Preheat the oven to 350, rack in the middle position. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick mats.
In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves and set aside.
Using a mixer or by hand, blend butter and brown sugar until well combined, about 1 minute (if using a mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl). Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended and light brown in color, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it.
Pour sugar on a large piece of wax paper or a plate. Roll 3 tablespoons of the dough between your palms into a 2-inch ball. Roll each ball in the sugar and place it on the prepared baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops of the cookies feel firm and have several large cracks but the insides are still soft.
Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. May be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.