In medium bowl, with electric mixer on medium, beat shortening and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in egg and molasses.
In large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to shortening mixture, blending well. Chill dough, covered, for 1 hour.
Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Roll level tablespoonfuls of dough into balls, dip one side of each into sugar crystals, and arrange -- sugared side up -- about 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until set. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely.