Sift together the flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper; set aside. In a large bowl, or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then stir in the treacle. Gradually mix in the sifted ingredients. Divide the dough into thirds and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 3mm thickness. Cut into desired shapes with biscuit cutters. Place cookies 3cm apart onto baking trays.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are crisp but not dark. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired.