These regional desserts will take you places

Most everyone had a favorite dessert growing up, whether it was the special birthday cake their mother made them every year or the cookies Grandma always had ready at her house.

Many times, favorite desserts tie back to that region’s specialties. Incorporating some delicious treats with roots from different parts of the country can bring diversity to your dessert menu and maybe even remind some of your customers of their hometowns or childhood.

Here are some popular regional desserts your customers will love, whether it stirs up old memories or introduces them to a brand new flavor:

Shaved ice from Hawaii

Shaved ice is a Hawaiian favorite, but recipes for this cold treat date back to 794 BC, when the Japanese hiked mountains to retrieve the ice to make the dessert. At that time, shaved ice was mainly enjoyed by royalty, Hawaiian Shaved Ice explained. As Japanese immigrants came to Hawaii many years later, they brought their favorite dessert recipe with them.

A woman holds a bowl of blue and green brightly colored shaved ice.Shaved ice is a Hawaiian favorite with Japanese roots.

Try this coconut-lime shaved ice recipe from the Seattle Times for your own take on the chilly yet tropical dessert:

Heat water, sugar, lime juice and lime zest in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves, then chill in the refrigerator. Once chilled, add more water and lime juice, then pour into a 9-by-13-inch pan and freeze. Scrape the surface every 20 minutes or so to prevent it from freezing into a solid block and instead freeze into small ice crystals. Once ready, fold in cream of coconut and scoop into bowls to serve.

Pecan pie from Texas

In 2013, the Texas House of Representatives named pecan pie the official state pie, according to Austin NPR affiliate station KUT. To make this regional specialty for yourself, try out Genius Kitchen’s recipe for Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie:

First, boil together corn syrup (this can be light, dark or a combination) and sugar. Next, beat together four eggs, then slowly add the corn syrup mixture, stirring constantly. Then, stir in butter, vanilla extract and coarsely broken pecans. Pour all this into your favorite pie crust and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes to an hour. The pie is done when the filling is set.

Mackinac Island fudge from Michigan

The original Mackinac Island fudge recipe was developed by Sara Murdick, who immigrated from Germany in the 1800s and opened several confectioneries and candy shops in Michigan, including Murdick’s Fudge on Mackinac Island. The shop claims that the unique Great Lakes climate contributes to their fudge’s perfect texture, but with the right recipe, like this one from Genius Kitchen, you can imitate this favorite treat in your own kitchen.

Begin by mixing milk, butter, brown sugar, white sugar and salt in a saucepan. Stir constantly as you bring to a boil. Continue to stir while you let the mixture boil for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat until the mixture is smooth and thick, then stir in chopped nuts. Pour into a pan and freeze, then cut into squares.

Sweet potato pie from North Carolina

North Carolina has been the No. 1 producer of sweet potatoes for more than four decades, according to The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission Inc. The state and its Southern neighbors have a devoted love of sweet potato pie – a favorite year-round but particularly at Thanksgiving. Taste of Home explains how to prepare this Southern staple:

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, milk, sweet potatoes, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix until you have a consistent texture. Pour into your favorite pie shell, then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 40 minutes. The pie is done when you can stick a butter knife in the center and pull it out clean.

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