How can something as delicious and pleasurable as chocolate chip cookies cause so much controversy?

After Carol Finkelstein's recipe for her version of the YWCA's chocolate chippers appeared in The Washington Post's food section on Nov. 3, the phones began to ring. Response to the recipe ran high - on both sides. The nay-sayers said:

"There aren't enough chocolate chips in the cookies."

"The cookies burnt."

"They tasted like baking soda."

"Those cookies aren't anything like the Y's!"

But there were rave notices, too. One reader described them as "the best chocolate chip cookies we ever ate."

And several phone calls lauded their wonderful flavor.

How could there be such a difference of opinion over the same recipe?

Ovens may be the answer.

We have made the cookies, not once, but twice, following Finkelstein's directions for shaping them, for time and temperature, etc. And we have had perfect results.

One of the greatest problems with baking, whether it's breads, cookies, pies or cakes, is often to be found with the oven temperature. Few people use oven thermometers any more, relying on the accuracy of the rheostat, no matter how old the oven is. It's only whenfoods once cooked to perfection come out dry or burnt that cooks begin to wonder about their ovens. With a recipe such as chocolate chip cookies, if the oven were only 25 degress higher than the setting, the cookies would more than likely burn.

In addition, electric ovens often cook more rapidly than gas ovens. Again, with the cookie recipe this might cause overbaking, the result being a drier cookie.

We still think Carol Finkelstein's chocolate chip cookies are excellent and recommend several things if you want to try them again. Add another 1/4 cup chocolate chips to the batter if you like more chocolatey flavor . Get an oven thermometer if you don't own one. And if you bake in an electric oven, take into consideration that unless otherwise specified, most baking times and temperatures are given for gas ovens. Usually this don't make any difference, but with the cookies I would reduce the time.