Mix shortening and sugar well. Stir in molasses and water.
Sift together and stir in rest of ingredients. Mix till blended together. Put in covered bowl and chill several hours or overnight. (This will keep if refrigerated up to a week or more)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters. (Sprinkle with sugar if not decorating). Grease a cookie sheet well with shortening. Bake on sheet in oven for 10-12 minutes till no imprint remains when touched lightly with finger.