, when they want to step out and try something new, a flavor or dish that builds on a classic can provide enough security to persuade them to take the plunge. Twists also bring new life and interest to offerings that perhaps are a bit tired or just don’t jump off the menu at customers because they’ve seen it so many times before. Adding a twist can elevate it from ordinary to interesting.
OUT ON THE TOWN: Highlights From Our Sweet Adventure

These were menu items we saw that took classic desserts like pumpkin pie and then shook them up a bit, adding character and flavor interest.

Sweet Mandy B's

- Pumpkin Pie with Meringue: Food & Wine features their version of this dessert on their website and calls the meringue topping a “retro yet elegant” twist to a classic.

- Snickerdoodle Cake: This past winter introduced readers to snickerdoodle cake in an article on family recipes. The author, Rebecca Orchant, explains why the humble, tried-and-true snickerdoodle causes great hub-bub in her family, bringing grown men to their knees. It’s not the classic cookie you’re imagining, dear reader: “This snickerdoodle is a cakeSnickerdoodle cake.”

Pumpkin Cabinet Pudding (bread pudding with yellow cake and pumpkin): We were made at Sweet Mandy B’s by Applications Technologist Jenna Grigalauski from FONA’s Confections team. She ordered the pudding — they were pulling a fresh batch from the oven right before our eyes — and was so smitten with the flavors and textures, she went home and baked her own!

Mindy's Hot Chocolate

- Brioche Doughnuts with Hot Fudge and Caramel Corn: This creation is a combination of classics, put together to create a sweet, salty, warm and chocolaty temptation that surely isn’t your typical doughnut.  

- Taffy Apple: Granny Smith apple frozen nougat, cider caramelized apples, cornnut poppycock, cider consommé: This one is interesting, as the traditional taffy apple has been deconstructed — and rebuilt with decidedly more upscale elements — creating an entirely new way to think about the classic apple treat from your childhood. 

Katherine Annes Confections

- Peanut Butter, Banana, Bacon Truffle (the “Fat Elvis!”): PB, banana and bacon make for an Elvis-favorite sandwich we’re all familiar with, but what if those flavors were in a truffle? Deliciousness, that’s what.  
- Bourbon and Ginger Caramel: Classic caramel gets all sorts of flavor twists at Katherine Anne, including bourbon & ginger and rosemary & sea salt, as well as their new 7 Layer Bar caramel containing cacao nibs, graham streusel, toasted coconut and peanut butter.

Katherine Anne Confections Spring Season Flavors

- Truffles: Fig Newton, Margarita, Lemon

- Caramels: 7 Layer Bar

- Marshmallows: Pink Lemonade, Lady Grey (tea)

For more menu and flavor inspiration - click below to check out a few of the places we visited on
our tour!

Stay tuned for the next dessert series report on local/sustainability!



Let FONA’s market insight and research experts translate these trends into product category ideas for your brand. They can help you with concept and flavor pipeline development, ideation, consumer studies and white space analysis to pinpoint opportunities in the market. Our flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. We understand how to mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution. From concept to manufacturing, we’re here every step of the way. Contact our Sales Service Department at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or visit