Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line a muffin pan with 12 liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer (or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the butter and brown sugar together at medium until well combined. This will take about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix, scraping down the sides as needed, until just combined.
Beat in the molasses until combined.
With the mixer now on low, alternate between adding the dry mix and the milk. Do about ⅓ flour, ½ milk, ⅓ flour, remaining ½ milk, and then the remaining ⅓ flour.
Mix just until combined. Do not overmix!
Divide the batter between the muffin liners, filling each one about ¾ full. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.