These delightful cookies were introduced to our family by our sweet aunt, who graciously bakes them for us fairly regularly. My children absolutely love them, and once they see that AL has made a batch, they cannot stop snitching them. These cookies should be removed from the oven when done but still soft, so watch carefully.
Preheat oven to 375.
Cream 3/4 cup shortening, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup molasses, and 1 egg until fluffy. Sift together 2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves; stir into molasses mixture.
Form in small balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake in moderate oven (375) 12 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen.
I have had good success cutting the shortening to 1/2 cup. If desired, you may add a bit more molasses.
You can also make a gluten-free version of these cookies by substituting milled rice flour or any gluten-free flour mixture. Just add 2 tsp xanthan gum along with the dry mixture.
Depending on the way your oven bakes, 12 minutes may be too long for a soft cookie. Set the timer for 8 minutes and check to find the proper length of time for the perfect cookie.