Adapted from Baked Explorations
4 cups (18 ounces; 510 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp (5 grams) salt
1 1/2 tsp (4 grams) ground ginger
1/2 tsp (2 grams) freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp (2 grams) ground cloves
1 tsp (6 grams) baking soda
4 tbsp (1/2 stick; 2 ounces; 57 grams) unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup (5 ounces; 142 grams) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (2.2 ounces; 62 grams) granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) dark molasses
1/3 cup (78 mL) very hot water
3 tbsp dark rum
Coarse sugar to decoration
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, ginger, nutmeg, clobes, and baking soda. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until smooth and there are no visible lumps. Add both sugars and beat until just incorporated. Using a spatula, scrape down the bowl, add the molasses, and beat until the mixture becomes uniform in color.
Heat the water until very hot. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the hot water, in three parts, starting and finishing with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, add rum, and mix for about 15 seconds. Cover the bowl and let the dough chill (and rest!) for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.
Your dough will be very pliable and wet when you remove it from the refrigerator next time, you may want to rechill between batches. Because the dough is so wet, and will stick, your best bet is to roll it out between overlapping pieces of wax paper lining the top and bottom of the dough.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Line your workspace with overlapping pieces of wax paper, and generously flour the dough. Roll the dough between the wax paper to ¼ inch thickness. Lift the top wax paper off and using a 2 to 3-inch round cookie cutter, transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Be sure to set your cookies at least 2 inches apart. Sprinkle a tiny bit of the coarse sugar on top of each cookie.
Bake the cookies for about 8-12 minutes, until they are set. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
Makes about 36-48 cookies, depending on the size of the cutter.