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Beat shortening in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda and cinnamon. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in molasses, egg yolk and vinegar until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for about 3 hours or until dough is easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease baking sheets; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Using 4- to 6-inch house-shape cookie cutters and/or 2- to 3-inch gingerbread people cookie cutters, cut out dough. Place house cutouts and/or gingerbread people cutouts on separate prepared pans. If desired, use a table knife to cut out windows and doors in house.
Bake until edges are lightly browned. Allow about 6 minutes for gingerbread people or about 8 minutes for houses. Cool on pans for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool.
Decorate cookies as desired with icing, candies and crackers.