They say that one of the best ways to get to know a culture is to sample its best-loved dishes — and that includes dessert. The next time you’re road-tripping across the USA, check out these delicious delights to get a real taste of what makes their state great.
Louisiana – Bananas Foster
Bananas Foster is made with bananas, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, rum, and banana liqueur. Today, it is flambeed and served with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream, just as it was the first time it appeared on the menu in 1951 at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans, where it was invented to honor the New Orleans Crime Commission’s chairman, Richard Foster.
Texas – Texas Sheet Cake
They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and this chocolate sheet cake is no exception. This enormous cake, baked in a thin jelly-roll pan, is made to serve and delight a crowd with its decadent chocolate icing, nuts, and cocoa-infused batter. You’ll most likely come across this cake at a big church event, such as a picnic or a funeral.
Ohio – Buckeyes
Ohio is known as the Buckeye State, so it is no surprise that its most famous dessert shares the same name. While the “buckeye” refers to a tree with nuts that look like a deer’s eye, this dessert tastes a lot better than that sounds. It consists of a round peanut butter ball coated in dark chocolate with just a bit of the peanut butter peeking out, making it look just like the tree nut (or a deer’s eye, if you’re into that sort of thing).
Hawaii – Shave Ice
Many states have shave ice stands that kids (and adults) flock to in the summer. But Hawaii does it best with ice flakes soaked in flavors like pickled mango, passion fruit, raspberry, and bubblegum, which can then be accompanied by a wide range of toppings like vanilla ice cream, condensed milk, or azuki beans, also known as red mung beans.
New England – Whoopie Pie
There are several New England states making whoopie… I mean, Whoopie Pie. Maine and Pennsylvania, for example, have fought for years over which of them created this cream-filled cookie sandwich first. Once you get a taste of its cakey, chocolate cookie exterior and the delicious, sweet cream inside, you won’t care who invented first — you’ll just want seconds.
Oregon – Marionberry Pie
If you’ve never heard of a marionberry before, you must not be from Oregon. This berry is a hybrid blackberry that combines the Olallie and Chehalem blackberries to create a taste sensation described as “tart, earthy sweetness.” Named in honor of Oregon’s Marion County, these unique little fruits bake up beautifully in pies with buttery crusts.
Florida – Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie is the best-known, best-loved dessert of Florida — so much so that it is the official state pie. Usually made with a graham cracker crust and a tangy custard made with tart key limes and sweetened condensed milk, a true key lime pie is yellow, not green. So be on the lookout for fakers who use green food coloring because they are green with envy over the real key lime’s legions of fans!
Maryland – Smith Island Cake
Created on a tiny island in the Chesapeake Bay, Smith Island Cake is the cake that dessert lovers dream of. Up to 10 slender layers of yellow cake are broken up by fudgy chocolate frosting in the cake’s traditional form, although other flavors like the one in this photo are now available, so that every cake lover can make their dreams come true.
Massachusetts – Boston Cream Pie
Even though it is called a “pie,” this delightful dessert is made up of two yellow cakes with pastry cream between them and a dark, rich chocolate glaze coating the outside. No one knows why it is called a pie when it is really a cake… but we can assume that anyone who tried to look into the matter got distracted by its deliciousness and was too busy eating it to find any answers.
Kentucky – Derby Pie
Last but not least comes the state that is famous for the Kentucky Derby — and the even more exciting derby pie. This scrumptious, chocolate-walnut treat has a gooey, cake-like texture inside and a crispy, buttery crust on the outside. And the best news is, you don’t have to wait until the first Saturday in May to eat it!
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