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COMFORT FOOD : Forget frivolous fare. Ignore the exotic. In times of trouble we turn to the familar and seek the solace of home. : Foods that reassure: Big breakfasts. Warm doughnuts. A simple steak. Beef stew. And ambrosia. : A Few of Our Favorite Things : Comfort Is . . . A Warm Cookie

January 24, 1991|TONI TIPTON

"Hey, how did this cookie jar get empty again?" asks Charlie Brown.

"I can't help it," says Snoopy . "Chocolate chip cookies follow me wherever I go . . . ." --Peanuts, Aug. 28, 1986 They follow me too.

As a nutrition writer, I promote a diet of balance and moderation. But in my heart I'm a fiend for chocolate chip cookies. I can't resist them--no matter what diet I'm on.

Even my daughter has picked up on my weakness: Her favorite TV character is the Cookie Monster. And when she proclaims, "Me want cookie," she's not just imitating her pal.

I think cookie comfort must be an inherited trait. Both my parents are cookie lovers. My mother, a health fanatic, has a version of healthy cookies, which we fondly call hockey pucks. Let's just say they're not the soft-centered, crisp-edged cookies, oozing with chocolate that I remember from my youth. The ones that are best while still warm from the oven with a tall glass of ice-cold milk. The ones that were waiting on the table when I arrived home after school.

The ones that I can't seem to get off my waist.

JUMBO CHOCOLATE

CHIP COOKIES

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate pieces

1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream butter with sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in semisweet chocolate pieces and nuts. Divide dough into 12 to 15 pieces.

Form each piece into ball about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Lightly press into 3- to 4-inch patty. Bake at 375 degrees 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 12 to 15 jumbo cookies.

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