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Ah, autumn. The leaves turn from green to golden and a chill nips the air. You instinctually crave warm spices and sweet scents. But as Eater notes, Fall isn’t just about pumpkin spice — the end. There are so many fall food trends to try. So check out these options before the winter sets in.

Cinnamon Apple Cider Donuts

Apple cider donuts are a fall food trend that never goes out of style.

You don’t mess with a classic. Baked or fried, covered with a dripping glaze or tossed in a simple coat of sugar, apple cider and cake make for a fall food trend that shows no sign of letting up. The New York Times recently marked renewed interest in heirloom apples and the fruit peaks in fall, too. So for even more flavor, chop a medium tart apple from as close to home as you can find it, then fold it into your donut batter. Add some cinnamon and you have yourself a classic.

Creamy Coconut

Coconut milk is a new fall food trend

Coconut milk bridges the tropical breezes of summer with the warm spices of autumn, making for a fall food trend that’s friendly to vegan eaters, too. In morning smoothies, swap out summer’s sun-soaked pineapple or mango for cozy cinnamon, spicy star anise, and inflammation-reducing turmeric. For an easy soup, roast pumpkin or a variety of fall root vegetables. And create a puree with coconut milk, curry powder, and a touch of sweetness from maple syrup. Coconut milk and warmer spices sub perfectly into pancake and waffle batter. They can be made even more autumnal in a bath of local maple syrup.

Maple Syrup…On Everything

Try maple syrup on salty items.

Yes, maple syrup might win the battle against apple cider for the fall flavor that reigns supreme when drizzled on waffles, pancakes, or cinnamon rolls. But the sweet syrup deserves a star player roll, too. Countrywide catering businesses like Memphis’ Sweet Potato Baby Catering take up the fall food trend with whole Maple Pecan Pie menu offerings. For a huge pack of extra maple wow, Darren Cameron of Glazed Donut Works in Dallas glazes his Long John Maple Bacon donut with a bed of thick maple icing and an entire strip of applewood-smoked bacon. Each bite combines the sweet and salty goodness, perfect for a fall day.

Adding Some Smoke

A little smoke ups the ante on any fall food.

Smoke is no longer just for summer barbecue. Hand-held chip smokers and torches make it easy to add a gentle tinge of wood smoke to sultry bourbon cocktails, heftier ceviches, and all sorts of sweets. At Rubyzaar Baked in Dallas, the Kashmir Cookie sets smoked almond and smokier Earl Grey tea into a black chocolate cookie. These flavors that practically welcome the transition of darker days ahead.

Tart Cherries (Not Cherry Tarts)

Tart cherries are a great substitute for cranberries in any dish.

Grown in the USA through September, these bright, colorful tart cherries are a fall food trend step-up from traditional cranberries. They’re lower in sugar and higher in antioxidants than their sweeter counterparts. They easily make for a healthier snack. Substitute fresh tart cherries wherever you’d think cranberries or sweet cherries would suffice. They’re perfect in side sauces, pie filling, or as the bright contrast to cheese in savory apps. Dried tart cherries work best atop rice pudding, yogurt, and salad bowls. Or, fold some into cake batter or homemade granola.

Sweeter Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a classic fall food trend.

Sweet potatoes are a classic fall dish, and probably make you think of Thanksgiving. But ramp up the sweet in your sweet potatoes with a new fall food trend. For a dish that screams fall, roast diced sweet potatoes in a light coating of oil and salt. Reduce down some maple syrup with walnuts or pecans. And then pour the sauce over the roasted roots. For a twist on classic pumpkin pie, puree the lot and sub the same ratio into your recipe. The bright orange color alone is reason to take the bait.

Pumpkin Spice

Add pumpkin spice to everything.

Okay, so you can’t actually talk about fall food trends without mentioning pumpkin spice. The flavor is here to stay because, well, everyone loves it. You can find it in salsa, nutrition bars, and kettle corn. More and more products hit the shelves every day, so you simply can’t avoid it. Don’t try. Embrace your love for pumpkin spice all season. Everything will feel right in the world.

Which fall food trend do you think better deserves time on these crisp autumn days?

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Written by:

Jacqueline Raposo

Jacqueline Raposo is a food writer and podcast producer based out of New York City. She has written features and columns for clients including Saveur magazine, Plate magazine, Tasting Table, Serious Eats, and The Village Voice, and produced audio stories for Heritage Radio Network and Live from Prince Street. When not reporting about or eating food, you can find her in Riverside Park with her dog, Mitra, working off the prosciutto.

Posted in: Trends in FoodNeed to Know

Tagged with: Catering, Food Trends, Healthy, Treats