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Signature desserts in every state

  • South Dakota: Kuchen

    Kuchen—which means “cake” in German—is the official state dessert of South Dakota. The word “kuchen” can be used to describe several different desserts and pastries, including a pastry similar to pie with a cakey crust and a custard filling, a nut roll, coffee cake, or cheesecake.

  • Tennessee: Banana pudding

    Each year, Tennessee hosts the National Banana Pudding Festival, complete with tastings, eating contests, and lots of banana pudding to go around. A favorite dessert in many areas of the South, banana pudding combines vanilla pudding and bananas, layering them with vanilla wafer cookies and whipped cream.

  • Texas: Pecan pie

    In 2013, pecan pie was named the official state pie of Texas. The traditional Texas pecan pie recipe includes generous portions of light brown sugar, corn syrup, pecans, butter, eggs, salt, and vanilla extract, mixed and poured into a pie shell.

  • Utah: Jell-O

    More Jell-O per capita is consumed in Utah than in any other state. The practice has been linked to the number of Mormons who enjoy the inexpensive and easy-to-make gelatin snack. Jell-O has been lauded as both a quick-and-easy treat to bring to church gatherings as well as a vehicle for college party Jell-O shots.

  • Vermont: Apple pie

    Apple pie became the official state pie of Vermont in 1999. When the bill was signed into law, it was amended to offer suggestions on how to enjoy the apple pie: with a glass of cold milk, a slice of cheddar cheese, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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  • Virginia: Virginia peanut pie

    A fun spin on pecan pie, Virginia peanut pie swaps out the pecans for Virginia peanuts. The pie has ties to Wakefield’s Virginia Diner, which has been serving the pie whole and in slices for decades.

  • Washington: Nanaimo bars

    Seattle has been a fan of Nanaimo bars since at least the 1980s, according to this recipe in the Seattle Times which dates back to 1988. These three-layer bars, featuring a bottom layer of graham crackers, coconut and nuts, middle layer of whipped cream and pudding mix, and top layer of chocolate originated in Nanaimo, British Columbia, before crossing the Canadian border into Washington.

  • West Virginia: Hot dog pastry

    West Virginia has long debated what its signature dessert could be: Is it shoofly pie, molasses cookies, no-bake cookies? One dessert that appears all over the state is the hot dog pastry, a doughnut that’s split down the middle and filled with cream. Some bakeries and doughnut shops call it a hot dog, while others may call it a mad dog. Whatever you call it, call it popular in West Virginia.

  • Wisconsin: State Fair’s cream puffs

    Available at the Wisconsin State Fair since 1924, 400,000 cream puffs are sold each year at the event. This year, with the State Fair suspended due to COVID-19, the cream puffs are being sold curbside so that cream puff fans don’t have to go without.

  • Wyoming: Cowboy cookies

    Wyoming cowboy cookies are hardy enough for a hardworking cowboy and so decadent that some fans can’t eat more than one. Loaded with coconut, chocolate chips, pecans, and oatmeal, some recipes suggest doubling the size of the cookie, as well as using any leftovers to crumble over ice cream. Now that’s a satisfying cookie!

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