Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.
Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended and an even light brown color, about 1 minute. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate.
Spread the granulated sugar on a large piece of wax or parchment paper.
Roll ¼ cup of dough between the palms of your hands into a 2 inch ball, roll the ball in the sugar and place on one of the prepared baking sheets.
Continue making cookies, spacing them 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm, but they are still soft in the center and there are several large cracks on top, about 14 minutes.
Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.