Who doesn’t like sweets? Every day, people eat tons of chocolate, cakes, cookies, and jelly and it’s hard to believe that there once was a time when desserts didn’t exist. Everything has its beginning; people like to say that they’re fond of Italian/Indian/Chinese/Spanish cuisine, but by that, most of them mean appetizers, snacks or main dishes. What’s more, when someone was to ask about desserts that originate in the USA, many non-American people would go speechless; hot-dogs, burgers – yes – but desserts? Well, yes! Here are some examples that may encourage you to take a culinary tour of the USA.
Well, the general idea may not be all-American, but they really perfected it since the 1600s when the pilgrims brought apples to the Americas. There’s even a saying in the USA – “as American as apple pie” – so you can’t have any doubts about apple pie’s nationality. It’s a year-round sweet treat, but there’s nothing like picking apples and then enjoying a warm piece of the pie in the fall.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is a typical example of an accidental invention. They originated in Massachusetts in the 1930s when Ruth Graves Wakefield, the owner of Tollhouse Inn, ran out of baker’s chocolate and used broken pieces of regular chocolate to bake chocolate cookies. Everyone loved it and Wakefield gained a lifetime supply of chocolate chips by selling her recipe to Nestle. And if you’re not a fan of too much sweetness, you can replace chocolate chips with cacao nibs to get a smooth, bittersweet taste.
It’s probably one of the most American things that exist. The very first recipe for this campfire treat was published in a Girls Scout guidebook, Tramping and Trailing. Reportedly, it was a girls scouts leader, Loretta Scott Crew, who came up with this recipe. It’s super tasty, but shockingly simple: a marshmallow and dark chocolate between two pieces of graham cracker.
It was created in Philadelphia in 1904 and shortly it became a classic. It’s basically a split banana with whipped cream, ice-cream, chocolate chips, syrups, fruits and anything you could possibly think of. If you’ve ever seen an old American movie, a commercial or a poster where people were enjoying their milkshake or a bottle of coca-cola in a diner, they were probably eating a banana split as well.
Boston Cream Pie
It was perfected around 1850 and called Chocolate Cream Pie, but they changed the name after it became an official dessert of the state of Massachusetts. It’s a yellow butter cake filled with vanilla custard or cream and glazed with chocolate. Why call it a pie when it’s actually a cake? Two hundred years ago there was no difference – pies and cakes were cooked in the same pan and therefore called the same.
It’s a treat from the south of the US; a recipe can be found in the cookbook written by Martha Washington herself. That sounds very American, right? To have a real Chess Pie you only need a single crust and a custard-like filling made of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. Depending on your taste, you can make other variations; the most popular are: lemon, chocolate, nuts, and buttermilk.
Key lime pie
It was created in the 1800s in the Florida Keys – hence the name, because that’s where key limes grow. This classic American dessert is graham cracker crust with eggs, sweetened condensed milk and, of course, key limes, or nowadays also regular limes. Thanks to its sweet and sour lime taste, you can be sure you’ll surprise everyone with that pie.
This one shouldn’t be a surprise to those who enjoy a good book. This dessert was featured in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, but it was created much earlier, in the 1800s by Alabamian Emma Rylander Lane. It’s a bourbon-laced cake filled with cream, raisins, pecans, and coconut; if you like something different, you can replace the bourbon with brandy or wine. Sometimes it’s frosted on the sides or on the top; or both, because why not.
Are you already a fan of American cuisine? And this is only the tip of the iceberg! Of course, it’s perfect to try them all in the place of their origin or at least in a real, American restaurant, but if you can’t afford a trip right now and you prefer your own kitchen to any diner, not everything is lost. In general, basic versions of these desserts are not very hard to make, so if you don’t mind baking, you can enjoy these sweet treats even outside the US. So what about the American-themed party?