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40 Uniquely American Desserts

Sure, we love treats like tiramisu or creme brulee, but some of the best sweets are all-American desserts. Each of these recipes has its roots right in the United States (and they are all delicious).

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Gooey Butter Cake

A friend gave me a quick version of this gooey butter cake recipe using a cake mix, but I prefer baking from scratch, so I made my own version. My family can’t get enough! The middle will sink a little; this is normal. This dessert is delicious served warm or cold. —Cheri Foster, Vail, Arizona

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Baked Alaska

For a refreshing end to a rich meal, try this freezer finale. Its intriguing interior and pretty color scheme are bound to garner oohs and aahs. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Apple Crisp

Here’s an easy apple crisp! This is a delicious dessert perfect for young cooks to prepare. It’s super simple to make since there’s no crust—just a crumbly topping. Plus, with apples and oats, it’s a wholesome treat. —Sheri Hatten, Devil’s Lake, North Dakota
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Homemade Boston Cream Pie

This elegant-looking Boston cream pie is so easy to prepare. Our dinner guests always seem to enjoy it. —Jane Uphoff, Cunningham, Kansas
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Homemade Confetti Cake

This is a moist and fluffy vanilla cake with lots of sprinkles and a whipped vanilla buttercream. It’s almost impossible not to feel happy when you see the fun pop of rainbow confetti! —Courtney Rich, Highland, UT
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Big & Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies

My take on the classic cookie is inspired by a bakery in California called Hungry Bear. It’s big, thick and chewy—truly the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. —Irene Yeh, Mequon, Wisconsin
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New York Cheesecake with Shortbread Crust

Light, creamy and smooth, this traditional New York cheesecake will melt in your mouth. I rely on a tender change-of-pace shortbread crust instead of graham cracker crust. This recipe takes time, but it’s not difficult, and the result is well worth the effort. —Karen Nielson, St. George, Utah
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Bourbon Pecan Pralines Exps Ft19 37537 F 1030 1 4

Bourbon Pecan Pralines

Like authentic pecan pralines found in New Orleans, these treats are sweet, crunchy and rich! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Ambrosia Salad

During last-minute menu planning, I often include this classic ambrosia salad recipe because I keep the ingredients on hand. —Judi Bringegar, Liberty, North Carolina
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Fresh Cherry Pie

If you’re looking to learn how to make a cherry pie, this recipe is the place to start. This ruby-red cherry pie is just sweet enough, with a hint of almond flavor and a good level of cinnamon. The cherries peeking out of the lattice crust makes it so pretty, too. I like to make a few of these cherry pies throughout the summer. —Josie Bochek, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
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Best Angel Food Cake

For our daughter’s wedding, a friend made this lovely, angel food cake from a recipe she’s used for decades. It really is one of the best angel food cake recipes I’ve found. Serve slices plain or dress them up with fresh fruit. —Marilyn Niemeyer, Doon, Iowa
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Buckeyes

These chocolate peanut butter balls (no bake!) are always popular at my church’s annual Christmas fundraiser. They resemble chestnuts or buckeyes—hence the name. —Merry Kay Opitz, Elkhorn, Wisconsin
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Watergate Salad

This fluffy pistachio salad is a real treat since it’s creamy but not overly sweet. It’s easy to mix up, and the flavor gets better the longer it stands. It’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, served in a green bowl. -Pattie Ann Forssberg, Logan, Kansas
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Icebox Cake

You don’t have to bake to serve a wonderful dessert! This “cake” is made from chocolate wafers and whipping cream. It is so delicious.—Cindy Hawkins, New York, New York
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Hummingbird Cake

This impressive hummingbird cake is my dad’s favorite, so I always make it for his birthday. It makes a memorable dessert for any celebration and is lovely with a summer meal. —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, New Jersey
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Chocolate Chiffon Cake

If you want to offer family and friends a dessert that really stands out from the rest, this is the cake to make. Beautiful high layers of rich sponge cake are drizzled with a succulent chocolate glaze. —Erma Fox, Memphis, Missouri
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Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Need to bring a dish to pass this weekend? This make-ahead strawberry pretzel salad will disappear quickly at any potluck. —Aldene Belch, Flint, Michigan
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Funnel Cakes

This funnel cake recipe is simpler to make than doughnuts, and it’s just as good. Funnel cakes have been a favorite of ours since we came across them living in the Ozarks. —Mary Faith Yoder, Unity, Wisconsin
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Carrot Sheet Cake

We sold pieces of this to-die-for carrot cake at an art show and before long, sold out of the 10 cakes we had made! —Dottie Cosgrove, South El Monte, California
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Banana Pudding

