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Chocolate-Chip Cookies

With all due respect to Famous Amos, Mrs. Fields, and Mom, the House of Toll has gone way upscale. So who’s complaining?

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1. Levain Bakery
In a WWF-like league of their own, these Hulk Hogans of the cookie world weigh in at six ounces. But their mutant size doesn’t detract from flavor. Dough junkies take note: They’re a little underdone in their capacious middles. (167 West 74th Street; 212-874-6080; $2.75.)

2. Ruby et Violette
Deceptively ordinary-looking, but sweet and fragrant and bursting with hand-cut chunks of chocolate, not to mention that elusive soft-chewy texture. Cookie queen Wendy Gaynor has 40 variations: espresso, dried-cherry, even cantaloupe. (457 West 50th Street; 212-582-6720; $1.25.)

3. Balthazar Bakery
Before renaming them Toll House, their 1930s inventor called them “chocolate crispies.” Balthazar’s super-crunchy, almost-burnt-edge variety with walnuts must be a tribute. Substituting Valrhona for Nestlé morsels, though, is a serious upgrade. (80 Spring Street; 212-965-1785; $1.25.)

4. Tuller Premium Food
Another Nestlé naysayer: Tuller, the little Cobble Hill gourmet store that could, uses chopped walnuts and Schokinag, a fancy German chocolate with a high cocoa content, to deliciously deep effect. (199 Court Street, Brooklyn; 718-222-9933, $1.75.)

5. Pret a Manger
Yes, it’s a British fast-food chain, but they make a mean cookie—heavy on the chocolate with a good balance of textures and a nice caramel finish. Get ’em early, while they’re hot. (Nine Manhattan locations; address info available at www.pret.com; $1.25.)


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