Category Archives: Dessert

Maple Cinnamon Walnut Meringues – Vermont

Vermont leads the states in producing maple syrup and the Green Mountain State also has designated your favorite pancake topping

Maple Cinnamon Walnut Meringues - Vermontas the official state flavor. Early spring is sugaring time in the state; the warmer days and still-cool nights cause the maple sap to flow.

We loved the flavors of this meringue cookie. Because there is no flour, this recipe is ideal for those avoiding gluten but who still want Maple Cinnamon Walnut Meringue - Vermont something sweet after dinner. Don’t be intimated by the amount of time these take, most of it is hands off. You then leave the meringues in the oven overnight until they get crunchy.

 If you want to see how maple syrup gets made, check out the Open House Weekend, March 24-25, 2018, when sugarhouses across the state give tours, demos and samples.

Maple Cinnamon Walnut Meringues

  • Servings: 12-24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Salt for topping
  • Cinnamon for topping


In the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg whites, maple syrup, cream of tartar and salt. With the whisk attachment and on medium high speed, whip ingredients for 5-7 minutes or until meringue is firm and glossy and can hold its shape. With a wooden spoon, gently fold in cinnamon, taking care not to break up the egg whites.

On a two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, portion out the meringues (recipe will make 24 small or 12 large meringues). Top each meringue with chopped walnuts, then dust with additional cinnamon and a pinch of salt.

Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours, rotating the baking sheets occasionally. At this point, the meringues will still be a bit soft. Turn off oven and let them remain inside, preferably overnight or until meringues are crunchy.


Irish Potato Candy – Pennsylvania

Break out your green sweater and practice your Irish step dance moves, it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day. And what better way to

Irish Potato Candy - Pennsylvaniacelebrate than by making these cute candies that look like mini potatoes but taste like coconut heaven.

If you live in the Philadelphia area, these candies start making an appearance at bakeries, candy shops and grocery stores around early March. Their origin is uncertain but some claim they were first made by Irish immigrant candy makers in the late 1800s or the early 1900s.

Irish Potato Candy - PennsylvaniaThis no-cook recipe that we found from The Kitchn couldn’t be easier. To help shape the candies, put the portioned candy batter in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the batter firms up. Then simply shape and dip in cinnamon. Slainte!

 The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia (only open for tours on the weekends) showcases the author and poet who is often called the Master of the Macabre.

Irish Potato Candy

  • Servings: 4 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 2/3 cups sweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon


Using a stand or handheld mixer, combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Beat for 3 minutes until mixture is smooth, occasionally stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Gradually add the powdered sugar, again, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Add salt and coconut, mixing until incorporated.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, scoop out batter into tablespoon-sized mounds. Place baking sheet in refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes or until candy is cold. Remove baking sheet.

Place cinnamon in a clean, small bowl. Shape each mound into a little potato. Toss each piece of candy in the cinnamon until completely coated.

Sopapillas – Texas

Texas is fortunate to have not one, but two official state pastries, strudel and sopapillas. While you may indulge in sopapillas at your favorite Mexican joint, they are surprisingly easy to make at home.

Sopapillas - TexasThe dough comes together easily and you don’t even need an electric mixer. We opted for a cinnamon sugar dusting for our sopapillas, but you can leave yours unadorned or top them with honey or chocolate sauce.

On the very western edge of Texas sits Big Bend National Park. A spectacular spot for bird watching, visitors can also hike, bike, fish, take river trips or stargaze.


  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • Canola oil (for frying)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add shortening and water. Knead dough with your hands until combined, making sure not to overmix dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour or until well chilled.

Remove dough and place on clean work surface. Divide in half. Roll out one dough half into a circle, about 1/4 inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut circle into 8 equal pieces. Repeat with remaining dough half.

Heat canola oil in a large, heavy pot until 375 degrees. While oil is heating, combine sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Working in batches, fry sopapillas, about 2 minutes on each side or until light brown. Remove with spider or slotted spoon. Place in sugar/cinnamon mixture and toss on both sides until sopapilla is well coated. Let cool slightly before serving.

