Windy from the SF board is in search of ginger cookies, so I'm posting my personal favorite here:
Ginger Spice Cookies
2c all purpose flour (unbleached)
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger (this is expensive in american stores like $9! so try finding it at asian markets. I also like to use a full cup)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temp (trans fat free is available from Crisco or at Whole Foods)
1/2 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 large egg
1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses, or water and brown sugar.
small dish of whatever sugar you like to use to sprinkle on cookies.
Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowel; whisk to blend. Mix in crystallized ginger. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, shortening and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and mix JUST until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets. Spoon sugar in thick layer onto small plate. Using wet hands, form dough into 1 1/4 inch balls; roll in sugar to coat completely. Place on cookie hseets 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until just beginning to crack on top but still soft to touch, about 12 minutes (NO LONGER OR THEY WON'T BE SOFT, and the bottom will burn) Cool on sheets one minute. Carefully transfer to racks and cool (they will still be very soft at this point). Makes about 30 (or less if you like large cookies).