Winter is here, and with the colder weather it brings, this is the season for dishes that offer warmth and comfort. Chefs of the Mills, General Mills’ team of culinary experts, recently shared its top picks for on-trend recipes.

The company’s Winter Trends 2022 Report features nine recipes created for foodservice that are sure to comfort and delight diners, including revamped Wellingtons, elevated cinnamon rolls and new deep-fried takes on favorite baked goods.

“As we approach winter and a festive time of year, it’s important to offer comfort food that also sparks joy,” says Jessie Kordosky, who is part of the Chefs of the Mills team and monitors trends. “We hope these recipes will inspire operators to reimagine some classics with new flavors and forms to surprise and delight their customers this season.”

The elevated cinnamon rolls trend gives operators the inspiration to wow guests with unexpected yet familiar flavor combinations and presentations of these elevated cinnamon roll ideas. Among the recipes General Mills Foodservice offers include Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls, Candied Apple Crunch Cinnamon Rolls, and Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding. All three of these options provide a simple, yet effective upgrade over the traditional cinnamon roll.

Chef Kevin Relf, another member of the Chefs of the Mills who worked on the recipes, elaborates on how operators can leverage one of American's favorited baked goods in new and creative ways across the menu. He says that winter ingredients such as ginger, carrots, pears, apples, caramel, s’mores, and warm spices pair well with cinnamon.

“We are seeing the pairing of savory ingredients with cinnamon rolls, such as bacon, squash, carrots, nuts, etc.,” Relf says. “We know operators are always looking for ways to offer something unexpected yet familiar to their customers, so we offer a variety of twists on the classic cinnamon roll. There are always going to be customers who want a traditional cinnamon roll, but it is fun to see more creative presentations with cinnamon rolls pop up, whether it is creative flavor combinations and toppings or new forms.”

Relf says that for the Carrot Cake Cinnamon Roll, he enjoys and wanted to showcase the combination of carrots, ginger, and warm spices in a cinnamon roll. For the Candied Apple Crunch, he wanted to play off the caramel apple flavor and add texture through the cinnamon toast crunch. Finally, for the Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding, he wanted to highlight a way for operators to utilize day-old cinnamon rolls. He suggests that instead of throwing them out, keep a bag in the freezer for leftover cinnamon rolls, and when enough are accumulated, you can run a special.

Sarah Jampel of King Arthur sees cinnamon rolls trending towards big, bold flavors that haven’t necessarily been showcased with the product before.

“I’ve seen cinnamon rolls with a bright-green matcha glaze and others rolled up with sweet tahini paste,” she says. “I feel like I’m seeing more and more cinnamon rolls that are “decorated” too, with things like sprinkles, dried flowers, etc.”

Jampel also says that big, fluffy cinnamon rolls are in style, as well as cinnamon rolls that are naturally leavened with sourdough starter. King Arthur is about to publish a recipe for a giant cinnamon roll that’s baked in a cake pan but as one huge spiral (rather than several individual cinnamon rolls). It’s served by slicing it into wedges, like a cake.

At Dawn Foods, Chef Melissa Trimmer and the culinary team have worked on pairings such as orange cinnamon rolls, carrot cake cinnamon rolls, and confetti cinnamon rolls. Trimmer says that you can change up the ingredients on the inside of the roll, such as rolling up birthday cake sprinkles instead of cinnamon or using fresh berries to make a berry roll. She also suggests boozy and new, unique flavor combinations are trending the most heading into the winter season.

“Pecan bourbon sticky buns, toffee peanut bacon sticky buns and pineapple upside-down cake sticky buns are the perfect treats to share after holiday dinners and parties,” she says.