Black Bottom Pie – Alabama

We do love our pies here at StateEats, because, you know …. PIE!! The Black Bottom Pie is a Southern staple. This icebox pie is a very close cousin to the Mississippi Mud Pie, only without the nuts and

Black Bottom Pie - Alabama

liquor. Usually made with a graham cracker crust (or sometimes a gingersnap crust), the black bottom is a chocolate cream layer made with both cocoa powder and chocolate chips. The Gaines Ridge Dinner Club in Camden, Alabama, is said to have a superb Black Bottom Pie. If you can’t make it there, try to get yourself invited to a church potluck or Sunday supper anywhere in the south. Chances are, someone’s grandma made a Black Bottom Pie.

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, is the site where Dr. Martin Luther King planned and led the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956 while he was pastor. Still a vibrant congregation, you can attend services or take a tour Tuesday through Saturday.

Black Bottom Pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


For the crust:

  • 1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve, blitzed in food processor)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter, melted in microwave
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt, a pinch

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Salt, pinch
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

For the topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon sugar
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)


For the crust: In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and pinch of salt. Press into bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes or until crust begins to slightly brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine cocoa powder, sugar, salt and cornstarch. In a slow stream, add milk and heat on medium, whisking constantly until mixture thickens. Add chocolate chips and stir until incorporated. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and butter. Whisk until smooth and glossy. Pour filling into cooled pie crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the topping:  In a medium bowl, add heavy cream and beat with electric mixer on high until mixture begins to thicken. Add sugar and continue mixing until soft peaks form. Add whipped cream on top of chocolate filling. Add chocolate shavings (a vegetable peeler on the edge of a chocolate bar works well) if desired.      


Road Trip to Racine for Kringle – Wisconsin

StateEats took a road trip this past week up to Racine, Wisconsin, self-proclaimed Kringle Capital of the World. What is kringle, you ask? Wisconsin’s state pastry (so designated in 2013) is oval shaped,

butter-layered, infused with various fillings and iced on top.

Originally made in Denmark and often served during the holidays,  kringle is the town’s most famous product. Racine (sometimes called Little Copenhagen) is host to four separate bakeries that churn out this wonderful concoction all year round. We sadly didn’t have time to visit all four, so we focused on the biggest operation, O&H Danish Bakery.

O&H Danish Bakery, Racine WI

Christian Olesen began O&H in 1949. Now in its fourth generation of bakers, O&H has five locations. It takes three days to make one

O&H Danish Bakery, Racine, WI


O&H Danish Bakery, Racine WI
This is the ancient symbol of the bakers’ guild in Denmark, it is often found on exterior bakery signs in Denmark.

kringle, due to the fact that the dough must rest. Each O&H kringle is comprised of 36 layers.

And the flavors? Just take your pick because it is almost overwhelming with 30-something “everyday” flavors like pecan, blueberry, and cream cheese, as well as seasonal flavors like pumpkin caramel, cranberry, or our choice, a Very Danish Christmas Kringle (pictured below) which is cherry/almond. Delish!Kringle

O&H Kringle, Racine, WI

Kringle is very time consuming and difficult to make. We know because we tried and failed miserably, so we are not posting a recipe. But the good news is that you can order kringle from here and they will ship it right to your house. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Besides picking up kringle, if you visit Racine, check out the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed SC Johnson Headquarters, which is free and open to the public.

Moravian Sugar Cake – North Carolina

Pennsylvania to North Carolina is a damn long walk. But 15 Moravians (German speaking Protestants who were followers of

Moravian Sugar Cake - North Carolina

Czech priest and philosopher Jan Hus) took this walk in 1753 to begin their settlement of Bethabara, located where present day Winston-Salem sits. The Moravian Church continues to thrive, and this cake, often made during Christmas and Easter, is a wonderful Moravian treat.

Moravian Sugar Cake - North CarolinaDewey’s Bakery in Winston-Salem has been around for over 85 years and they make one of the finest. The fun part is poking the indentations in the dough with your finger, all the better to catch that wonderful buttery-brown sugar topping.

History comes alive at Old Salem Museum and Gardens, which presents an authentic view of early Southern life with a special emphasis on Moravians.

