Whisk pastry flour (or all-purpose flour and cornstarch), baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine butter, sugar and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. This will take longer if you are mixing by hand. Reduce speed to low and add the egg. Mix until fully combined.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined. Using a spatula, transfer dough to a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to one day or, alternatively, place dough in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. The dough will be easier to work with if it is well-chilled.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place ½ cup of sugar in a small bowl and find a drinking glass with a flat bottom.
Remove a portion of the dough from the refrigerator. Tearing off one small piece at a time, roll dough between your palms into a small ball about ½ -¾ inch in diameter. Dough will be sticky. Place dough ball in the bowl of sugar and roll it around until it is completely coated. Place ball on prepared baking sheet.
Continue with remaining dough until baking sheet is filled, leaving at least 1 inch of space between each dough ball on the baking sheet. Dip the bottom of the drinking glass into the bowl of sugar and press down on each ball flattening it into a disc approximately ¼ inch thick. Be sure to dip the glass in the sugar before flattening each cookie.
Place baking sheet in the oven and bake cookies for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are just set. Do not over bake if you want the center of the cooke to remain slightly chewy. Let cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough, rechilling the dough as necessary if it becomes difficult to work with.