1. Make cookie dough (see recipe on next page) and shape several gingerbread friends in the size desired.
2. Before baking, use a straw to make a small hole in each hand. Bake and cool cookies as directed.
3. Decorate as desired using icing and candies.
4. Join hands. Connect the cookies together by threading thin ribbon through the holes in their hands. Knot the ribbon and trim the ends.
1. In a mixing bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat untill combined, scraping bowl. Beat in the molasses, egg, and vinegar untill combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 3 hours or until easy to handle.
2. Grease a cookie sheet; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time to 1/8-inch thick. Using a 1-1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut into desired shapes. Place one inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Add holes at hands using a straw (as directed in step 2 on the first page).
3. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 5 to 6 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. If desired, decorate cookies with icing and candies. Makes 36 to 48 cookies.