6 cups flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 Tbs. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup shortening, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together the shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth.
Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until completely mixed. Divide dough into 3 pieces, pat down to 1 1/2 inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto a cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When the cookies are done they will be soft to the touch. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. When cool, the cookies can be frosted with the icing of your choice.