Combining butter, sugar, flour, and eggs, a chess pie can also on occasion feature an acid like vinegar, lemon juice, or buttermilk. It’s a sweet and custardy creation that Virginia loves, naming it the state dessert, appearing in cookbooks as far back as two hundred years ago. The name has a few possible origins.
One is that, since you could make it out of anything that you find in your food chest, it was first called “chest pie,” but Southern accents slowly morphed it into “chess pie.” Another option is that it was originally called “just pie,” and then the same method of speaking turned it into chess pie. If made improperly, this pie can result in cooked egg pieces, but they can be strained out.
Utah – Jell-O
The heavily Mormon population of this state loves Jell-O so much that it was named the state’s official snack back in 2001. One theory as to why it’s such a hit in Utah is that the Mormons of the state had nothing left to “rebel” with after abstaining from alcohol, coffee, and tea, so they turned to gelatin.
This likely isn’t true, as Jell-O has always been seen as an acceptable option for people of all ages. Top it with a little bit of whipped cream for a dessert that’s even better, or try “Mormon Jell-O,” which incorporates lime Jell-O, crushed pineapple, cottage cheese, evaporated milk, and chopped nuts. Another reason for its popularity in Utah is its relative low cost. Big families mean big grocery store budgets.
Vermont – Apple Pie
It’s one of the most classic American treats out there, but Vermont is the place to go if you’re after the perfect piece of apple pie. Vermont has a ton of apple orchards, so they decided to take the best of those fruits and turn them into some delicious pies. Add on a traditional lattice crust and you have a dessert that will have people from all over coming to the table for a slice.
Oh, but Vermont doesn’t just like its apple pie, it LOVES it – so much that there is actually something called the “apple pie law” that requires a good-faith effort for a store serving apple pie to also provide a glass of milk, a scoop of ice cream, and a slice of cheddar cheese weighing at least half an ounce. Yes, that’s right. Cheese.
Washington – Nanaimo Bars
This treat began its life in Canada, but it was popularized thanks to the coffee chain Starbucks, which has its headquarters in Seattle. The company started selling the treat all over the United States (and the world), and thus the Nanaimo bar was spread. This dessert doesn’t require an oven.
And they can be made with nothing more than a bottom layer of butter, cocoa powder, sugar, egg, coconuts, and nuts. Following that, there’s a middle layer of butter, cream, and custard powder, followed by some confectioner’s sugar. The top layer is melted chocolate and butter and spread over the top. Okay, so it’s a little more complicated than some things on this list, but hey, you don’t have to bake it. You do have to chill it, though.
West Virginia – Shoofly Pie
The Pennsylvania Dutch invented Shoofly Pie, but it’s become a hit all over West Virginia. It’s a big mess of molasses, but will also often have flour, brown sugar, water, spices, and even egg. Add in a crumbly, textured topping and a flaky pie crust, and you have something that sounds pretty darn tasty. Even better, it seems like this option isn’t a very hard task.
You have to have a pie, mix the filling (molasses, water, and baking soda), and then pour the crumbly topping over it. The name comes from the fact that sticky, sweet molasses would form on the surface of the pie, obviously attracting insects as well as lots of other kinds of pests. Thus, people who made the pie had to constantly wave those little bugs away.