Dewey’s Bakery Moravian Sugar Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


For dough:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons mashed potatoes
  • 3 teaspoons powdered milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 4 packages dry yeast (1 oz.)
  • 3/4 cup warm water

For topping:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


For dough: In a small bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg, shortening, salt, milk, mashed potato and sugar. With paddle attachment, mix for 4 minutes. Switch to the dough hook, then add 2 types of flour. Continue mixing. Add yeast mixture and mix another 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Grease a 12 x18 sheet cake pan with sides.  Punch dough down and roll it out so that it can fit into the pan. With a fork, poke holes into the dough. Shape into the pan, making sure the dough touches the sides of the pan.

For topping: In a small saucepan, combine, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Heat until boiling, then remove from heat. With a finger, poke indentations into the dough, making sure not to poke all the way through to the bottom of the pan. Pour the topping all over the dough, spreading with a brush, making sure it is evenly distributed. Let dough rise again, until doubled in height, about 30 minutes.

To finish cake: Bake in a 350 degree oven. At the 10 minute mark, check for bubbles. Pop any bubbles and continue baking for another 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Whoopie Pies – Maine

Whoopie pies are the state treat of Maine (not be confused with the state dessert which is blueberry pie). Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston, Maine, takes credit for inventing this confection way back in 1925.

Whoopie Pies - Maine

Whoopie pies come in various flavors combinations (both the cake and the filling), but in our humble opinion, the classic recipe is really the epitome of a perfect dessert. The outside is two soft chocolate cakes, that surround a fluffy, vanilla marshmallow-y filling. YUM! We have been making this recipe for years and years to much acclaim. No one can resist a whoopie pie. Why would you even want to?

Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor is the second most visited national park east of the Mississippi. Visitors who make the trek up Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard, can claim to be the first people to see the sun rise, at least for part of the year.

Whoopie Pies

  • Servings: 12-15 pies
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


For cakes:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar

For filling:

  • 2 cups marshmallow spread
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar


For cakes:

In a medium bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a measuring cup, combine milk and vanilla. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg and oil. Mix well until well combined. Add sugar and continue mixing, until well combined. With the mixer running, alternate adding the flour-cocoa mixture, with the milk mixture. Mix until just combined and no flour pockets appear in the batter.

Drop tablespoons of batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This will yield between 24 and 30 cakes depending on the size. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until the tops spring up when touched. Let cool on wire rack.

For filling:

Combine marshmallow spread, confectioners sugar, butter and vanilla in a clean bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Filling should be light and fluffy. When cakes are completely cool, spread filling on half of the cakes. Put cakes together to form a sandwich.

Huckleberry Handpies – Montana

We’ve just returned from a glorious week in Glacier National Park. This jewel in the national park system is one of the most beautiful places on earth. At every turn, you are met with a stunning vista  . . .

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

a gorgeous waterfall . . .

St. Mary’s Falls, Glacier National Park

. . . or a majestic mountain.

Mt. Oberlin (with Bird Woman Falls), Glacier National Park

And huckleberries. Mid-July to August is prime huck season. Stores and shops promote huckleberry flavored everything including ice cream, coffee, lemonade, chocolate and popcorn. They are a favorite of the black bear who roams these quarters and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a bear by the side of the road, munching away on this delectable treat (we were safe in our car, thank goodness).

This handpie recipe is a real winner. It combines the taste of a full-on

Huckleberry Handpies- Montana

pie, with the ease of a handheld pastry. Don’t fret if you can’t find huckleberries — and you probably can’t unless you live in northwest Montana, they haven’t been successfully grown commercially — just use blueberries.

Going-to-the-Sun Road is a 50-mile road (in fact, one of the only roads) that takes you from one end of Glacier to the other. Open only in the summer and often maddingly jammed with traffic, this route offers breathtaking views and passes the highest point in the park, Logan Pass.

Huckleberry Handpies

  • Servings: 8 pies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


For Pastry:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup cold water

For Filling:

  • 2 cups fresh huckleberries or blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Salt, pinch

For Topping:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Turbinado sugar 


To make pastry: In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture is a coarse meal. Add water and pulse until dough comes together. Wrap dough in plastic and place in refrigerator until chilled.

To make filling: In the meantime, make the filling. Place berries in a medium saucepan. Add cornstarch, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Heat on medium until mixture begins to simmer. Allow mixture to thicken, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon zest. Set aside to cool (mixture can be made a day ahead of time).

