Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper and set aside.
In an electric mixer, at high speed, beat the butter and vegetable shortening until well-combined, Add brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light, about 2 minutes.
Add egg and molasses and beat until well mixed, scraping down sides.
With the mixer on low add in flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time until well mixed.
Get 2 pieces of plastic wrap and divide mixture between them. Form into a disk and wrap.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Remove one disk and let sit on the counter for 10-12 minutes.
Place the gingerbread dough on a floured surface and sprinkle with flour. If you are using a wooden rolling pin also dust it with flour.
Roll dough to 1/8" for crispy gingerbread 1/4" for chewier cookies.
If the dough starts to stick to the rolling pin or floured add a little more flour to prevent sticking.
Dip your cookie cutter in flour and cut out your cookies.
Place them on a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
If the dough gets too warm when you go to roll your scraps back out, put it in the fridge for 3-5 minutes before rolling back out.
Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes until the edges are crispy. For more even results turn the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. Do not decorate until they are completely cooled.
In a mixing bowl combine egg whites and vanilla and beat at high speed until frothy (bubbly)
On low speed add in confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time until fully incorporated.
Turn mixer on high and beat for 5-7 minutes until its glossy and stiff peaks form.
Transfer to a piping bag or zip top bag for piping. Clip the corner of the zip-top bag to pipe.