Step 1 Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut several sheets of parchment paper large enough to fit your baking sheets.
Step 2 In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the shortening, sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Beat to fully combine.
Step 3Add the water and molasses and beat over low speed until combined. With the mixer running at low speed, slowly add the flour, a spoonful at a time. The dough will become very thick as the flour is added. If desired, turn the dough out into a large bowl and add the last of the flour by hand, mixing until fully combined. If the dough feels too thick to work with, add water, a tablespoon or so at a time, until it becomes more pliable.
Step 4Roll a piece of dough between two sheets of parchment until it is 1/4-inch thick (if you roll the dough between parchment, you will not need to flour the dough). Cut the dough to size using cardboard cutouts but being sure to leave at least 1 inch between each of the pieces. Remove and save the excess dough to roll again.
Step 5Carefully grab the parchment and transfer it to a baking sheet. Bake until the pieces are fully set and there are no dark patches of underdone dough anywhere on the pieces. Remove the sheet to a cooling rack and set aside until completely cooled before removing from the sheets.