Desserts on the prairie were not always mere luxury or indulgence. After a long day of hard physical labor, they often provided settlers with crucial calories to fuel such huge expenditures of energy. But they also provided something else important: a vehicle for important nutrients. Most desserts were fruit-based, which offered vitamins and minerals not found in daily fare based around meats and breads. In the summer and autumn, when garden vegetables and fruits were present, this was not as critical. But in the winter and spring, dried fruit pies, biscuits with fruit preserves and other such treats did help to stave off malnutrition.
Of course, some sweet treats were merely for pleasure, to liven up holiday celebrations, or just to use up plentiful ingredients. But usually, it was a combination of needing the calories and extra nutrition and just the joy of eating a delectable sweet treat!