For many years I kept two otherwise-unused ingredients in my house for a single family recipe: crisp spice cookies my grandmother, and then my mom, used to make for Christmas. The two ingredients? Crisco and Karo syrup. But I was determined to find a way to make the cookies without using trans-fats or high fructose corn syrup. Molasses, brown sugar and a combination of butter and Spectrum's organic shortening did the trick. (I found that butter alone made the cookies spread too much.)
I also tweaked the spice blend a bit.
(Of course, I once scandalized my dad regarding those cookies. He asked me what my favorite cookies my mom made at Christmastime, confident that my answer would echo his: oatmeal-date cookies. Though delicious, my favorites since childhood have been these little gingersnap-like goodies.)
1 stick butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (preferably non-hydrogenated)
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons molasses
2 cups flour (you can use a combination of all purpose and whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
granulated sugar (about 1/2 cup)
Preheat the oven to 375. Cream butter, shortening and brown sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and gradually combine them into the egg and sugar mixture.
Shape the cookies into little balls, about 3/4" in diameter. Roll them in granulated sugar and place them well-spaced on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 12 minutes; allow to cool on the pan for 4-5 minutes, then remove them to a rack.
You may need to adjust the baking time a bit to get the right degree of crispiness, but in my experience, no one complains about a slightly soft, chewy cookie.