These cookies have gone through several incarnations. Cindy Wallner sent us the recipe that her mother adapted from Bon Appétit, March 2000. She says "These are the best, snappiest ginger snaps! My mom made these with crystallized ginger from The Spice House, and they were phenomenal!"
When The Spice House started carrying a product known as ginger nibs in our shop, we adapted the recipe to use these convenient little uniform pieces of ginger instead of the crystallized ginger. They are really tasty and so much easier than cutting candied ginger into pieces. To make the cookies extra gingery, we roll them in a ginger sugar before baking. (See notes for making ginger sugar.) You can also roll them in Chicago Old Town spiced sugar for a delicious variation.
Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Mix in crystallized ginger.
Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, shortening and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat until blended. Add fresh ginger juice now, if you're using it.
Add dry flour mixture and mix just until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets. Spoon sugar in thick layer onto small plate. Using wet hands, form dough into 1 1/4-inch balls; roll in sugar to coat completely. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.
Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets 1 minute. Carefully transfer to racks and cool.
Can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
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