The deep, rich flavor of molasses and warm spices such as cinnamon and ginger are typical of holiday gingerbread-style cookies. These are a little more elegant–dipped in sparkly coarse sugar.
Start to Finish Time:
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.
Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with a flat paddle on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, again scraping down the bowl once or twice.
Turn the machine off, add about one-third of the flour mixture, then beat at low speed. Gradually add the remaining flour, mixing just until blended, scraping down the bowl once or twice. The dough may be loose. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then refrigerate at least 2 hours, or until firm enough to roll. The dough may be refrigerated overnight. (You may freeze dough up to 1 month double wrapped in plastic wrap; defrost in refrigerator overnight before proceeding).
Preheat oven to 375°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Roll the dough between your palms into 1½-inch balls. Dip tops in coarse sugar and place 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed, dry to the touch, and lift easily from the parchment paper.
Slide the parchment paper onto racks to cool cookies completely. (Cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container up to 1 week.)