Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together shortening, sugar, molasses and water. Sift flour, measure and add spices and salt. Add dry ingredients to the shortening mixture, and mix well. Dough will be stiff.
If using a gingerbread house mold, grease mold with solid shortening. Press dough firmly into mold. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool gingerbread in the mold. When cool, carefully emove each piece of gingerbread house to a wire rack. Assemble and decorate.
If using gingerbread house templates one and two, remove handful of dough from mixer bowl, and work dough in hands until it holds together. Place on floured bread board and roll out to 3/8th inch thickness with rolling pin. Place template onto dough and cut around edges of cardboard. Gently transfer cut building pieces to cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 to 25 minutes; pieces should be firm but not over-brown. Remove from oven, and cool on the cookie sheet. When cool, place pieces on wire rack.
Makes one large or two small gingerbread houses.