Melt shortening in a large pot over a low heat. Cool a bit, then add sugar, molasses and egg. Mix well (it won’t completely mix together). Stir in spices, then add the flour and mix thoroughly. Chill in fridge until completely cold. Form 1 inch balls, roll in white sugar, and bake at 350/175/gas mark 4 for 8-10 minutes. Cool & store in an air-tight container for maximum snappiness. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
It’s actually very important to cool the dough completely. I spread it on a cookie sheet and put it in the fridge, which makes it take not too long.
These are ginger snaps, but they are not as snappy as storebought ones regardless of what you do. So far the only kind of shortening we’ve found that actually makes them *snap* is Crisco. (If anybody in the UK/Ireland knows of a direct correlation to Crisco over here, I’d be grateful.)
It’s also very important, if you want cookies that actually snap, to make the dough balls no more than 1″ in size. Bigger than that and they won’t snap. Dunno why, they just don’t. And you can make these with butter and they’ll be gorgeously delicious but not snappy.