Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare pan or cookie sheet (see below).
Cream together sugar, shortening and egg.
In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.
Stir flour mixture into shortening mixture just until moist.
Add applesauce, raisins, and nuts (if using).
For Cookies: Drop dough by heaping teaspoon several inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
For Cake: Bake at 350 degrees in an 8 inch x 8 inch pan for 40 minutes.
To check cake for doneness, pierce top of cake with a toothpick. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean.