IN a large bowl, using a fork, stir flour with spices and baking soda. In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, beat butter with sugar for 2 min. Beat in egg, then molasses. Make a well in centre of fl our mixture, then pour in molasses mixture. Stir until most of molasses is absorbed. Gently knead until dough is an even colour. Divide into 4 portions.
SHAPE each into a ball, then flatten slightly into a disc . Wrap separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 min or up to a week. Or overwrap with foil and freeze up to 1 month.
WHEN ready to bake, remove dough from refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature until soft enough to roll, 5 to 10 min. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Lightly spray or oil a baking sheet. Roll 1 tbsp (15 mL) into a 1-in. (2.5-cm) ball. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate until cold, about 15 min. Roll cold balls in 1/4 cup (50 mL) sugar in a small bowl. Return to oiled baking sheet, placing 1 in. (2.5 cm) apart.
BAKE in centre of preheated oven just until cookie tops are firm and cracked, 12 to 14 min. Remove cookies to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Store in an airtight container in a cool place up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.