I love the spices of the holidays. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Cardamom. (We have discussed my addition to Chai, right?) Cloves. Ginger. I love them all. I wanted a cookie that had all of the spices that I love. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a recipe that used all of the spices, so I created my own. Watch out Martha Stewart.
You will need: 3/4 cup shortening, 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided, 1 egg, 1/4 cup molasses, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves, 1/2 tsp. cardamom and Wilton sparkling sugar (optional). Did you get all of that?
No surprises here, cream together the 3/4 cup of shortening and 1 cup of granulated sugar. I'm not going to lie, this looks like paste. Right? Just me that thinks that? Huh.
While the shortening and sugar are creaming together, sift the dry ingredients. There can be weird little pieces in spices, so I always sift them just to be safe.
Add the 1 egg, 1/4 cup of molasses and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the creamed mixture.
Here's a tip: when you are making cookies that have a strong flavor, such as molasses based cookies or chocolate, it isn't all that necessary to use the best quality vanilla extract. This is when I use a store brand vanilla extract that costs much less than the higher quality vanilla that I would use for a sugar cookie in which the vanilla can be easily tasted.
Make sure that the egg and molasses are completely incorporated in your mixture.
Gradually add in your dry ingredients. Say it with me now: Do not overmix!
You will need to refrigerate this dough before you roll it into balls. I refrigerated it overnight just to be on the safe side, but you should be good after 2 hours.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. **If you are going to freeze the dough stop at this step. You will need to freeze the balls of dough individually on a cookie sheet or plate. Once they are frozen through, you can put them into a Ziploc bag and store in your freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake the cookies, you will need to defrost them first. Just put the whole bag (or as many as you want to bake) in the refrigerator overnight and they will be ready for you the next morning.
Roll the balls of dough in granulated sugar.
Bake these at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly browned.
If you are so inclined, once the cookies have been removed from the oven and placed on cooling racks, sprinkle with a bit of Wilton's sparkling sugar. Breathe in. Feel comfort. EnJOY.