1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
2) In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until they're well-combined. Beat in the molasses and the egg.
3) Combine the flour, raisins, baking soda, salt, and spices in the bowl of a food processor. Process till the raisins are coarsely chopped. Note: If you don't have a food processor and don't mind your raisins remaining whole, skip this step.
4) Add the flour/raisin mixture to the wet ingredients, beating just till thoroughly combined.
5) Scoop the sticky dough into 1" balls; a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here.
6) Roll the balls in coarse white sugar, if desired. This is easily done by sprinkling the sugar into an 8" cake pan, and dropping the sticky dough into the pan. Shake the pan to coat the dough balls with sugar.
7) Space the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2" between them.
8) Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes. The centers will look soft and puffy; that's OK. Cookies baked for 7 minutes will be VERY soft; bake them for 9 minutes, they'll be firmer.
9) Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan; or transfer to a rack to cool. To maintain soft texture, store at room temperature once cookies are completely cool.
Yield: 52 cookies.