- Mix flour, soda, spices and salt.
- Beat shortening, molasses, sugar, water, egg and vanilla until well blended.
- Gradually beat in flour mixture.
- Will be soft.
- Divide into fourths.
- Pat each ¼ into 1" thick round.
- Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to 1 week.
- Roll on lightly floured surface to ⅛" thick, cut with gingermen cutters and bake at 350°F for 10 – 12 minutes.
- Cool slightly on cookie sheet, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
- Decorate with royal icing.