Beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses and water in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with a spoon.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Use parchment paper or grease baking sheet.
Lightly flour rolling pin and surface. Roll dough ¼ inch thick. Cut cookies with a cookie cutter (2.5 inch cutter get recipe yield). Place about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
Bake 9-11 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched. Immediately remove from baking sheet to wire rack to cool completely, about ½ hour.
Decorate with frosting or as desired.