This is a little late to tell you, regarding the cookies, but in our very old recipe it says to dissolve the baking soda in the hot water, then add to the egg, shortening, sugar and vanilla, creamed mixture. I was wondering how many it makes, but it is probably about 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.
DH says these are the best, he really loved them and i will be making them again. The only thing I don't understand is why the teaspoon of hot water?? I did use it , just what is the purpose of it , thanks for posting a keeper.