1. Preheat oven to 325 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift together flour, spices, baking soda, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
3. Melt shortening over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes.
4. Whisk sugar and molasses in shortening until well combined.
5. Remove from heat and stir in flour mixture until just combined.
6. Put dough onto large piece of plastic wrap. Cover and let cool in refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes.
7. Roll dough to a ⅜-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Place on baking sheets.
8. Bake 30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.
9. Cool before decorating with frosting, gumdrops, candy canes, peppermints and anything else you like.