Preheat oven to 375 F (350 F for convection ovens)
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.
In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add egg yolk and vanilla; beat until incorporated. Add molasses and beat until fully incorporated, scraping sides of bowl if necessary. Reduce speed to lowest setting, add flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom. (Dough will be soft)
Scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Roll ball in sugar and place onto prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, about 11 minutes.
Cool cookies on baking sheet 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
RECIPE TIP: Be sure to have cold hands when forming these cookies. The dough is pretty sticky so it will help if your hands are not super warm!Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated
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