This fancy cake was once called the “toast of Hollywood,” and not just because you’d make it late at night and cover it in peanut butter and chocolate chips. It continues to be a favorite of the west coast, and it’s versatile enough for a lot of different events, from fancy parties to a simple dessert at home.
There are some fiddly steps – such as separating the yolks and whites of a ridiculous seven eggs, and washing the pan as carefully as you can in hot, soapy water to make sure there isn’t any grease on it. Still, a little bit of practice and you can make this delicious treat perfectly. If you want to take it up a notch, add fruit and whipped cream on top.
Minnesota – Seven Layer Bars
How many ways do I love thee? Seven, just like your seven delicious layers. This classic Minnesota dessert is a regular sight at potlucks and parties in the north. Let’s dive into those layers, shall we? Traditionally, the layers are a graham cracker base, chocolate chips, pecans, butterscotch pieces, coconut, and condensed milk. Wait a minute! That’s only six things! What is this?
We guess that the butter used to solidify the cracker base counts as one of the layers, but you’re on thin ice, Minnesota. We’re already upset about that whole blueberry muffin business, so you’d better be on your best behavior. These bars are easy to make, have an intricate, chewy texture, and taste great. We’ll let that whole weak seventh layer thing pass for now, as long as you pass a few more over.
Wisconsin – Kringle
Originating in Denmark, this unique dessert came to the States thanks to immigrants, who ended up congregating in Racine, Wisconsin, during the nineteenth century. The Danish shared the recipe with the locals, and everybody decided it was the best. This one is a bit more complicated than some other options on this list, as it’s a pastry that is shaped into a ring.
Inside there is a filling – with options like fruits, cream cheese, or nuts – and then there is an icing placed on top. Every once in a while you’ll see a version that has a layer of caramel glaze added to the top, along with some nuts for extra texture. You can find these treats at plenty of stores in the Midwest, but nothing beats a homemade kringle.
Hawaii – Haupia
One of my friends described this Hawaiian treat as a non-newtonian sugar cookie, and nobody could really argue that much. Often found at luaus, this treat is not only a new kind of experience for the uninitiated, but it’s incredibly easy to make. A simple recipe is cornstarch, sugar, salt, and coconut milk.
But there are also some options that include rice flour as an option instead. You just toss all of it together into a bowl, heat it until it comes to a simmer, and then pour it into a pan to refrigerate. You can also make little haupia muffins by pouring the mixture in tins and then baking in the oven. This might not sound like much, but don’t sleep on these simple treats. They’re a surprisingly interesting dessert.
Idaho – Mashed Potato Doughnuts
We aren’t sure what to think of this one, honestly. While the rich soil of Idaho makes it a great place for growing crops like potatoes, should those same crops be used in doughnuts? There are plenty of people who say yes, but we’ve never tried them. These doughnuts are apparently light and flavorful.
And while you can eat them plain, most recipes recommend covering them with powdered sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon, or add a glaze. They’re also best served warm with a cup of coffee...just like every other doughnut, we guess. You don’t even need fresh potatoes for this – you can just use your favorite instant mashed potatoes in a bag. Be sure to get the right kind of mash, though, or it might not work out right.