Add the softened butter and dark brown sugar to a large bowl. Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or hand mixer and mix until well combined.
Next, add in the vanilla extract and large egg and mix until well combined. Follow that up by mixing in the molasses or maple syrup.
In a separate bowl whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and cloves.
Add in the flour mixture a little at a time, if using a hand mixer it will get to thick eventually, you will need to switch to a wooden spoon or use your hands. If using a stand mixer and paddle attachment you should be fine.
Now pour the dough onto a table or counter and knead it for just a few seconds so it comes together. Divide it into two parts and then shape each part into a fat disc. Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and then chill for at least 2 hours.
Once the dough has chilled remove it from the fridge. Unwrap the plastic and divide each on in half again. This makes it easier to roll out. Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll it out about 1/4th of an inch thick, you can roll it thinner or thicker if you wish.Use your favorite cookie cutters and cut out the cookie shapes. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. They can be fairly close together, they won't spread much. Ball up the scraps and then roll them out again and repeat.
Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Place one pan of cookies in the oven, middle rack position, and bake for 7 to 10 minutes. If you want them softer, bake them closer to 7 to 8 minutes. If you want them crunchier bake them for 9 to 10 minutes. Experiment with a pan of only a few cookies to start, to get the time down for your oven.
Once the cookies come out of the oven allow them to cool for a minute or two and then remove them and place them on a wire rack to cool completely. If you leave them on the hot cookie sheet too long they will continue baking. For soft cookies remove them right away.After they have cooled to room temperature you can decorate them however you want. I like to use frosting and a piping bag, red hots, and sprinkles. Enjoy!