The Signature Sweet Treat of Every State

  • Every state has its own most famous dessert.
  • Apple pie is arguably the most American dessert, but New Hampshire is particularly fond of it.
  • Brownies were invented in Illinois, while Boston cream pie is the official dessert of Massachusetts.
Key lime pie is one of the biggest draws for visitors to the Florida Keys.

1. Lane cake in Alabama

Lane cake, a bourbon-soaked layer cake with coconut pecan frosting, is perhaps the most well-known Alabama sweet. Emma Rylander Lane, of Clayton, Alabama, received first place for her dessert at a Georgia state fair. Since then, the meal has become a regional favourite across the South. According to PBS, she published the recipe in a book in 1898.

2. Baked Alaska in Alaska

It’s no secret that baked Alaska is a popular treat in Alaska. Though it’s often thought to have originated in the 49th state, the dessert was actually created by French chef Charles Ranhofer in New York. The Culture Trip claims that the chef first served the flambéed dessert in 1867, when the United States commemorated the acquisition of Alaska.

Despite the fact that it was not originated in the Last Frontier, Google Trends shows that Alaska has more searches than any other state for the sweet treat.

3. Buelos, Arizona

Desserts made with fried dough balls called buuelos have their origins in Spain but have become famous in Arizona. Powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar is a common topping for the doughnuts.

4. Fried pies from Arkansas

Fried pies, warm and flaky pastries often filled with fruit like peaches or apples, are a staple in Arkansas.

5. Fortune cookies in California

While fortune cookies are often associated with Chinese food, they may have been brought to the United States by Japanese immigrants.

In the 1920s and 1930s, when chop suey restaurants first began to gain prominence, many of its owners were Japanese immigrants.

One Japanese American business owner in California started giving customers cookies with secret thank-you notes in 1914. It was during this time that cookies were first offered to American diners as a “dessert” option.

6. Colorado Peach Cobbler with a Palisade View

Colorado is known for its delicious Palisade peaches, yet the state does not have an official state dessert. The Palisade, Colorado-grown peaches are versatile enough to be used in a variety of baked goods.

7. Cider apple doughnuts from New Haven

An apple cider doughnut is the quintessential autumn treat in New England. You can get apple cider donuts at orchards around the Northeast in the fall, but Connecticut is where you’ll find the most variety.

8. Pie with peaches, from Delaware

Peach pie is the official state dessert of Delaware, and the state’s agricultural economy relies heavily on peaches. In the words of the state government: “peach growing is an essential element of Delaware’s agricultural past, since the peach was brought to Delaware in Colonial times and grew as an industry in the nineteenth century.”

Six million baskets of peaches left the state in 1875, the greatest year for exports.

9. A slice of Key lime pie from Floralina

Florida Keys tourism is mostly driven by the region’s famed Key lime pie. What’s Cooking America claims that the earliest mention of Key lime pie in the United States was in the nineteenth century. To be fair, the recipe wasn’t formally recorded until the 1930s.

10. The State Dessert of Georgia Is…Peach Pie

Since Georgia peaches are so well-known, it’s little wonder that peach pie has become the state dish of the “Peach State.” Peaches cultivated in Georgia are said to have “excellent taste, texture, appearance, and healthy properties,” according to State Symbols USA.

11. Malasadas of Hawaii

Malasadas have their roots in Portugal, but you can find them all around Hawaii. Traditional Portuguese fare was introduced to Hawaii by Portuguese labour migrants around the year 1878. Donuts with a light, powdered coating may be found at any number of modern bakeries throughout Hawaii.

12. Potato ice cream Idaho

You may know Idaho for its potatoes, the state’s most popular staple food, but you may not realise that Idaho also has a sweet potato specialty. Vanilla ice cream is moulded into a potato shape, dusted with cocoa powder, then filled with whipped cream and additional toppings to create an ice cream potato. The confection is often offered at fairs and other outdoor gatherings.

13. Brownies in Illinois

Historians of food generally agree that the brownie was probably invented by the cooks of Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel. Forbes states that the Palmer hotel’s Bertha Palmer requested a dessert that could be readily packed and delivered in boxed lunches from the pastry chefs.

Despite not being named “brownies” at first, these sweet treats eventually became a bake sale mainstay.

14. Sugar cream pie from Indiana.

In 2009, sugar cream pie was declared to be the official pie of Indiana. The What’s Cooking America recipe calls for a mixture of creamed butter, maple or brown sugar, a pinch of flour, and vanilla-flavored cream for the pie’s filling. Pie is said to have originated in Indiana’s Amish and Shaker communities.

15. Iowan: Caramel corn

It should come as no surprise that sweet popcorn and kettle corn are Iowa’s specialty, given the state’s reputation as a corn producer. In reality, the Iowa Corn Board claims that the state ranks first in corn output in the United States.

16. Peppernut cookies from Kansas

According to Kansas! Magazine, German Mennonite and Russian immigrants introduced peppernut cookies from Europe to Kansas in the 1870s. Many households in Kansas now bake the spiced cookies every year for the holidays.

17. Delaware: Derby pie

George Kern, manager of the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky, is credited by The Spruce Eats with creating the first Derby pie. This chocolate-and-walnut dessert is a Lexington tradition. While the original recipe for this state-famous pie is strictly off-limits, there are plenty of alternatives.

18. Beignets are a typical Louisiana treat.

A trip to New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the city’s famous beignets. Cafe du Monde’s powdered doughnuts are legendary.

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