In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves, if using. Whisk together and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar for about 5 minutes until very light and fluffy, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl at least once. Add the milk and continue beating until smooth, scraping the bowl as needed to ensure everything is thoroughly combined.
Reduce mixer speed to low and stir in the dry ingredients. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Stir again for a few seconds to combine. Do not overmix, as this will result in tough, dry cookies.
Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out 1 ½ tablespoon-sized pieces of dough. Roll the dough between your palms to form a smooth ball then roll in the ½ cup granulated sugar to cover all sides. Place the dough on the prepared baking trays leaving about 2 inches between.
Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, rotating trays halfway through.
As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, use the flat bottom of a measuring cup or a glass and press down gently. Allow to cool on the trays for 10 minutes. The cookies will crisp as they cool.
Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
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