In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium until smooth and creamy. Then add in the molasses and beat until smooth. Next mix in the egg and vanilla and mix just until combined. Scrape down the sides.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Then add to the butter mixture and mix on low just until combined.
Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece with plastic wrap. Press until flat. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 3 days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
Roll out the dough 1/4" thick on a floured surface. If it's too hard, you may need to let it soften for a few minutes. If it's too sticky, knead in a little more flour. Cut into shapes. I prefer using 3-4 inch cookie cutters. Then place gingerbread men onto the baking sheets at least 1 inch apart. Repeat with extra dough and roll out as needed.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the centers are set and the cookies are fluffy. Be careful not to let burn. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Enjoy cookies plain or decorate with icing once cookies have cooled.
Easy cookie icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Add more milk if needed. This icing should be almost like a thick tooth paste. I used a #4 round tip to decorate. Freezing instructions:These cookies freeze great. Simply allow to cool and then place in a freezer safe container. You can also freeze the wrapped dough for 2-3 months. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.