Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Rob Corliss
September 15, 2023

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Sweets, whether featured on the breakfast/brunch or dessert menu, serve as a perfect canvas for both complementing and contrasting with spicy flavors. As a result, these innovative fusions have been setting menus ablaze. Swicy offerings make a lasting impression, tempting diners with bold flavors that keep them coming back for more.

Here are six sweets categories primed for swicy implementation, with national menu examples bolstering inspiration.



Gochujang Cheese Danish: Chile crisp, potato, scallions
S.K.Y., Chicago

Fireball French Toast Sticks: Cinnamon sugar French toast, Fireball-infused syrup
The Common Table, Frisco, Texas

Labneh Coffee Cake: Spiced streusel, cherry-pomegranate jam
Suraya, Philadelphia



Hot Honey Butter Cake: Warm, buttery cake with a drizzle of hot honey
Red Rooster Harlem, Harlem, N.Y.

Dessert: Chocolate cake, passionfruit, curry granola
Compère Lapin, New Orleans

Red Hot Chocolate: We make a Red Hot’s icing that is wonderful on chocolate cake, it has a refreshing cinnamon zing!
Piece of Cake Bakery, Portland, Ore.



S’Mores Pie: Dark chocolate, graham cracker, spiced meringue
Everly, Madison, Wis.

Butterscotch & Heath Bar Bread Pudding with Cayenne whipped cream
Blue Collar, Miami

Margarita Lime Tart: Corralejo reposado tequila, triple sec, lime zest, baked in árbol graham cracker crust topped with whipped cream
Rosa Mexicano, based in New York



Guajillo Chile and Lime Crème Brulee: Topped with candied guajillo chiles and lime peel
Bakery Bar, New Orleans

Hazelnut Chocolate Pudding: Piety and Desire chocolate, Urfa shortbread and toasted meringue
Saba, New Orleans

Arroz con Leche: Rice pudding, white chocolate, Rice Krispies, pink peppercorn ice cream
Tzuco, Chicago



Toasted Chile Brownie: Pepita brittle, Mexican vanilla ice cream
Domingo, San Antonio

Big A$$ Cookies: Spicy Hot Chocolate
Muss and Turner’s, Smyrna, Ga.

Ring of Fire Donut: Devil’s food cake with cinnamon sugar, cayenne pepper and a dried red chile pepper
Voodoo Donuts, Portland, Ore.



Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero: Smooth tangy goat cheese ice cream, marionberry jam, complex habanero heat
Salt & Straw, based in Portland, Ore.

Ice Cream Sandwich: Snickerdoodle, chipotle, coffee ice cream, chocolate crunch
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami

Mangonada Churro Sundae: Warm, just-made churros with homemade mango sorbet, fresh mango, salty-sweet-fruity-spicy chamoy drizzle, gooey meringue
Xoco, Chicago




About The Author

Rob Corliss

Rob Corliss is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.