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What Are The Most Iconic US State Desserts?

Because each state has so many signature desserts, we decided to give up on objectivity and just go with whatever we would try first ourselves. Here it is!

Because each state has so many signature desserts, often has at least a few sweet inventions, and swears by several iconic desserts, we decided to give up on objectivity and just go with whatever we would try first ourselves. So this list is entirely subjective and opinionated. The only exclusion is the states that made it easy by choosing an official state emblem dessert or sweet snack!  

Alabama: Lane Cake

Fill a tender white sponge cake with bourbon-soaked raisins and coconut, let it sit for a few days for the aromas to mix and do its magic. What you get is this famous creation of Emma Lane from Alabama in 1898.

Alaska: Lingonberry Jam on Biscuits

Lingonberry Jam on Biscuits

Because locals know every secret of harvesting and cooking with berries. And because Baked Alaska was invented in New York in celebration of purchasing the Alaska territory from the Russians in 1867.

Arizona: Sopaipillas

Sopaipillas is a fried bread invented by Navajo Indians, which was selected as a State treat in 1995 poll. Sopaipilla is a versatile treat that can be served sweet if sprinkled with honey and cinnamon, or savory. 

Arkansas: Possum Pie

Image credit: weirdsouth.blogspot.com

Cream cheese, whipped cream, chocolate pudding. No possum meat. Would make any kid happy! Red velvet cake: we are not quite sure why this cake fits the state, other than the association with Steel Magnolias (which were not filmed here, either). In any case, this indulgent, velvety- red and lace-white cake suits the South all too well.

California: Frozen Yogurt

This refreshing, health-conscious, diverse in tastes, easily customizable, fitting the active lifestyle dessert works to represent California so well.

Meyer lemon cake: Meyer lemons became incredibly rare in the world after nearly the entire population of the trees were wiped out. Now they are not so easy to come by in some other parts of the world, yet California still generously harvests them in back gardens.

Colorado: Yogurt and Grilled Peach

Yogurt and Grilled Peach

Just because every other site already had its field day with pot candy and Colorado has great dairy products and Peaches festival late summer… We invented this one. But it is hard to beat fresh, sweet grilled peaches and local yogurt. 

Connecticut: Ice Cream Sandwich

Probably, with snickerdoodle. Here's an interesting fact: Connecticut is called a Nutmeg State even though nutmeg does not grow here. Ingenuity and quick wit do though, so the early inhabitants were able to sell fake wooden nutmegs as real ones. Who knows if the story is true or not, but early settlers in this state were Dutch, and the evolved variations on their spicy cakes and cookies do not disappoint.

Delaware: Peach Pie

Peach Pie

In 2009, Delaware claimed peach pie as their own, much to the Georgia and Colorado surprise.  Strawberries: in 2010, Delaware also snatched strawberry as their state fruit; fair enough, Delaware does produce great strawberries. 

Florida: Key Lime Pie

Graham cracker crust, tangy Key lime filling, and whipped cream, Key lime pie is an original Floridian dessert. It was both invented in Florida and officially declared the official state pie (in 2006). 

Georgia: Peach Cobbler

 Peach Cobbler

Delaware claimed the pie, but Georgia has the peach as its official state fruit. Peach cobbler is an outstanding treat competing with peach pie in popularity. Although we would eat peaches as is.

Hawaii: Coconut Muffin

Hawaii chose coconut muffin as its official state muffin. We cannot argue with the local choices! In all fairness, it is incredibly hard to choose among indulgent tropical treats and unusual recipes from Hawaii. Given a chance, we would make a list of ten. Shave ice: Hawaii raised its shaved ice-making skills to the highest level, only competing with Japan. The finest ice flakes with syrup or condensed milk: best for the weather.

Idaho: Huckleberry Pie

Huckleberry Pie

If you have never eaten huckleberry, it is because these berries only grow in the wild: they are notoriously hard to cultivate. The pie is made with several cups of the berries and the zest and juice of an orange to complement them.

Illinois: Brownies

Illinois has pumpkin as its state… fruit (a bit of a stretch), and popcorn is the state's official snack. But brownies, which does not seem to be the all-American treat, were first officially marketed at Chicago World's Fair in 1893.

Indiana: Sugar Cream Pie (Hoosier Pie)

Sugar Cream Pie (Hoosier Pie)

Flaky butter crust tart and a heavy sugary filling, slightly caramelized on top - sweet and sticky pie of Indiana.

Iowa: Blarney Stones

Iowa might have claimed S' mores for themselves, but Blarney Stones is a dessert uniquely found in bakeries across this state. It is a pound cake covered in frosting and peanuts. Cherry pie: for over 100 years, Iowa State students sell cherry pies to raise funds for the Veishea Cherry Pie Scholarship Fund. We could not overlook this honorable tradition (and it is hard to beat a good Cherry pie).

