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.
Alaska – Baked Alaska
It might not have actually come from Alaska, but this incredibly fancy dessert was both an homage to the state, and something that the largest part of our union accepted as its own. A scientist named Sir Benjamin Thomas discovered a great treat while he was experimenting with meringue. The dish is a cake that is made out of, or filled with, delicious ice cream.
It’s then covered with a meringue that is “baked,” though only for a small amount of time. The meringue gets crispy, crunchy, and has the burned bits on top, while the ice cream within is safe – insulated by the meringue. You get the wonderfully crunchy meringue on top, but then you get to the soft, flavorful ice cream underneath.
Iowa – Scotcheroos
You might be able to make this quintessentially American treat right now – the base is mostly Rice Krispies cereal, though there are several other options, such as Special K cereal. You also have to use a sugar-filled peanut butter mixture, which is melted, and then used to cover the cereal. It’s a no-bake option, too, since you just spread the Rice Krispie treat base in a pan and then pour the rest of the dessert on top.
After it cools you cut it into bars and serve. They taste great, but don’t let anyone tell you they’re healthy – especially since you’re going to end up eating quite a couple of these before you’re done. They’re a mainstay of potlucks and picnics all over the Midwest, and there’s a big debate about the name.
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.
California – Chiffon Cake
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.