I tweaked these until I got them just perfect, and they have become the most requested cookies I get asked to make every year.
Dough formed into balls (before rolling in cinnamon sugar) can be frozen for up to six weeks in an airtight, freezer-safe container or baggie, with parchment paper between the layers. I like to double the batch, roll them all into balls, and freeze half of the recipe for a later use. When ready to bake, roll balls in cinnamon sugar and bake as directed, adding a couple of extra minutes to the baking time.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt until well-combined.
In a mixer with paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy -- about one minute.
Beat in egg, molasses and vanilla, also on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula. Beat until all ingredients are well-combined and no large lumps appear -- about one minute.
Turn mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture just until everything is combined and a soft caramel-colored dough is present. Do not overmix.
Form dough into a loose disk, wrap disk in plastic and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours, but preferably overnight. (This is one of the greatest cookie-baking secrets of all time! Don't skip this step!)
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees, take dough out of refrigerator and let it sit for about 10 minutes at room temperature.
Pinch off small amounts of dough and roll to about the size of a golf ball (if you are using a baking scale, measure balls of dough out to 1-1/2 ounces each).
Combine the 1/3 cup sugar with the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll each ball in cinnamon sugar and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place balls 2-1/2 inches apart on cookie sheet and bake for about 15-17 minutes, rotating cookie sheet once halfway through to ensure your cookies bake evenly.
Cookies are done when they are set and slightly cracked on top. Note: Cookies will puff up and then flatten.
Sprinkle warm cookies with just a pinch more of the cinnamon sugar and cool on a wire rack.