Add brown sugar, molasses, and shortening to a medium saucepan. Melt mixture over medium-low heat just until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and 1/4 cup cold water. Let cool to room temperature.
When cool, mix in egg, salt, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well combined. Add 4 cups flour and mix well, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour if the dough seems sticky. Shape into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
Using a medium cookie scoop, shape dough into balls. Place on cookie sheets, 2 inches apart, do not flatten.
Bake in preheated oven, 10-12 minutes or until risen and no longer shiny. Set cookie sheets on a wire rack and allow cookies to cool a few minutes on cookies sheet then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.