The iconic dessert from your state

The iconic dessert from your state

  • October 25, 2020
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Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like dessert? We all know classic American treats like chocolate chip cookies, brownies and myriad pies but many of these delicious dishes have a fascinating history that’s not widely known. We take a look at how they came to be among the most iconic desserts in every US state. Don’t read while you’re hungry – you’ll want all of these.



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Although the name is South American (you’ll find versions of the dish in Chile, Peru and others), the dish much loved in Arizona is Navajo in origin. The light and crispy dough that’s fried and served with sweet toppings has evolved from the traditional Navajo fry bread. A simple combination of flour, baking powder, butter, water and milk, the dough is rolled thin and cut into triangles or squares before frying. The golden dough shapes are then topped with sugar, cinnamon and sometimes honey.



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Not strictly a dessert, but snickerdoodle cookies deserve a special mention. An old-fashioned delicacy consisting of sugar, cinnamon, butter, eggs and flour, Connecticut’s favorite treat has a buttery sweet flavor and a cracked, slightly crispy outside. German in origin, it’s thought the original recipe was brought to New England by early German immigrants and is still a top sweet treat in the state centuries later.



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Designated Delaware’s official state dessert in 2009, peach pie and its accolade is a direct result of the success of peach farming and its roots in the state. Delaware has a long history of growing this delicious fruit and while the number of orchards has dwindled over the years, most locals have a treasured family peach pie recipe or two.



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As the official pie of Florida, the key lime pie celebrates the state’s famous citrus product. Named after the Florida Keys, where the pie is thought to have been invented, the zesty and tangy dish is a drawing card for locals and tourists alike. Although you’ll find it on dessert menus throughout the state, you want to make sure it’s made with fresh, hand-squeezed key lime juice and topped with whipped cream just before serving.



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Nobody does this dreamy combination of sweet, juicy peaches covered with a comforting blanket of batter quite like the Peach State. Popular throughout the Deep South, peach cobbler is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in Georgia. You’ll be able to pick up a traditional peach cobbler pretty much anywhere in the state, but make sure you get to try both the caramelized edges and the gooey center.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



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They might be German or Dutch in origin, they’re either called peppernuts or pfeffernusse, but these crunchy cookies are Kansas through and through. Brought to the state in the 1870s, the small, spiced cookies are now a Christmas staple available in most bakeries in the state throughout holiday season as well as baked at home. The cookies are especially fragrant as the dough contains spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, pepper and star anise.



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The country’s leading producer of wild blueberries, Maine has also designated blueberry pie as the state’s official dessert. And it’s hardly a surprise when pretty much every Maine family has a prized blueberry pie recipe. What’s so special about their pie? The berries are smaller, brighter and more intensely flavored than commercially popular highbush blueberries, so the pies are not only bursting with flavor but are also an intense dark color.



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The official state dessert of Maryland, even though it’s not that commonly made in the rest of the state, Smith Island cake is a simply irresistible creation. Originating from Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay, the cake features six to 12 layers of bright yellow cake with rich chocolate icing layers in between. The icing then slowly seeps into each of the cake’s layers, making the finished product one of the most moist and delicious cakes you’ll ever eat.



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Although there are many variations of chocolate cake around the world, the Mississippi mud pie has to be among the best. This ridiculously rich chocolate cake is as thick and as dark as the mud covering the banks of the Mississippi River, hence its distinctive name, and is made with a rich chocolate sauce on top of a crumbly chocolate crust.



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Traditionally made in St Louis, there are several claims to the creation of the cake, but all seem to point in the direction of a baker who made a mistake by reversing the proportions of butter and flour of regular cake batter. The result is a flat and dense cake with a super sweet cream cheese layer on top. Sticky, chewy and velvety, gooey butter cake is usually served with coffee and is still much loved in Missouri.



