1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar
2 egg whites
About 6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, divided
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup hot water
1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
In a large bowl, mix molasses, sugar, shortening and hot water. Stir to combine thoroughly, although shortening doesn't need to melt completely.
In a separate bowl, mix baking soda, ginger and cinnamon with 4 cups of flour. Mix into liquids, stirring to blend well. Gradually add enough of the additional flour to make a dough stiff enough to roll. Chill 1-2 hours before baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.
Roll out dough to about 1/6-inch thick and cut shapes with your favorite cookie cutter. Bake 8-11 minutes until done. Cool completely and frost with decorative frosting. Cookies can also be dusted with decorative sugar or sprinkles prior to baking.
To make frosting, beat egg whites until frothy, then beat in sugar and vanilla extract.
Yields 7-10 dozen, depending on size of cookie cutters.