New England boasts tasty sweets like Boston cream pie, while the South has mastered the peach cobbler and Mississippi mud pie. You can certainly enjoy most of these desserts anywhere, but they’re the most known, the most celebrated, and often the most delicious on their home turf.
Here are 15 of the best regional desserts across the US.
In Indiana the sugar cream pies reign supreme.
According to Indiana Public Media, this sweet treat dates back to at least 1816. It likely came together because it is simple to make with pantry staples and because it doesn’t rely on seasonal ingredients, like fruit – it can be enjoyed year-round.
Originating in New Orleans, Bananas Foster is a sweet Southern delight.
Originating in New Orleans, this southern dessert consists of flambeed bananas with cinnamon, brown sugar, butter, rum, and banana liqueur served with vanilla ice cream.
According to NPR, the dessert hastily came together at Brennan’s restaurant on Bourbon Street in 1951. It’s still wildly popular today, and you can even find the iconic flavours mashed with other desserts like cake, cheesecake, and even milkshakes.
Black and white cookies are a staple on the East Coast.
Many bakeries across America serve the incredibly popular black and white cookie. The base, which is a cake-like cookie, is topped halfway with chocolate fondant and halfway with vanilla fondant.
According to Eater, the recipe is said to have started in upstate New York, but it gained notoriety as one of the original recipes at the famous Glaser’s Bake Shop in New York City in 1902.
Although the bakery closed this summer, it’s legacy lives on in this East Coast cookie.
Florida’s Key lime pie is often imitated but never duplicated.
You’ll find Key lime pie pretty much anywhere in Florida. The tartness from the Key limes (found in the Florida Keys, of course) combined with sweetened condensed milk makes a creamy, refreshing pie.
The history, however, has become a bit controversial.
David L. Sloan, the author of 10 books, including “The Ghosts of Key West” and “Quit Your Job and Move to Key West,” is said to possess the original recipe.
On finding the recipe in a house built in 1855, he told Epicurious, “Most sources credit an anonymous ‘Aunt Sally’ with inventing Key lime pie. Well, it turns out that Aunt Sally was the cook at the Curry Mansion and as soon as I saw that paper, my heart started racing and I started to shake. I knew, I just knew. it was like finding the Golden Fleece, the Holy Grail.”
Nothing says New England like Boston cream pie.
Boston cream pie is a delicious cake from, of course, Boston.
The combination of buttery cake, cold and creamy custard, and decadent chocolate icing makes a dessert that is ideal for special occasions. But New England Today reports that although Boston Parker’s House has taken credit for the cake, it’s origin remains a mystery. It is, however, certainly no mystery that this dessert is delicious and an icon of Boston.
Enjoy Buckeyes in the heart of the Midwest.
In an ode to the state’s Buckeye trees, Ohio is also home to a delicious dessert that resembles the Buckeye nut.
Peanut butter balls made with powdered sugar and peanut butter are frozen, then dipped almost entirely in melted chocolate.
It’s said that the tradition of the buckeye candy dates back to 1964 and was created by a woman named Gail Tabor.
Lane cake is a tradition in the South.
Lane cake is a boozy, buttery cake. The fillings can vary slightly, but you’re likely to find raisins, peaches, or toasted pecans.
The recipe, which is often a standard offering around the holidays, was first published by Emma Rylander Lane of Alabama in 1898, according to PBS. The dessert became famous after the publishing of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which mentioned the treat many times.
Down South, Georgia arguably makes the best peach cobbler.
With the sweetest, juiciest peaches in the country, it is no surprise that Georgia boasts a mean peach cobbler.
The Mississippi mud pie is another delicious Southern dessert.
This layered chocolate pie has a muddy history, potentially originating on several dates throughout the 1900s, according to Eater.
No matter how you slice it, this dessert is a hit, and it actually goes by a few other common names: Mississippi mud cake and chocolate lasagna. The dessert involves layers of chocolate pudding, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, nuts, chocolate shavings with or without a chocolate cookie crust. It’s a customisable dessert that is very forgiving if you’d like to add in ice cream, marshmallows, or even bourbon.
The Northeastern whoopie pie is a claim to fame for several states.
Possibly no other dessert has as quite as a confusing past as the Northeastern whoopie pie. It is generally accepted that it started in the 1920s, according to the New England Historical Society, but New Hampshire, Maine, and Pennsylvania have all claimed the dessert.
No matter where they began, whoopie pies are certainly not a pie, but they are a tasty treat consisting of a fluffy vanilla icing sandwiched between two cake-like cookies.
Appalachia boasts the sticky-sweet Shoofly pie.
Shoofly pie is one of the most popular desserts in the Appalachian area, but it is said to come from the Pennsylvania Dutch, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The unique name comes from the idea that the molasses and sugar in this pie are so sweet, it attracts flies. While many of the regional desserts on this list can easily be found across the country, shoofly pie is less common. Filled with brown sugar and molasses, the taste resembles pecan pie.
Hawaii’s popular shave ice has a long history.
This popular dessert remains a year-round delight in Hawaii.
It is actually a traditional Japanese dessert, which was brought to Hawaii in the late 1800s-early 1900s by immigrants coming to the islands to work on sugar plantations, according to the LA Times. This icy dessert is available in specialty shops as well as grocery stores on the islands and around the country.
Meyer lemon cake takes advantage of Meyer lemons on the West Coast.
The Meyer lemon, a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, is the star of this West Coast dessert. This special variety of lemon originated in China and came to the US in the early 1900s, reported NPR.
The dessert combines the sweet, tangy fruit into a glazed pound cake that is prominent in Californian restaurants.
A simple mistake created the Midwest’s beloved gooey butter cake.
The gooey butter cake is a mistake gone right from St. Louis, Missouri.
According to the New York Times, in the 1930s, a baker was making a yellow cake but accidentally added too much butter (he might have also added too much sugar, shortening, or all three). Rather than wasting it, he tried to sell it.
New Mexico celebrates special occasions with biscochitos.
This festive, holiday dessert is a shortbread cookie flavored with anise, cinnamon, and lard. The cookies are a staple in New Mexico, where they are typically enjoyed at weddings and quinceaneras or for Christmas. According to NewMexico.org, the recipe first appeared in cookbooks more than 100 years ago, and today, it is a tradition for families to pass their own recipe for biscochitos down to younger generations.
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