For nine decades, Our State has made its way into homes across North Carolina, the United States, and the world. To celebrate, every month this year, we’re paying tribute to the readers who inspire us, offering a taste of our earliest recipes, and revisiting old stories with new insights. Follow along to find out how our past has shaped our present.
July 26, 1952 • Although this particular recipe calls for some waiting time, this 1952 issue of The State claimed that the average homemaker only spent two hours in the kitchen each day. Thanks to innovations like insulated ranges and pressure cookers, mid-century women were able to cut meal-prepping time in half compared to previous generations.
Yield: 35 to 40 rolls.
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening, melted ½ cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon salt 2 cups boiling water, plus ⅓ cup lukewarm water 3 (¼-ounce) packets dry active yeast 2 large eggs, beaten 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting Butter, melted, for brushing
In a large mixing bowl, combine shortening, sugar, and salt. Stir in boiling water and let cool to lukewarm.
In a separate bowl, dissolve dry yeast in ⅓ cup lukewarm water. Add eggs and stir. Add yeast mixture to shortening and sugar mixture. Gradually add flour and stir until a stiff dough forms. Prepare glass bowl with cooking spray and place dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
When ready to bake, place the amount of dough desired in a lightly greased bowl. Cover bowl with a clean dish towel and allow dough to rise until it doubles in size, about 2 hours. Knead dough on a lightly floured countertop until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover dough again with a clean dish towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into golf ball-size pieces. Shape pieces into balls and place on a greased 9-inch round cake pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until balls have doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush rolls with butter. Serve warm.
June 1, 1946 • The original recipe for this pie came with a disclaimer: “If you are lucky enough to find a can of sweetened condensed milk, here is the way to make an excellent pie.” In 1946, the country was still recovering from World War II. Ration books were distributed to every citizen, including infants, who were given 16 ration points to go toward canned condensed milk, making this ingredient a luxury for others.
Yield: 6 servings.
1 can sweetened condensed milk Juice from 3 lemons 3 large eggs, separated 1 graham cracker pie shell
Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix condensed milk, lemon juice, and egg yolks in a bowl using either a whisk or an electric hand mixer. Pour mixture into pie shell and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the meringue: Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Spread egg whites over pie, making sure to get it up against the crust. Bake for 10 minutes or until the meringue peaks are slightly browned. Remove from oven and let sit for 20 minutes before refrigerating. Serve cold.
February 20, 1937 • Pecans were a common baking ingredient in the South during the Great Depression. In 1931, pecan production in North Carolina was 10 times higher than a decade prior, making the nut more accessible for bakers.
Yield: 48 cookies.
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup light brown sugar 2 large eggs 2½ cups all-purpose flour ¼ teaspoon salt ¾ teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon baking soda 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon ¾ teaspoon ground allspice 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ⅓ cup pecans, chopped
Using a hand mixer, cream butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and continue mixing on low speed.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix on low speed. Stir in vanilla and pecans, and mix well.
Divide dough into 2 balls. Roll into logs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Slice dough into ½-inch-thick rounds and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Place cookies on a cooling rack. Store in an air-tight container.
June 3, 1950 • This recipe called for “cocoanut” macaroons, a retired spelling of “coconut.” In 1855, for example, the Neuse River Navigation Company listed the price of three “cocoanut dippers,” a popular drinking cup at the time, as $1.05.
Yield: 8 servings.
36 coconut macaroons or 21 ounces coconut cookies ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened, plus ¼ cup melted ¼ teaspoon salt 4 (1-ounce) squares milk chocolate ½ cup heavy cream 3 egg yolks 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 5 egg whites Whipped topping (for garnish) Chocolate sprinkles (for garnish)
Add macaroons to a food processor and pulse until they resemble coarse sand. Add melted butter and salt; pulse 5 times.
Prepare a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Press macaroon mixture firmly into the pan, pushing into the edges and halfway up the sides.
Using a double boiler on low heat, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally. Add heavy cream, egg yolks, and sugar, stirring constantly until thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Using an electric mixer, beat softened butter until fluffy. Add chocolate to butter and mix on low speed until well combined.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into chocolate filling until well combined. Pour filling into pan and spread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours. Serve with whipped cream and sprinkles.