As the calendars flip from fall to winter and the days get shorter and colder, new flavors creep into the kitchen. The winter season is full of distinct spices and decadent deserts. When the temperature plummets, it’s time to heat the kitchen and serve up some delicious meals. Nothing beats curling up on the couch on a snowy day and indulging in some of our favorite winter comfort foods.

With most fruit and vegetables out of season during the colder months, we turn our attention to satisfying our sweet tooth, and enjoying rich and filling meals. Once winter hits, it’s time to loosen the belt buckles. These are the iconic winter flavors and food that perfectly capture the season.

Peppermint

peppermint brownies

Nothing screams winter holiday more than peppermint. Candy canes are the treat to enjoy during the Christmas season. They are not only delicious to enjoy on their own, but also make seriously delicious add ons. Peppermint compliments chocolate extremely well.

Stick a peppermint candy cane in your morning coffee or tea, or sprinkle crushed bits onto chocolaty deserts like the brownies pictured above or on a fresh batch of homemade cookies.

White Chocolate

white chocolate

While we love chocolate year round, when winter hits there is just something special about the richer, more decadent white chocolate flavor. While white chocolate isn’t everyone’s favorite, there is no denying the comfort it brings on particularly frigid days.

White chocolate is a great way to mix up some of the classics. Try out white chocolate brownies (or in this case blondies), or use white chocolate in the next batch of hot cocoa! Here are some of our favorite recipes that calls for white chocolate this winter.

Hazelnut

hazelnuts

Just like pumpkin spice is the coffee flavor of choice for fall, hazelnut flavors really shine during the colder winter months. The rich and unique flavor of hazelnut is perfect for coffee and lattes, but also shines in candy and granola.

Hazelnuts are also jam packed with nutrients, making them a guilt free and healthy option to enjoy during winter. They also pair beautifully well with rich chocolate. In fact, we love them on these insanely delicious chocolate cookies!

Pomegranate

pomegranate

This tart yet sweet fruit really adds an unbelievable pop of flavor to winter. The juicy seeds just burst with flavor, and are great additions to cocktails or smoothies. The tartness also compliments decadent chocolate and deserts, making pomegranate a great topping for cakes and pies.

Another added bonus? pomegranates are jam packed with antioxidants, making them a surprisingly beneficial fruit to enjoy. Whether you’re adding them to a dish, or just eating the seeds on their own, make sure to enjoy pomegranates every winter.

Gingerbread

gingerbread cookies

The iconic cookie of the holiday season, gingerbread isn’t just delicious – it can be really fun too! The perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy, nothing beats whipping up a fresh batch of gingerbread cookies and decorating accordingly. Gingerbread is packed with flavors and spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, brown sugar and more, making for an intensely flavorful treat.

Gingerbread is also a great flavor to use in cakes, pies and candies. The flavors also compliment coffee well, so don’t be afraid to dunk a cookie in your next cup.

Chestnuts

Chestnuts

Another iconic holiday staple, nothing is more aromatic in the kitchen than…you guessed it, chestnuts roasting (on an open fire OR in the oven). But the delicious smell isn’t the only appealing thing about chestnuts. Once cooked, they have a tasty and mildly nutty flavor. Pop them in your mouth one by one, or use on pies, cakes and tarts.

Don’t have a sweet tooth? Not to worry, as chestnuts make great additions to to vegetable dishes. This wild rice with roasted chestnuts and cranberries is an amazing dish to whip up for dinner.

Hot Chocolate

hot chocolate

Nothing warms up a cold day like a steaming cup of hot chocolate. This comforting winter beverage is always sure to be a crowd pleaser, and provides a soothing remedy for icy conditions and frozen toes.

Hot chocolate goes really well with other iconic winter flavors, like gingerbread and peppermint. You can even add a piece of white chocolate to kick the flavor up to dangerously delicious levels.