Ginger Spice Cookies

There is nothing like a good, spicy, chewy ginger cookie to put me in the mood for Christmas!  This recipe was given to me many years ago by a friend at church, Donna S.  These were an instant hit and have been included in the Christmas goodie bags/boxes ever since!
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (unsulfured kind is best!)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (a must if you want puffy, chewy cookies)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup mild flavored molasses
Sugar for coating cookies (about 1/2-1 cup)

*Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.  Mix in crystallized ginger.  Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, shortening and butter in a large bowl until fluffy.  Add egg and molasses; beat until blended.  Add flour mixture and mix just until blended.  Cover and chill 1 hour.

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly butter 2 baking sheets.  Spoon sugar in a thick layer onto small plate.  Using 1" cookie scoop or a spoon, form dough into 1 to 1-1/4 inch balls; roll dough balls in sugar to coat completely.  Place balls on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

*Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 8-12 minutes.  Cool on sheets 1 minute.  Carefully transfer to racks and cool. Store in airtight container at room temperature.