In a large bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of the stand up mixer on medium speed beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Then add the molasses, egg and vanilla beat to combine well. Lower the speed and add the flour mixture, mix well.
Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and form into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least three hours or even overnight.
Remove the dough from the fridge, and cut the dough in half (one half refrigerate), and the other half roll into 1/4 inch thick, use whatever cookie cutter you desire. Place the cut out cookies on un-greased cookie sheets and refrigerate while the oven is pre heating at 350F (180C). Continue making the cookies with the remaining dough.
Bake the cookies approximately 8 - 10 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are firm when gently touched. Let cool on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes then carefully move to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired, leave plain or dust will a little powdered / icing sugar. Enjoy!
Sift the icing sugar (start with 1 1/2 cups) and cream of tartar into a medium bowl then add the egg white and vanilla, beat for about 7 minutes or until very smooth and thick. If it isn't thick enough then add more icing sugar. (I added a bit more to make it thicker).
To make the Royal Icing with meringue powder then substitute the egg white and cream of tartar with 1 tablespoon of meringue powder and 1 3/4 tablespoons of water. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until very thick.