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Gingerbread Villagers

 ½ cup Shortening
 1 cup Brown sugar
 1 ½ cups Molasses, dark
 ½ cup Cold water
 7 cups Flour
 1 tsp Salt
 1 tsp Allspice
 3 ½ tsp Ginger
 2 tsp Cloves
 3 ½ tsp Cinnamon
 2 tsp Baking soda
 3 tbsp Cold water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Beat the shortening, brown sugar, and molasses together in a large bowl. Add the cold water to the mixture and gradually add the flour, mixing to combine.


In a small bowl, combine the baking soda with the 3 tbsp of cold water. Add the spices and the baking soda water to the batter and mix well.


On a well floured surface, roll out the dough until it's a 1/2 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out individual cookies and space them out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. (The cookies will rise significantly in the oven, so spacing them on the pan is important.)


Bake for 15 minutes or until done. Remove from heat and repeat the last step until you've used all of the cookie dough. If desired, decorate the cookies with frosting once they've completely cooled.