America is often called a melting pot. You can see this mixing of backgrounds, cultures, and local ingredients in the pots and pans of our country’s bakers. Born out of European influences, traveling immigrants, Great Depression ingenuity, and farm-fresh crops, here’s beloved desserts from fifty states to inspire your next confection.
1. Alabama’s Lane Cake
Alabama designated Lane Cake as an official state dessert in 2016, but it has been a symbol of Southern culture and identity for much longer. Emma Ryland Lane from Clayton, Alabama, created the original recipe in 1898 for the county fair baking competition. Readers of “To Kill a Mockingbird” might remember this traditional bourbon layer cake with coconut pecan icing given as a welcome gift.
2. Alaska’s Baked Alaska
Sometimes referred to as an omelet surprise, French chef Charles Ranhofer invented Baked Alaska at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City. In 1867, Ranhofer served this classic dessert to celebrate America’s purchase of Alaska from the Russians at his iconic Wall Street restaurant.
3. Arizona’s Sopaipillas
Sometimes referred to as the Navajo taco, fried Sopaipillas can be savory or sweet. Invented in the southern part of the state by indigenous Navajo people, this fried dough treat is served today with sugar, cinnamon, and honey.
4. Arkansas’ Possum Pie
Don’t let the name fool you. Its name comes from “playing possum,” meaning to hide or pretend to be something you’re not. The possum pie’s delicious chocolate layer hides under lots of whipped cream. This popular chocolate cream pie can be found all over the state.
5. California’s Avocado Parfait
While California doesn’t have an official state dessert, as the largest US producer of avocados, its Avocado based dishes have become the de facto state treat. Mix up one with half an avocado, your favorite yogurt or pudding, granola, and choice of fruit.
6. Colorado’s Palisade Peach Cobbler
Colorado is known for its Palisade peaches, planted by settlers in the 1880s in the Grand Valley. This part of the state has hot days and cool nights and creates sweet, juicy, delicious peaches. Whip up an easy cobbler that keeps the fruit as the star of the dish.
7. Connecticut’s Snickerdoodle Cookie
Brought to the U.S. by English, Scottish, and Dutch immigrants, it’s still beloved today by Connecticut residents. So don’t wait for a special occasion to make this New England favorite soft cookie topped with cinnamon sugar.
8. Delaware’s Peach Pie
The official dessert of Delaware signifies the importance of peach farming in the state’s history. In the 19th century, Delaware was the leading producer of peaches, explaining the peach blossom as the state flower.