Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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If every state had an official dessert, what should your state choose?

Asking the important questions, that’s me.

But really, come on, shouldn’t every state have an Official State Dessert? I mean, it’s only right, don’t you agree?

The rules of the game are good, I think. Only one state can claim any given dessert, no single state gets to claim apple pie or chocolate chip cookies because those are nationally iconic. That sounds fair.

Okay, Missouri gets (obviously) Gooey Butter Cake, which in fact I do not like because it is far too sweet for me.

I would actually be glad to trade with Kentucky. I’ve never posted a recipe for bread pudding, because who needs a recipe for bread pudding? But it’s a quintessential comfort food for me. I particularly love my mother’s bread pudding. Oh, I should post the recipe. I don’t have it handy, sorry, but I will make a note.

Anyway, what’s your state’s dessert and would you trade?

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12 Comments If every state had an official dessert, what should your state choose?

  1. Mary+Beth

    I live in Utah, which lists Jell-O as its official state snack food (NOT dessert, as Slate claims). I think Jell-O’s heyday in Utah is long past anyway, but it’s still good fodder for jokes. (Though, to be fair, the first time I visited my sister’s new in-laws in American Fork, Utah, they served us raspberry Jell-O with Red Hots, which still ranks high on the list of The Most Disgusting Foods I Have Ever Been Forced To Politely Eat.)

    I think the actual state dessert should be Utah scones. They’re nothing like English scones or the type of scones you buy in Starbucks; they’re more like Navajo fry bread, dusted in powdered sugar or slathered with whipped honey butter. There’s actually an entire fast-food chain based around them, though I wouldn’t recommend eating there.

    I grew up in Ohio and Michigan, but my Utah-bred dad made scones for all of my childhood, using whole wheat bread dough hand-pulled into rough disc shapes. The first time I threw a scone party in college, my upstate New York roommate was really bewildered when I pulled out the whole wheat bread dough and the oil for deep frying. She’d been expecting clotted cream and tea…

  2. Rachel

    Okay, now I want to make Navajo fry bread and slather it with honey butter. Sounds like a breakfast more than a dessert, though.

    Jell-O could work . . . if you layered it with lots of whipped cream and fruit and stuff.

  3. Mary+Beth

    The really crazy thing is that Yelp Weekly just came out for Salt Lake City and they’re profiling The Utah Scone… Guess The Powers That Be decided I needed some more evidence to back up my claim!

    I think the powdered sugar version is definitely a dessert (that’s the type I grew up with), but it actually does look like the honey butter version is a breakfast item here.

  4. Rachel

    I am having trouble calling anything fried a “scone.” But I’m really interested in trying it. With honey butter. That sounds very tasty.

  5. Brandy

    I agree with the desserts for almost all the states I’ve lived in: Nebraska, California, New York, North Carolina, New Mexico, Tennessee. (TN in particular: I am miss the Banana Pudding at Calhoun’s in Knoxville SO MUCH. They soak the wafers in Bourbon and put white chocolate in it.) But Michigan I have to take issue with. My parents are from here so I spent all of my vacations here growing up and I live here now. Fudge is not that big of a deal. It might be a big deal to the tourists who visit Mackinaw Island from other places, but no one seems to care in the rest of state. Which is, you know, pretty big and can’t be represented by one tiny island in our giant lake. The real state desert of Michigan is rhubarb pie. People here love rhubarb. Particularly if it is mixed with cherries, apples, and/or berries.

  6. Rachel

    Brandy, fudge is all very well, but I would definitely vote for rhubarb anything. If I visit Michigan, I’ll have to remember to keep an eye out for rhubarb desserts! I make rhubarb ice cream in early summer sometimes. I mean, why have an ice cream maker unless you make weird flavors that aren’t available in the store? Rhubarb ice cream is really good.

  7. Maureen E

    Oregon does have a ton of blackberries, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t go with Marionberries instead, since they’re native to the state and all.

    Ohio and Indiana, yeah, sure, I guess. But I feel a bit the same way about buckeyes as Brandy does about fudge. Buckeyes are fine and fun and all, but they’re not really that big a thing.

  8. Rachel

    I kind of feel that no candy ever qualifies as an actual *dessert*. Does anybody serve candy as the whole dessert? Maybe some chocolate-covered almonds around the edge of a cake, or some fudge on a platter with lots of kinds of cookies. But with fudge or a buckeye, you eat one tiny bit as a treat, not necessarily after a meal, right? I’m not sure it works for me to compare that to a piece of pie or cake that you really do have as dessert.

    Hey, here’s a defining characteristic: If you normally eat it for dessert, it could be eaten as breakfast. If you can’t imagine eating it as breakfast, it also wouldn’t work as a real dessert.

    Come on, I can’t be the only one out there who sometimes has a piece of cake for breakfast!

  9. Mary+Beth

    I love this Dessert-for-Breakfast rule. You KNOW the best thing about Thanksgiving is pie for breakfast for the next week…

  10. Elaine T

    California has a state dessert of Meyer Lemon Pie.

    I hate lemon pies, having been put off for life by a lemon meringue pie when I was very young with sensitive tastebuds.

    I’d prefer something chocolate. Probably an Alice Medrich creation.

    I love sopapillas and Navajo fry bread sounds very close to it. It’s great with honey butter, or maple butter and cinnamon.

  11. Craig

    If you normally eat it for dessert, it could be eaten as breakfast. If you can’t imagine eating it as breakfast, it also wouldn’t work as a real dessert.

    Counterexample: ice cream sundae.

    Also, pecan pie, though you mentioned that already. (I agree that e.g. apple pie is a fine breakfast dish.)

  12. Rachel

    Elaine, lemon pie is a bit much for me, too. But you know what I do like? Lemon bars made with twice the amount of crust that the recipe calls for. That “dilutes” the lemon enough that I like it.

    Shoot, Craig, you’re right. Ice cream desserts really don’t work as breakfast, even for me.

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