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Nebraska might be better known for savory foods like runzas (filled dough pockets) and pork tenderloin sandwiches, but kolaches, hailing from Central European immigrants, are just as popular. Czech in origin, kolaches are small semi-sweet pastry buns resembling mini pies. The middle is then filled with fresh fruit or fruit jellies often featuring either berry flavors or prunes and apricots. Today there are even three annual festivals dedicated to this sweet bun.



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While an array of savory Tex-Mex dishes might spring to mind when thinking of food in New Mexico there are some outstanding sweet treats too. Named the official state cookie, biscochitos are as New Mexican as green chilies. A simple combination of cinnamon, sugar and star anise, these cookies have a superb melt-in-your-mouth texture and are essential to any kind of celebration, from weddings and anniversaries to graduations and Christmas.



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A classic New York cheesecake features a rich, creamy, vanilla-flavored topping sitting on a thin sliver of a simple biscuit base. And it’s a lot harder to get the ratio of ingredients right than you might think. The secret lies in the heavy use of cream cheese that contributes to the cake’s signature dense texture and rich, distinctive flavor, which is also influenced by sour cream and fresh lemon juice. It’s then usually topped with either a strawberry or cherry sauce.



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The spiritual home of the humble sweet potato (North Carolina grows the most sweet potatoes in all of the US), North Carolina gets to claim this much-loved pie. Way back when, the fishermen in the Outer Banks would often start their day with a slice of filling and nutritious sweet potato pie and the love for this state staple hasn’t gone anywhere. Ask anyone from North Carolina and they’ll claim to have the best sweet potato pie recipe.



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Ohio satisfies its sweet lovers with buckeyes, peanut butter fudge pieces dipped in chocolate to resemble the nut of the Ohio buckeye tree. Deliciously addictive, they’re a cross between peanut butter fudge and peanut butter cups. The actual candy is a sweet peanut butter dough dipped in chocolate and the recipe originates from sometime around the 1960s.



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Oregon is renowned for its berries and one of the state’s signature dishes is the marionberry pie. Known as the cabernet of blackberries, they’re a cross between two types of blackberries predominantly grown in Oregon and have a complex tart flavor. The berries are also larger, sweeter and juicier than regular blackberries, meaning the pie simply tastes divine. There has been some discussion about crowning marionberry the state berry of Oregon, but so far it’s not been made official.



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Another sweet fried dough, this is Rhode Island’s treat of choice. No carnival, fair or street party is complete without a doughboy stand serving these fried treats still piping hot. Surprisingly, the treat was born out of a pizza kitchen. Not really attributed to one inventor, doughboys are actually flattened pizza dough disks but instead of adding tomato sauce and the usual toppings, these disks are deep-fried and served with a generous dusting of powdered sugar.



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Sorry, banana pudding, but Tennessee stack cake is unbeatable. Born out of the preservation culture and hardship of the people living in the Tennessee Appalachian Mountains, stack cake often just looks like a big pile of pancakes, but it’s a lot more than that. A labor-intensive cake, it’s built from layers of rather hard and dense disks of baked dough and dried apple slices with sugar and spices. The cake is then wrapped and left in the fridge at least overnight.



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The official state pie might be apple pie, but there is one flavor that Vermont is known for across the world and it’s maple syrup. While just the syrup doesn’t make a very good dessert, a maple creemee definitely does. Essentially, maple syrup-flavor soft serve ice cream, no one is really sure where and when it originated, but it’s been around for ages and is a much-loved treat not only in Vermont, but elsewhere in New England too.



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Another pastry introduced to the US by European immigrants, kringle was originally a pretzel-shaped Dutch invention. Brought to Wisconsin in the late 1800s, kringle became an instant hit. The recipe was tweaked slightly and the version still popular today is oval-shaped with icing on top. The original filling is almond but versions with berries or nuts are also widespread. You’ll find some of the best ones in Racine, dubbed the kringle capital of the world.



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51/51 SLIDES

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