This recipe is from a friend of my NH grandparents, also named Priscilla. I remember having these cookies on her porch overlooking Mascoma Lake.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream together [I use food processor fitted with a steel blade]
¾ c shortening - "Crisco" [I use canola oil]
1 c brown sugar, packed down
¼ c (dark) molasses
Blend well. Sift together [I usually omit the sifting] and add to the molasses mix:
2 1/4 c flour
2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt [I omit]
1/4 t cloves [I use 1/2 t]
1 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
Mix well. Chill this dough [for about 1 hour].
Shape in balls about the size of a walnut, dip tops in white sugar. Placed sugar side up 3" apart on greased baking tin. Sprinkle each cookie with 2 -3 drops of water to produce crinkle/crackled surface. Bake 10-12 minutes in 375 degree F oven.
"I [the other Priscilla] use confectioner's sugar and water to make a white button of icing on the center of each cookie."
VARIATION: Mom gave me a similar recipe called "Molasses Crackles". Similar but calls for 1 c sugar instead of 1 c brown sugar, 2 c flour instead of 2 1/4 c, and 1/2 t instead of 1 t ginger. Directions say: "Chill. Form 1"' balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheet 2" apart. They spread while baking. Bake 8 - 10 minutes in 350 degree F oven." No mention of water drops or icing.