|In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the shortening and sugar till well-combined, then add the molasses and egg, beating till smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Add this mixture to the wet ingredients, beating till smooth.
Refrigerate the dough, covered, for 1 hour, or until it is stiff. When the dough is chilled, roll it into 1-inch balls. Or you can skip the refrigeration and use a small cookie or ice cream scoop to scoop out 1 inch balls of dough.
Roll the balls in granulated sugar. If the dough has been chilled, you can put some sugar in a plastic bag and shake six to eight balls of dough at a time to coat them. If the dough is softer and you're using a cookie scoop, place some sugar in a small, shallow pan or dish, and drop the balls onto the sugar. Gently shake the pan back and forth, giving it a couple of up-and-down bumps, till the balls are coated with sugar.
Transfer the balls to lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, and bake the cookies in a preheated 350°F oven for about 12 minutes, or until they've cracked on top and flattened out, but haven't yet browned around the edges. Remove the cookies from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool completely. When they're cool, store them in an airtight container.
Yield: 3 dozen cookies.