Wyoming - "Cutie" Pies

Wyoming is the 10th most extensive state in the U.S but is the second least densely populated.  30 million acres of the vast state are farms and the number one agricultural product produced are cows and calves.  You may be wondering where this is heading... well, with all that cattle, a popular cookie in Wyoming is called the Cow Pie.  I just couldn't bring myself to call my last state sweet a Cow Pie, so I'm going to call them Cutie Pies instead.  

This chocolate / peanut butter / oatmeal no-bake cookie has many other names, but no matter what you call it, it is delicious and super fast to make! 

4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups quick cooking oats 


  • melt first 4 ingredients in large pan and boil for 1 minute
  • remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, vanilla and the quick cooking oats
  • immediately drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper or aluminum foil 
  • enjoy once cool

I was happy to rediscover this cookie (despite the name) and hope you will give it a try if you haven't had one before!  


Wisconsin - Frozen Custard

While Frozen Custard originated at Coney Island in New York back in 1919, the people of Wisconsin have embraced this variation on ice cream and made it a must have dessert in Wisconsin.  

To be called frozen custard, the treat must meet some requirements:

  • be at least 10% butterfat (like traditional ice cream)  
  • must contain 1.4% by weight of egg yolk
  • have a low overrun (amount of air added into the product) and 
  • be frozen and served fresh daily.
Custard is also served at a warmer temperature than ice cream - 18 degrees F vs. 12 degrees F.  Some of the most popular custard chains in Wisconsin are Culvers, Kopp's and Gilles.   Custard stands usually have vanilla, chocolate and a flavor of the day and make batches fresh throughout the day.

Making true custard at home is a bit difficult because the machinery and method used to freeze the custard is not the same as that used in an at home ice cream freezer, but you can still make a decadent treat at home using this recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.    

5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream, divided
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup milk (2% or whole)
3/4 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 


  • place chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.  prepare an ice bath in a bowl slightly larger than the bowl your chocolate is in
  • in a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup of cream and the cocoa powder over medium-high heat
  • bring the mixture to a bowl and then reduce heat to medium
  • let simmer for 30 seconds.  pour the hot mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth
  • stir in remaining 1 cup of cream and place a mesh sieve over the bowl 
  • using the same saucepan warm the milk, sugar and salt 
  • place egg yolks in a medium bowl and slowly pour warm milk mixture into the eggs while whisking constantly
  • immediately pour the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan.  use a spatula to move the mixture while cooking over medium heat
  • continue to stir until the mixture is thickened and reaches a temperature 170 - 175 degrees F. Do not let it boil!
  • remove from heat and pour through the mesh sieve into the chocolate mixture
  • immediately move the bowl into the ice bath and whisk until the mixture has cooled 
  • stir in the vanilla and cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap 
  • refrigerate overnight
  • once the mixture is chilled give it a stir and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions
  • for a soft serve consistency, serve immediately or freeze for several hours for a traditional ice cream consistency.  

Wow - this is really rich and creamy and a great way to showcase Wisconsin dairy!   


West Virginia - Blackberry Cake

I was so happy to come across multiple recipes for West Virginia Blackberry Cake as I was researching a unique sweet for The Mountain State.  While the Golden Delicious Apple is the official fruit of West Virginia, I was intrigued by this old fashioned style cake and really liked the idea of having another layer cake on Sweet State of Mine.  Plus, we're heading into prime blackberry season so the timing was perfect! 

I don't know the exact history behind the WV Blackberry Cake but blackberries are readily available throughout the state and are celebrated each August at the Blackberry Festival in Nutter Fort, WV.   

for the layers

for the icing

for the layers:
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries 

for the icing:
1 cup butter, softened
1 pound box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cold coffee 


  • cream sugar and butter together
  • beat eggs and add to creamed mixture
  • combine flour, spices, baking powder and soda
  • stir into creamed mixture, alternating with buttermilk
  • carefully fold in berries 
  • bake at 350 degrees in 3 greased and floured 8 inch layer pans for 30 minutes or until cake is done and springs back to the touch 
  • cool on wire rack 
  • for the icing, beat all ingredients together until smooth 
  • frost cake layers and assemble 

What's neat about this cake is the unexpected blending of seasonal flavors with the very "fall-ish" spice layers and the super "summery" blackberries.  Throw in the hint of coffee in the icing and you have a truly unique cake! 


Washington - Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars are a Canadian confection but found their way into the Pacific Northwest and Washington where they are a local favorite.   These no bake bar cookies are three layers of goodness - chocolate graham/coconut/walnut crust, vanilla custard flavored butter icing, and rich chocolate!  People of Washington - why are you keeping this treat a secret from the rest of us?!   Just kidding - we aren't mad, now that we have the recipe!  

bottom layer...

middle layer...

top layer...

bottom layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup dried coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 

middle layer:
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 - 3 Tablespoons milk or cream
2 Tablespoons vanilla pudding powder 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar

top layer:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter 

bottom layer:

  • butter or lightly spray a 9x9 inch pan with non stick spray
  • in a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter 
  • remove from heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg
  • return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes)
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut and chopped nuts
  • press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan
  • cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about an hour)
middle layer:
  • with mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy
  • add the remaining ingredients for the middle layer and beat until the mixture is smooth
  • if the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk
  • spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes)
top layer:
  • chop the chocolate into small pieces
  • melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler
  • spread the melted chocolate evenly over the filling and refrigerate for about 10 minutes or just until the chocolate has set.
  • using a sharp knife, cut into squares

Nanaimo Bars are really rich so you may want to cut them into bite sized pieces - and I really liked them nice and cold, straight from the fridge!