Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and black pepper, and set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the brown sugar and beat well. Add the egg and the molasses and beat for a few minutes until the mixture is light in color. On low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until incorporated.
Refrigerate the dough briefly (in the mixing bowl if you wish) until it can be handled; 10 to 15 minutes might be enough.
Adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 375°. Line cookie sheets with parchment or foil.
Spread some granulated sugar on a large piece of wax paper. Use a rounded tablespoonful of dough for each cookie. Roll it into a ball between your hands, then roll it around in the granulated sugar, and place the balls 2½ to 3 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
Reprinted with permission from ©Maida Heatter's Cookies, by Maida Heatter, foreword by Wolfgang Puck, published by Andrews McMeel read review and see more recipes
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