Sweet Life Means Texas Desserts! Have You Eaten All These Treats?

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Tony Maples Photography


Having a sweet tooth isn’t considered a medical condition in Texas, in fact, we wholeheartedly embrace it! And add a twist where and when we can, of course. Many of these recipes have passed from one generation to the next. Here are only a few examples of favorite desserts we love in the Lone Star State.

Cobbler debuted when English settlers were unable to replicate traditional food in America. Today’s Texan recipes resemble a thick-crusted, deep-dish pie with both a top and bottom crust. Typically sweet, this treat is best when made with freshly grown fruit and comes after a big meal. Try making a Green Mustang Grape cobbler sometime!

Divinity is a stiff, meringue-type confection which likely came to be in the early 1900s. Typical recipes call for granulated sugar, water, egg whites, and corn syrup; the addition of nuts, coconut, or vanilla is optional. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity of ingredients: making divinity is an art form. The start to being successful is to make it on a dry day!

Sweet Life Means Texas Desserts! Have You Eaten All These Treats?

Facebook/Jackie Garvin’s Syrup and Biscuits

Funnel cake can be found easily in Texas because we love fairs, festivals, and outdoor events! It is a delectable dessert which is warm, sweet, and messy. Be sure to grab some napkins and a friend to share in the crisp. And try not to exhale while eating it face-first!

Pecan pie has major ties here. The nut is native to Texas, and evidence found here indicates Native Americans used pecans more than 8,000 years ago. The word itself is derived from the Algonquin word, pakani, referring to several nuts. The treat pictured here was made by my family from a recipe published in Southern Living magazine in the 1930s.

Sweet Life Means Texas Desserts! Have You Eaten All These Treats?

Photo: Honky Tonk Foodie

Sheet (or Sheath) cake, while popular across the United States, has a special place in the hearts of Texans. Whether you prefer plain, Dr Pepper, Mexican Chocolate, or another variety, one tip is to poke holes in the cake while warm and then ice it so that it gets into the cake. Reference librarian Lynne Olver writes that recipes such as these are products of the early 20th century due to the price of chocolate’s decline making it a “common cooking ingredient.”

Sopapillas are puffy dough pillows loved in Texas, often after a filling meal. Sprinkled atop with sugar and cinnamon, then doused with honey, they shared the honor with strudel as Texas’ state pastries from 2003 to 2005.

Bonus dessert fact: German chocolate cake is not German but rather, a Texas invention! In 1957, Mrs. George Clay of southeast Dallas submitted the recipe to the local paper, using Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate. She called the recipe “German’s” chocolate after Samuel German, who invented the chocolate while working for Baker’s Chocolate. It became a hit and was shared across the country, with the name eventually being shortened to what it is today. Even President Lyndon B. Johnson was confused about its origins. He served it to German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard in 1963.