1 1/2cupsbittersweet chocolate chips or 1 cup mini chocolate chips plus a handful of M&Ms baking bits or M&Ms
1/2cupchopped and toasted pecansoptional
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, shortening, salt and both sugars with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the vanilla and stir until mixed, then stir in the lightly beaten egg. Beat the batter with the electric mixer for 30 seconds.
Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water, add to batter and stir with a heavy duty scraper until well blended. Gradually add the flour, stirring until evenly blended, then stir in the chocolate chips and candy (and/or nuts).
Drop the dough by rounded half teaspoonfuls (or scant teaspoons -- I find rounded 1/2 teaspoonfuls easier to manage) onto plates or small trays lined with plastic wrap, then cover and chill for a half hour or until the dough is a bit firmer. Shape each raggedy little mound into a neat ball and flatten slightly.
When ready to bake, arrange mounds of dough on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are slightly brown. Check your cookies at 8 minutes since ovens vary. If your cookies are coming out too brown or have crispy edges and soft centers, reduce the heat by 25 degrees and cook for a minute or two longer.