How to amp up seasonal cookie flavors

meringue cookies
Cater to customer cravings by using in-season ingredients.

From Easter to Independence Day to Halloween to Christmas, seasonal gatherings are often not considered complete until cookies have been served. As a category, cookies are a go-to dessert choice year-round. However, not all cookies are appropriate for every season. Tuning into the flavors your customers crave at different times of the year, monitoring industry trends, and using in-season ingredients can help your cookie sales remain consistently solid.

Fall

Finally, as the days grow shorter and the leaves start to turn, latch onto crisp fall flavors. Some options to consider are spiced tea cookies, classic snickerdoodles, pumpkin chocolate chip bars, chewy molasses cookies with an orange or lemon glaze, and soft thumbprint cookies filled with big puddles of jam. If you’re feeling adventurous, experiment with something like an apple gouda oatmeal cookie, using big chunks of apple and cheese.

Winter

In the winter, customers want rich, decadent desserts. Cookies in flavors like peanut butter fudge, eggnog shortbread, peppermint cream, chocolate chip gingersnap, pecan sticky bun, candied apple, sea salt Nutella, and toasted hazelnut will satisfy their desires. To balance out those heavy flavors, consider also offering something along the lines of a grapefruit sugar cookie. Grapefruits are a winter fruit, and their citrusy flavor works well to mellow out the over-the-top sweetness of traditional sugar cookies.  Lastly, cookies that incorporate alcohol are always a hit for winter holiday celebrations. Try combining bourbon with chocolate and walnuts, or amaretto with butter and almonds.


Chocolate oatmeal cookie
Rich and decadent flavors work best in the fall and winter.

Spring

As the snow melts and flowers bloom, pack up your rich, dark ingredients, and pull out lighter, brighter items. Floral notes are perfect for spring cookies, so think about lining your bakery case with rosewater meringues and lemon-iced lavender cookies. Champagne is also a great ingredient in the spring, and it can be incorporated into the cookie dough, the icing, or both. You can’t miss with citrus flavors, either, and items like lemon bars and lime cooler cookies will fly off your shelves. Finally, play up spring’s pastel color-scheme by experimenting with airy macarons in a myriad of colors and flavors.

Summer

When the temperature rises and the sun shines bright, transfer your focus to picnic-perfect cookies. Vanilla bean bars with a raspberry filling, lemon curd cookies, and brown sugar blueberry cookies are a great addition to any picnic basket. If barbeques are big in your neck of the woods, tempt your customers to top off their backyard parties with watermelon sugar cookies. Chocolate has a place in the summer months too, in cookies such as double chocolate cherry, zucchini chocolate chip, and classic black and white.

By using the seasons as your guide, you can keep your cookie displays fresh, unique, and constantly changing. Curiosity and a satisfied palate will then make sure your customers continue to come back for more.