Halifax County artist Tina Gregory, featured in the October 2011 issue of Our State, shares a recipe for ginger snaps. Gregory often shares the cookies with friends and family and says they do wonders for the body and mind.
2 cups of sugar
¾ cup of butter or shortening. (I use butter, as it makes the taste more complex.)
½ cup of molasses
Preheat oven to 375º. Mix these ingredients well. If the butter is soft, I do it this by hand, so there aren’t so many things to wash, but a mixer works better!
3 cups of all purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons of soda
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 generous teaspoons of ginger
½ teaspoon of cloves
Freshly grated nutmeg (maybe a teaspoon? This is the super secret ingredient.)
1 heaping teaspoon of freshly grated ginger (optional…but really good!)
Mix the dry ingredients together and add the butter/sugar mixture. Stir well. Drop the cookie dough by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, about two inches apart. Recommended baking time is 8 minutes, but watch the cookies. They puff up and then fall. As soon as they fall, remove from oven. This makes them chewy in the center and crisp on the outside. Depending on the oven, this may take anywhere from 7-10 minutes, but once you know when the cookies will collapse, you know how long to bake them without having to watch over them.
Tina Gregory practices scherenschnitte — an art form of extreme patience. With every snip, she trims away the excess, and beauty emerges from the remnants. Her story appears in the October 2011 issue of Our State.
A century has passed since Latta University closed its doors, and generations have come and gone from the Raleigh neighborhood where it once stood. In North Carolina, history is all around us — even when evidence of the past has all but vanished.