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1. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a very large bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add molasses, eggs, the water, and vinegar; beat until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour mixture. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time to 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough using a 3-inch scalloped or round cutter. Place cutouts 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with coarse sugar or crystallized ginger.
4. Bake in the preheated oven about 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.