Creamy and rich, this homemade banana pudding recipe is so easy. Layer it in a trifle bowl for a pretty presentation. —Ruth Kizer, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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Old-Fashioned Whoopie Pies

Who can resist soft chocolate sandwich cookies filled with a layer of fluffy white frosting? Mom has made these for years. They’re a treat that never lasts very long with me and my two brothers around. —Maria Costello, Monroe, North Carolina
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Sweet Potato Pie

This creamy sweet potato pie is subtly spiced and slices beautifully! We suggest baking up a few sweet potato pies around the holidays to give to friends and family. — North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission
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Hermits

Dress up a cookie plate with these old-fashioned spice bars full of raisins, molasses, cinnamon, ginger and nuts. Then dip the chewy treats in coffee or hot cocoa on frosty days. It’s said the cookies are called “hermits” because you can hide them out of sight, just like hermits, for days. They’ll be just as good—maybe even better as the flavors blend and develop! —Jeri Tirmenstein, Apache Junction, Arizona
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Mississippi Mud Pie

This southern favorite is one my family can never get enough of and there are never any leftovers. My grandmother, mother and aunts always made this recipe for family gatherings. Now I make it for everyone because it’s so easy to prepare and everyone loves it! —Elizabeth Williston, Thibodaux, Louisiana
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Berger Cookies

After a friend who had recently traveled to Baltimore sent me a package of Berger cookies, I was hooked. They disappeared so quickly, I decided to try to re-create them at home. After many tests and tweaks, my husband and I gained 6 pounds between the two of us, but it was worth it—I landed on a reproduction of the famous cookie I’m so proud of. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Blue-Ribbon Apple Pie

This pie is special to me because I won a blue ribbon for it at the local fair and was able to compete at the state farm show. —Collette Gaugler, Fogelsville, Pennsylvania
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Red Velvet Cake

It’s just not Christmas at our house until this festive cake appears. This is different from other red velvets I’ve had; the icing is as light as snow. —Kathryn Davison, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Key Lime Pie

We created this refreshing mini pie with a homemade crumb crust and a pudding-like lime filling. If you can’t find Key lime juice, regular lime juice works just fine. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Easy Layer Bars

These rich bar cookies will melt in your mouth! They’re ideal to have on hand for a snack. —Pauline Schrag, Theresa, New York
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Oregon S Best Marionberry Pie Exps Fttmzj21 62173 E03 04 9b 2

Marionberry Pie

I believe Oregon marionberries make about the best berry pie in the world. And when you add some cream cheese and flavorings, you’ll be making the best even better! —Frances Benthin, Scio, Oregon
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Quick Bananas Foster

Guests are always impressed when I ignite the rum in this delicious bananas Foster dessert. Use perfectly ripe bananas for best results. —Mary Lou Wayman, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Old-Fashioned Stack Cakes

My grandmother has always fixed these at Christmas and they are the first thing everyone asks about. “Where is the stack cake?” The super thin layers are what make this recipe stand out…delicious! —Stephanie Gilbert, Whitesburg, Kentucky
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Sugar Cream Pie

I absolutely love Indiana sugar cream pie; especially the one that my grandma made for me. Here, we serve it warm or chilled and call it “Hoosier” sugar cream pie. —Laura Kipper, Westfield, Indiana
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Texas Sheet Cake

This chocolaty delight was one of my favorites growing up. The Texas sheet cake is so moist and the icing so sweet that everyone who samples it wants a copy of the recipe. —Susan Ormond, Jamestown, North Carolina
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All-American Banana Split

In 1904, the first banana split recipe was made here in Latrobe, Pennsylvania by David Strickler, an apprentice pharmacist at a local drug store. We still use his original formula when we make banana splits in our restaurants. —Melissa Blystone, Valley Dairy
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Chocolate Chip Blondies

Folks who love the flavor of the classic cookie will enjoy that same great flavor in these chocolate chip bars. This blondie recipe can be mixed up in a jiffy, tastes wonderful, and is perfect for occasions when company drops by unexpectedly or you need a treat in a hurry. —Rhonda Knight, Hecker, Illinois
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Favorite Coconut Cake

When I need an impressive dessert for a special occasion, this is the recipe I turn to. My guests are glad I do! —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
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Shoofly Pie

My grandmother made the best shoofly pie in the tradition of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Shoofly pie is to the Pennsylvania Dutch as pecan pie is to a Southerner. —Mark Morgan, Waterford, Wisconsin
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Snickerdoodles

The history of this whimsically named treat is widely disputed, but the popularity of this classic cinnamon-sugar-coated cookie is undeniable! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie

When I first made the original recipe for this bourbon-splashed pie, I added some vanilla extract and eliminated the flour. We loved the result. —Paul Falduto, Efland, North Carolina

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.