Popular in areas of the Midwest and Texas, the kolache (ko-lah-chee) is a pastry that originated from Czechoslovakia, made of yeast dough and usually filled with fruit, though sometimes a cheese mixture finds its way inside, too. They commonly use traditional flavors, such as poppy seed, apricot, or even prune. There’s an area of Texas known as the Texas Czech Belt, which has a ton of immigrants from Czechoslovakia that settled there during the 1880s.
One of the immigrants, Wendel Montgomery, opened a bakery to sell these treats and a few other things. Despite everybody in the community being familiar with them, they took off with people traveling through the area. There’s even a version that is filled with sausage, cheese, and jalapenos, which are called “klobasniki.” From there, the popularity continued to grow.
Missouri – Gooey Butter Cake
This St. Louis original combines a rich, buttery cake crust and a cream cheese layer that is baked together in a couple of simple steps. You just need a cake mix (preferably yellow) mixed with butter, a couple of eggs, and some vanilla until it’s all combined, and pat the mixture into a baking dish.
Then, combine cream cheese, two more eggs, and another teaspoon of vanilla with some confectioner’s sugar, and you’ll have an easy, gooey dessert that is making Missouri famous. Top with a little bit more confectioner’s sugar if it isn’t sweet enough for you yet (which might be hard – the recipe already has four cups of sugar in it). Simplicity goes a long way, and this recipe is hard to mess up.
Montana – Huckleberry Pie
Nothing too crazy to talk about here, but a huckleberry pie still sounds pretty darn good. Montana has a lot of wild huckleberries, which are similar to the blueberry, but they have a color that trends closer to red when they’re subjected to heat. A pie of these things doesn’t take much more than a blueberry pie to make this dish.
A few cups of berries, some lemon juice and zest, a little bit of heavy cream and white sugar, and some butter. Honestly, if you know how to make a blueberry pie, you can probably just substitute the blueberries for huckleberries and call it good, but there are plenty of recipes developed for the things that will bring out their naturally wild and tart profile.
Nevada – Chocolate
Wow, Nevada likes chocolate. Stop the presses. Sure, everybody likes chocolate, but it turns out that Nevada REALLY likes chocolate. Las Vegas is not only packed with plenty of chocolate shops, but it also features the world’s largest chocolate fountain in the famous Bellagio.
It’s a place that is most well-known for its fountains, and the chocolate one it has is more than twenty feet tall. There are all-you-can-eat chocolate buffets in the state, which is an idea that we didn’t know we needed to try. The state dessert even seems to be something called Chocolate Sin Pie, which is probably the right choice for a state that includes Las Vegas and also loves its chocolate.
New Hampshire – Cider Doughnuts
Not content to just enjoy doughnuts, New Hampshire had to kick things up a notch and bring us something called cider doughnuts. They’re a favorite in much of New England, which is fairly bursting with apple orchards. New Hampshire has plenty of its own, including the oldest one in the state, Applecrest Farms.
Cider doughnuts are flavored with sweet apple cider, though we assume that any kind of cider would do as long as it's sweet enough. You have to boil the cider down until it’s almost a syrup before adding it to the mixture, and then you coat the doughnuts in cinnamon sugar. They’re packed with fall flavor and are only difficult because you have to worry about frying them in oil. They also work well with glaze.