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Sweet Escapes

Sweet treats from all across the country!

Photo by Natalie at Obsessive Cooking Disorder

If there’s one thing that truly defines the United States of America, it’s our fondness for all things sweet. Sugar is an ingredient so versatile it can be made into all sorts of delicious treats. From coast to coast each region has a sugary dessert that defines its culture and draws tourists in. Let’s explore them together!

East Coast Elegance

Originating in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Whoopie Pies are fluffy, moist cakes sandwiched with creamy frosting or marshmallow filling. Legend says the Amish made them with leftover batter and frosting, and when eaten, someone exclaimed, “Whoopie!”, from then on, the name stuck. Visit Amish Country in Pennsylvania and try a Whoopie Pie!

Authentic Whoopie Pies


Whoopie Pies

  • 1 2/3 cups flour 
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Marshmallow Filling

  • 1 13 oz container of Marshmallow creme fluff 
  • 15 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  2. To make the Whoopie Pies, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. 
  3. Beat the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. 
  4. Add flour and buttermilk.
  5. Bake Whoopie Pies for 11 minutes. 
  6. While the Whoopie Pies Bake, make the filling by beating the marshmallow creme and butter. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. 
  7. When the Whoopie Pies have cooled, assemble by scooping marshmallow filling on the flat side of half the Whoopie Pies and enjoy. 

Recipe adapted from Handle the Heat with Tessa Arias

Southern Sweets

In Mississippi, tourists will discover a classic Southern sweet—Mississippi Mud Pie. Named for its resemblance to the Mississippi River mud, its layers include a graham cracker base, dense brownie, and chocolate custard with whipped cream. Taste it to see if it lives up to the hype!

Mississippi Mud Pie


Graham Cracker Crust

  • 15 whole graham crackers 
  • ¼ cup sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 8 tablespoons butter (melted) 

  • 8 tablespoons butter (cubed) 
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate pieces 
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup flour 

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate  
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch 
  • 2 cups milk 
  • 4 egg yolks 

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix graham crackers, sugar, salt, and butter into crumbs. Press into pan and bake for 10 minutes. Then, increase heat to 350°F. 
  2. Combine melted butter and chocolate. Whisk in brown sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and salt. Add egg yolks and whisk. 
  3. Beat egg whites with granulated sugar. Fold into chocolate mixture. Sift flour over mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes. 
  4. Mix chocolate and butter. Whisk sugar, salt, cocoa powder, and cornstarch. Add milk and egg yolks. Cook custard over medium heat, then combine with chocolate mixture. Pour custard over cake and chill for 4 hours. 
  5. Remove pie from pan and place on serving plate. Add whipped cream on top. 

Recipe adapted from Samantha Seneviratne New York Times Cooking2 

Midwest Marvels

In the Midwest, a Kringle is a standout dessert, with Scandinavian and German influence. It’s a flaky pastry filled with fruit, nuts, or other fillings, and then topped with vanilla icing. Its oval shape, inspired by its Norse name kringla, makes it unique. When you’re craving something different from cookies or cupcakes, try a Kringle!

Classic Kringles


Pastry Dough

  • 1 cup flour 
  • 1 cup bread flour 
  • 3 tbsp sugar 
  • 2 tsp instant yeast 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 cup butter 
  • 1/3 cup milk 
  • 1 egg  
  • 1 egg white 



  1. Mix flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Blend with butter in a food processor. 
  2. Combine egg and milk, then add dry ingredients and knead dough. Shape into a square and chill for 6-48 hours. 
  3. Roll dough into a rectangle, fold short ends to center, and chill for 30 minutes. 
  4. Repeat previous step. 
  5. For filling, mix butter, brown sugar, and nuts. 
  6. Divide chilled dough in half. Spread filling evenly on each dough piece and seal the seams. 
  7. Let dough rise for 45 minutes. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. 
  8. For the icing, stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla, sea salt, and 3-4 tablespoons of water or milk. Spread over cooled Kringle. 

Recipe adapted from Dan at Platter Talk

Pacific Coast Pleasures

On the Pacific Coast, Oregon boasts the exclusive marionberry. Used in pies, crisps, cobblers, bars, and more, it adds tartness to sweet treats. Even Tillamook makes a marionberry ice cream! When in the Pacific Northwest, try a marionberry dessert for a burst of new flavor!

Marionberry Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream


  • 1 cup milk  
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 2 eggs  
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • 1/4 cup marionberry jam  
  • 1/3 cup frozen marionberries, defrosted  


  1. Heat milk and heavy cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. 
  2. Whisk sugar, eggs, and egg yolk in a bowl. Slowly add warm milk mixture to eggs. Return mixture to saucepan, whisk, then cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled. 
  3. Pour chilled custard into ice cream maker. Gently swirl in marionberry jam and marionberries. Freeze following manufacturer’s instructions. 

Recipe adapted from Natalie at Obsessive Cooking Disorder

While all these desserts are widely different in size, shape, color, and flavor, they all have the power to connect people to their roots and give visitors the chance to explore new cultures. So, the next time you find yourself in a new region of the United States, take a chance and try one of these unique desserts. You never know—it might turn out to be your sweetest escape!