Kansas: Peppernuts

 Peppernuts

These little poofy cookies were initially called pfeffernüsse. They might not be exceptionally peppery, but they are definitely spicy, and the original name is much harder to decode. Kansas is also a fan of Dirt cake: it may just be the laziest recipe, which makes it accessible even to kids. Mix pudding, crushed cookies, whipped cream, chill it. 

Kentucky: Protected Pie

Sticky, sweet, and nutty, with bourbon flavor to top it, this pie is associated with Kentucky Derbi. We would call it as it is mainly known, a Derbi Pie, but the name is protected. Bread pudding: many Southern states appear to pride themselves on bread puddings, but this state deserves a bourbon-flavored state dessert: bread pudding with bourbon sauce.

Louisiana: Beignets

Beignets

Louisiana is a gourmet paradise, with many variations on the French cuisine in stock. Beignets are French donuts: they fluff up when fried and are best eaten still hot, dusted with sugar. Then there is an original Banana Foster: with liquor, some fire, yet simple to make if there is an occasion to celebrate.

Maine: Wild Blueberry Pie

Maine chose wild blueberry pie as their state dessert. This is not by any means undeserved: the state produces quite a lot of wild blueberry, and no cultivated variety can compete with the taste of the rugged wild.

Maryland: Smith Island Cake

Smith Island Cake. Image credit: sallysbakingaddiction.com

This case is an official dessert of the state, and it is just as full of calories as it is recognizable. Several layers of sponge with chocolate frosting in between.

Massachusetts: Boston Cream Pie

In 1996 Massachusetts state claimed Boston cream pie their "Dessert Emblem." As if that was not enough, the Boston cream pie doughnut is also the official state doughnut.

Michigan: Cherries

Cherries

We know that we already mentioned a cherry pie, but we can not overlook that Michigan is famous for its tart cherry production. Mackinac Island in Michigan is called the Fudge Capital of the US and has its own fudge festival.

Minnesota: Blueberry Muffin

The students from Minnesota elementary school demanded to name blueberry muffin the official state muffin, and so it is. Seven-layer bars: a bar that seems to compete for the "a year of calorie intake in one bar"! It contains butter, graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, walnuts, shredded coconut, and sweetened condensed milk.

Mississippi: Mississippi Mud Pie

Mississippi Mud Pie

Mississippi mud pie replaces the tartlet with chocolate cookies and pecans, fills it with coffee-flavored liqueur, unsweetened chocolate, vanilla essence, and whipped cream. 

Missouri: Ice Cream Cone

The ice cream cone was made famous across the US at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, even though it was invented in New York a year before. Gooey butter cake is a St. Louis curiosity: a sheet of a yellow cake at the bottom, a layer of a gooey, sweet, buttery, eggy dessert on the top.

Montana: Alfalfa Honey Pie

Alfalfa Honey Pie. Image credit: thedailymeal.com

As Montana is also one of the best hiking States, it could have reasonably claimed S'Mores. But because another state already snatched them, why not celebrate Montana's unique honey produced in its vast Alfalfa fields and used in desserts.

Nebraska: Kolaches

Kolaches, traditional Czech fruit-filled pastries, were introduced by immigrants and gained popularity across the state. Candy-frosted popcorn spheres are a tribute to the enormous popcorn production of Nebraska.

Nevada: Basque Cake

Basque Cake

This cake is a contribution of the Basque gold miners': generous amounts of sugar, butter, eggs, and jam or creme.

New Hampshire: Pumpkin Pie

New Hampshire, like Illinois, chose the pumpkin as its state fruit. Considering that another New Hampshire famous produce is maple syrup, a pumpkin pie is an appropriate choice.

New Jersey: Saltwater Taffy

Saltwater Taffy

Atlantic City introduced these colorful candies, which have no saltwater: the common ingredients in taffy are sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch, water, butter, salt, food coloring, and flavorings.

The aeration during the making is what makes taffy soft; without that special technique, it would have been rock solid. The name, allegedly, comes from the legend about an Atlantic city bakery being flooded by the ocean water and making a joke out of their soaked goodies.

New Mexico: Biscochitos

As the US is the country entirely made up of early immigrants from various countries (and the ingenious population), many of the tastiest dishes are an evolution of the recipes the settlers brought from home. Biscochitos are thin, buttery cookies flavored with anise and cinnamon brought to New Mexico by the Spanish.

Why is saltwater taffy so soft?

The aeration during the making is what makes taffy soft; without that special technique, it would have been rock solid.

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