To assemble handpies: Roll the chilled dough into a 12” X 12” square. Cut out 16 squares. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling on 8 of the squares. Place pastry on top and crimp edges with fork tines. Brush tops of handpies with beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place each handpie on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut two small slits in each pie to allow steam to vent. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Czech Kolaches – South Dakota

We’ve talked before about how kuchen is South Dakota’s official state dessert, but you might not be aware the close runner-up were kolaches (koh-LAH-chees). This tasty pastry was brought to the

Czeck Kolaches - South Dakota

Mount Rushmore State from immigrating Czechs around the middle of the 19th century to the southern part of the state. In fact, tiny Tabor (population 413), holds Czech Days every year and kolaches are a huge draw.

Kolaches can be made with a variety of fillings including cream cheese, poppy seed, prune and even savory elements like sausage and cabbage. We tried our hand at apricot and cherry as we thought those were the real crowd pleasers and we were not disappointed. Great with a cup of coffee or tea, we found ourselves sneaking just one more . . . and then another.

If spelunking is your thing, check out Wind Cave National Park, located in the southern part of the Black Hills National Forest. With over 143 miles of winding passageways under only 1.2 square mile of surface area, and housing a unique cave formation known as boxwork, this cave system is not to be missed.

Czech Kolaches

  • Servings: 24 pieces
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


For Pastry:

  • 1¼ cup warm milk, divided
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 ¼ cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

For Apricot Filling (enough for half of recipe):

  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum

For Cherry Filling (enough for half of recipe):

  • ¾ cup cherry juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups frozen cherries, thawed


To make pastry: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine ¼ cup milk, sugar, yeast and ¼ cup flour. Let stand for 15 minutes or until mixture becomes frothy. Add remaining flour and milk, then butter, egg and lemon zest. Mix with a dough hook on low speed until a smooth dough is formed, about 4 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and let rise, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

To make fillings: While you are waiting for the pastry to rise, make the fillings. For the apricot, in a small sauce pan, add orange juice and dried apricots. Let simmer for 30 minutes or until apricots are very soft. Remove from heat and add sugar. Let cool. Add to bowl of food processor, along with rum and process until well combined. Transfer to a clean bowl and put in fridge to allow to chill.

For the cherry filling, in a small saucepan add cherry juice, sugar and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until mixture is thick and bubbling. Remove from heat. Add cherries. Transfer to a clean bowl and put in fridge to allow to chill.

To assemble kolaches: Punch down dough. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Shape with hands into flattened balls. Place dough on baking sheets lined with parchment paper approximately 1 inch apart. Cover with tea towels and let rise until puffed, about 35-45 minutes. With your fingers, make a deep indentation in the center of the ball leaving a generous lip so the filling does not ooze out. Drop mounded tablespoons of filling in the center of each pastry. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.


Chocolate Chip, Bourbon Pecan Bars – Kentucky

It’s Derby Week! Yes, the Kentucky Derby is one of the fastest sporting events, clocking in at around two minutes, but it’s oh so much fun, even if you simply watch on TV with a few friends. If you

Chocolate Chip Bourbon Pecan Bars - Kentucky

do decide to host a viewing party, be sure to include mint juleps (see our recipe for the hands down best way to pump up the mint flavor), and Hot Browns, (a turkey sandwich fancied up with mouthwatering Mornay sauce and then topped with tomatoes, bacon and Pecorino Romano cheese). The traditional sweet finish is Bourbon Pecan Pie but if you want the same flavors in an easier to eat form, try these Chocolate Chip, Bourbon Pecan Bars. The shortbread cookie crust is a great base for the bourbon-laced filling.

Can’t make it to the Kentucky Derby? Don’t fret. You can take a variety of different tours of Churchill Downs after the crowds disperse.

Chocolate Chip, Bourbon Pecan Bars

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


   For Cookie Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

 For Filling: 

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans


For cookie crust: In the bowl of food processer, add flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter pieces and process until dough forms. Press into bottom of a greased 8X8 pan, being sure to add about a quarter of an inch around the sides of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven or just until cookie crust begins to brown. Remove and let stand.

For filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, add butter and brown sugar. Mix until creamed. Add eggs and bourbon, mix until incorporated. Add flour, chocolate chips and pecans. Mix until just incorporated. Pour filling on top of cookie crust and smooth to the edges. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until filling is firm and top is light golden brown. Cool completely before cutting.