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Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006 11:17 am

Enlightened chocolate chips

These cookies have half the butter, but are twice as delicious

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When Christmas came to town, there were a few things I could count on: Santa (I kept the fantasy going until I was 10), Fritos in my stocking, and my father’s private stash of chocolate-chip cookies.

Presented inside a foil-lined department-store gift box that was clad in Christmas-themed paper, the cookies were an annual gift from my mother’s stepsister, also known as Aunt Suzanne. I remember how he used to shake the box, as if he didn’t know what was inside, and how, upon opening it, he’d shout with glee. A cookie perfume would permeate the room, and I prayed that he’d have mercy on me and give me at least six or seven of his prized possessions. (You couldn’t just have one.)

I was envious, perhaps even jealous, that Dad had his very own private cookie collection. To make matters worse, he hid his stash, which of course turned me into a cookie thief.

After my father died, Aunt Suzanne put the chocolate-chip-cookie ritual to rest as well, which made me sad. But years later, when I learned that trans-fat-laden Crisco was her secret, I stopped feeling sorry for myself.

Recently, I got my wish for an enlightened chocolate-chip cookie that tasted like, well, Aunt Suzanne’s. After doubling the amounts in the accompanying recipe (it makes about 30 cookies), I compared them with the original Toll House cookie recipe. The 21st-century version contains half the amount of butter, a reduction that is undetectable and — as I get older — quite welcome.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O’Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.

DAVID’S SKINNY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

from Perfect Light Desserts: Fabulous Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Made with Real Butter, Sugar, Flour, and Eggs, All Under 300 Calories Per Generous Serving by Nick Malgieri and David Joachim

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
(leveled with a spoon)
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons (half a stick) unsalted butter,
softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
One large egg
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (about three-
fourths of a 12-ounce bag)
Two cookies sheets lined with parchment
paper or foil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

Beat butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed, about one minute. Beat in egg and milk until they are absorbed, followed by the vanilla. Don’t worry if mixture looks curdled; the flour mixture will smooth it out. Scrape down the bowl and beater and beat in flour mixture on low speed. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate chips.

Chill dough in the bowl for 15 minutes to keep cookies from spreading too much while baking. Form dough into 1 1/2-inch balls or use a small ice-cream scoop to form the cookies. Arrange balls of dough 2 inches apart all around on the prepared pans.

Bake cookies for eight to 12 minutes or until they look dull on the surface, have spread, and are still quite moist. Cool cookies on pans on racks for five minutes. Slide liners to racks to continue cooling cookies.

Keep stored between sheets of wax paper in a tin or plastic container. Makes about 30 cookies.

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