Maine may have laid claim to the whoopie pie as its official state treat, but plenty of other states have made their sweet tooth known by naming some unusual desserts their symbolic foods. While some are steeped in tradition, others have origins as disputed as that of the whoopie pie. Here are a few official state sweetgoods worth noting.
Indiana: hoosier pie Also called sugar cream or finger pie (because the filling was traditionally stirred with a finger during baking to keep the crust from breaking), hoosier pie allegedly originated with Quaker settlers in the early 1800s, although it also was popular with the Amish. The dessert is composed of a pie shell coated with creamed butter and maple or brown sugar, filled with vanilla-infused cream and baked. It was named Indiana’s official state pie in 2009.
Maryland: Smith Island cake Though its exact origins are still disputed, the cake gets its name from the 4- by 8-mile island off the coast of Crisfield, Md. Smith Island cake contains as many as a dozen thin yellow sponge cake layers alternating with a cooked chocolate icing that sets like fudge. It was adopted as Maryland’s state dessert in 2008.
New Mexico: biscochito Named New Mexico’s state cookie in 1989, the biscochito (or bizcochito) is a crispy lard- or butter-based cookie flavored with anise and cinnamon. It originated with the Spanish colonists of New Mexico and is typically served during holidays and special occasions.
North Dakota: kuchen Named for the German word for “cake,” kuchen is used to describe a range of desserts and pastries. Common varieties include a pie with a cake-like crust and sweet custard filling; rolled, filled pastry; coffee cake; and cheesecake with a yeast-raised crust. It was designated South Dakota’s state dessert in 2000.
Texas: cowboy bread This sweet bread has been Texas’ state bread since 2005. Also known as pan de campo, it is made with shortening, buttermilk, cinnamon and nutmeg, and is traditionally baked in a Dutch oven over a mesquite fire.