Baking is, perhaps, my favorite part of the holidays. And this is probably my favorite cookie recipe. I started making them several years ago after searching for something a little more "holiday" than chocolate chip cookies and something easier than rolled sugar cookies. And I found absolute cookie heaven with this recipe, let me tell you.
It is slightly adapted from this recipe found on www.epicurious.com.
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup sugar + 1/2 cup sugar for rolling
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325°F. and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.
In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter, shortening, and sugars until light and fluffy and beat in molasses. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture and combine well.
In a small shallow bowl put remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Form dough into 2-inch balls and roll in sugar. On baking sheets arrange balls about 4 inches apart.
Bake cookies in middle of the oven 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden. (Cookies should be soft.) Transfer cookies to racks to cool.
Notes: Bigger cookies are better. I've done smaller sizes and they just don't get as nice and chewy. Also, I've done half batches several times with no problems. And these are better a day or two after you bake them (rather than fresh out of the oven). It gives them time to get nice a chewy and for the spices to settle in.