Even apple pie doesn't raise greater passions than the all-American chocolate chip. In fact, last week's recipe for chocolate chip cupcakes evoked a television news report. Then a prompt and generous retraction by the station. Apparently some readers had expected a typical cupcake texture; instead, these cupcakes are more like a cookie: soft and gooey when they are warm, crisp with a chewy interior when they are cold. Confusion was compounded by the printed recipe calling for 1 teaspoon of baking soda, while the original recipe -- based on chocolate chip cookie dough -- called for 1/2 teaspoon. We had the cupcakes baked both ways by several different bakers last weekend, and found that the effect of the extra 1/2 teaspoon of soda was undetectable. We stress that the batter should be divided among 16 cupcakes, not fewer, for they are very rich and are meant to be small. Here is the original recipe.


Cake base: 1/2 cup soft butter 6 tablespoons granulated sugar 6 tablespoons brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 egg 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping: 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1 egg Pinch of salt 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter, granulated and brown sugars and vanilla. Beat in 1 egg. Sift together and stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Spoon by rounded tablespoonfuls into paper-lined cupcake cups. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare topping. Beat until very thick brown sugar, egg and salt. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts and vanilla. As soon as cupcakes are removed from oven, spoon 1 tablespoonful of topping over each and immediately return to oven. Bake at 375 degrees 15 minutes more.