The Basque community has resided in Nevada for a long time, and they’ve found some fun ways to adjust common foods in new and exciting ways. For instance, the basque cheesecake is mostly a normal cheesecake, but it’s placed in a really, really hot oven in order to create a “burnt” exterior – it’s not really burnt.
It’s just the wonderful way that cheese caramelizes when it’s subject to high temperatures for long enough. You have to line the pan with parchment paper, or the entire thing will get stuck to the pan while it’s in the oven, but if you do it right, you’ll have a crunchy, flaky exterior with a traditional creamy, cheesy interior. Your guests might be surprised at just how good it is, even if it looks like you left it in the oven too long.
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.
Illinois – Pumpkin Pie
Just like sweet potato pie in the South, there are plenty of places around the United States that love turning pumpkins into a paste and then using it to fill a pie. It’s a classic item from Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations around the world, and Illinois has one of the largest pumpkin industries in the country.
So large, in fact, that the state named the pumpkin pie its official dessert in 2015. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get this savory dessert anywhere else – it just means that the best ones are probably going to come from Illinois. It’s not just pumpkin, of course. The recipe also includes sweetened and condensed milk, cinnamon, eggs, ginger, nutmeg, and more. You’d be remiss not to top it with some whipped cream, too.
Montana – S’mores
If you want to have fun in Montana, then you’re almost certainly going to have to step into the great outdoors. There are mountains, streams, and lakes a plenty, as well as quiet, peaceful forests to explore. At night, after you’ve made a campfire, why not enjoy the treat that has kept campers happy for decades? A s’more is simple.
You toast a marshmallow over a flame, stick it between a pair of Graham crackers, and then introduce a piece of chocolate at the place where you think it fits best. You can also do something like a Reese’s cup for an extra-sweet treat. There are all kinds of changes you can make to create a treat that is uniquely you, or you can stick with the original for something simple and fun.