Gingerbread Dough

 1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened (optional)  1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar  2 eggs  3/4 cup (175 mL) fancy molasses  1/2 cup (125 mL) cooking molasses  6 cups (1.5 L) all-purpose flour  2 tsp (10 mL) ground ginger  1 tsp (5 mL) each baking soda and salt  1 tsp (5 mL) each ground cloves and cinnamon
In large bowl and using electric mixer, beat shortening with sugar until light; beat in eggs and fancy and blackstrap molasses.

Stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cloves and cinnamon; using wooden spoon, gradually stir into molasses mixture. Mix well, working with hands if necessary. 

Divide dough into four discs; wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm, or for up to 1 week. 

Between sheets of waxed paper, roll our one disc at a time to 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. Remove top sheet of paper; arrange pattern pieces* or cookie cuts* on dough. Using tip of knife, trace and cut out shapes. Freeze on waxed paper-lined baking sheet for 20 minutes or until hard. 
Transfer cutouts to parchment paper-lined or lightly greased baking sheets, reserving dough scraps for re-rolling. Bake in 325 F (160 C) oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Transfer gingerbread to racks and let cool completely.

TIP: If you find that the gingerbread dough sticks on your cut outs & such, dip your cut out pieces or cookie cuts in flour to repel the complications (from repeating or occuring).